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2018 HOMEOWNER SPOTLIGHT: Ardenwood

“Into the Woods” is this Saturday, so we’re excited to share this final 2018 Homeowner Spotlight as we get ready! We’re going to have gorgeous weather for the Homes Tour, and perfect conditions for exploring these storied East Austin neighborhoods. Online ticket sales are open through Friday at noon! Tour day ticket info is on our event page HERE. We'll see you Cherrywood, Delwood, and Wilshire Wood this weekend!

1313 ARDENWOOD: Isaiah Tibbs

Built in 1952, this sleek Wilshire Wood showplace stands atop a hill with lush native landscaping. It was the longtime home of a renowned University of Texas zoologist and geneticist. The current owner saved the property from demolition. His beautiful rehab includes the original double-sided fireplace, reclaimed hardwood floors, wallpaper reproduced from midcentury designs, and a new Palm Springs-style pool.

Photos by Joan Brook Photography

When did you move into your home?
I bought it in late 2011 and did not move in until well into 2012.  It took a while to make it inhabitable!  It was overgrown and many things were nonfunctional. 

What do you love most about your home? About your neighborhood?
I love that it is mid-century modern (or as I say, mid-century MARVELOUS) and has large rooms.  I love that I have a large lot and room to garden.  I love the privacy, the old Austin feel, and that it is close to EVERYTHING.  I come home and I smile...isn't that an amazing thing to be able to say?!

Wilshire Wood is one of the last great old Austin neighborhoods.  It is so beautiful.  The large trees and gracious yards with the 40s and 50s ranch homes are gorgeous examples of a bygone era.  This neighborhood just gives you an "ahhhhhh" feeling when you drive in.  My neighbors are loving, kind people and it couldn't be a more close-knit neighborhood.  When friends visit they say "Wow!  This is AUSTIN!"  There really is no better compliment in my opinion.

Any notable historic features?
Almost all of my moldings are original, as is the floor plan with the exception of the master bath.  It isn't an "open" floor plan of today, but it was definitely built for entertaining a lot of people!  I love the mid-century lines and the large rooms.  The front window that's nearly floor to ceiling and about 30 feet wide is a really neat feature.  The way the house marries the lot is also well done.  The fireplace that divides two large living areas is not to be missed.  The house was custom built very thoughtfully onto the site and it shows.

Do you have any fun stories about the families that previously lived there?
I bought it from the family who had lived here since the 60s.  The daughter who was the executor grew up in the front bedroom.  Her father, Marshall Wheeler, was a professor at UT for many years and hybridized daylilies.  I believe he even named one after the street and home, called 'Ardenwood beauty.'

Have you renovated or added onto your home in recent years?
I have not added anything, but I've certainly changed a lot.  The bones are basically the same as far as floor plan.  I added a lovely pool to the backyard and the yard itself is a labor of love in progress.  The house I basically updated finishes and decor.  The walls were white and I repainted them white as well.  It really was a blank slate...it had vinyl floors and I added reclaimed and long select oak floors.  The kitchen and baths were updated but in a modern way.  The home really spoke to me and I tried my best to listen.  Since I am in real estate and design it was truly an expression of my love for the home.

Why did you choose to invest in your historic home instead of demolishing it for a larger house, or moving into a new neighborhood elsewhere?
My gosh, you just cannot build them like this anymore, and this neighborhood beauty in Wilshire wood is unmatched.  Demolishing this home would be a crime and I'm not a criminal!