By Emma Stone
Hidden among Ruston’s historic downtown is the Elephant Room, a rental property available for a getaway.
The history and background of the Elephant Room impacted a local team of four to revamp the space into an Airbnb and Vrbo rental.
The Elephant Room was originally known as Ritchie Furniture.
Until 1970, Bill Rogers purchased and renamed the store Rogers Furniture and Gifts in which he owned and operated. The space was used by Rogers as a “check-in” for inventory and furniture moving into the showing room.
At the time of his death in 2014, Rogers had collected over 3,000 elephants of different shapes and sizes. The space had been left untouched until Feb 2021 when, Bradley Walker, Josh Perot, Rob Owens, and Paul Cavell bought the old furniture store and renovated the space into the Elephant Room named after Rogers’ collection.
Bradley Walker, the host of the rental property, spoke about the creation of the Elephant Room.
“When we bought the place, it was basically just brick and flooring,” said Walker. “We took the floors up, refinished those and put them back down.”
What took trial and error over months of construction, Walker emphasized the importance of having a bit of Ruston everywhere you look.
“We included a lot of little pieces of Ruston and Rogers in the space,” said Walker, “They used a door to get furniture delivered and we turned that into this big window.” The barn door that was the front door, was now moved to open into the bathroom with the old elevator shaft used for transporting furniture was fashioned into a shower.
“Our friend, Emily Pullin, worked for Mr. Rogers and so we got her to do a copy of a painting she made for his store,” said Walker.
The painting is tied to the actual door found in the elevator shaft, and now hangs above the couch. When everything came together, the Elephant Room was listed for renting in July of 2022.
“Typically, when someone stays two nights, we leave a mug out for them that says ‘Elephant Room’ with our logo, so they can go home and keep a piece of us,” said Walker.