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Historic Homeowner Spotlights, Part I

Every Monday leading up to our 2016 Historic Homes Tour we’ll feature Q/A’s with two of our wonderful featured homeowners about why they love their neighborhoods and how they’ve updated their homes while keeping them authentic. Enjoy!

TWIN OAKS DRIVE: COSSY HOUGH, HOMEOWNER

This is one of twenty-two original homes in Allandale’s experimental Air Conditioned Village, built in 1954 to see if central air could work for the middle class. A 2014 renovation by architect Christy Seals, AIA of Loop Design maintained its midcentury flare:

When did you move into your home, and why did you choose this neighborhood?

We moved in January 2006. We had an 11 month old daughter and were looking for a bigger house than our first home (in Windsor Park) and wanted a home with character that was in a neighborhood with good schools.

Do you have any fun stories about the families that previously occupied your home?

A man who grew up in the home stopped by one day when I was in the front yard. He lives in the hill country now and was driving by while in Austin for the day with his grandkids. He said he used to sneak out of the small windows in my daughter’s room when he was a teenager. The owners right before us said the whole interior of the house used to be painted pink. There also used to be a built in planter about right where our dining room table sits now.

What do you love most about your home? About your neighborhood?

We love the character of our home. We love the layout. It’s perfect for the way we live. We also love the backyard and how the home flows from the front door, out the back, onto the porch and backyard. Our neighborhood is awesome. Our favorite thing is the kids all around us and kids stopping by to play or hang out. We also like the trees all around us and how walkable the neighborhood is. Being able to walk to Yard Bar, Lick and Barley Swine is also excellent.

What were the scope and notable features of your renovation?

We tore down a sunroom in the back that was in disrepair and added the family room and back porch with the sloped ceiling. There was a full wall in between the kitchen and living room that was torn down. The kitchen was gutted and rebuilt with touches to make the small space more workable (appliance garage, pantry design, drawers). The floors in some portions of the house were raised to make the home more accessible. The “dude room” was reconstructed and expanded and a portion of the car port was converted into a storage space. The wood wall that starts in the front and continues through the house onto the back porch was a major feature in the redesign.

Why did you choose to preserve and remodel your home instead of moving away or demolishing it for a larger house?

Part of what attracted us to the house was its history. We didn’t want to sacrifice that history with remodeling. We also loved our house before the remodel and wanted to just update it some and make it the perfect space for us. When we considered moving but we didn’t find homes that seemed like they reflected who we are.

Photo by Claire Hogan, Cultivate PR.

RICHCREEK ROAD: ANNE-CHARLOTTE PATTERSON, HOMEOWNER

Built by the Crestview Builders Supply Co.'s foreman for his own family, this 1955 ranch features gorgeous wood paneling in the den; an original pink and gray bathroom; and original steel casement and jalousie windows. The current owners are just the third to call it home and hired architect Dianne Kett of DK Studio to remodel the kitchen and dining areas in 2011:

When did you move into your home, and why did you choose this neighborhood?

We moved into the house in 2003.  We loved that the neighborhood had mature trees, older homes, and large flat backyards that are great for kids plus the central location.

What do you love most about your home? About your neighborhood?

We love that our house is filled with lots of natural light thanks to all the windows. The great thing about original homes in this neighborhood is how each house has its own unique character that’s developed over the years. But the very best thing about the neighborhood is the neighbors.

What were the scope and notable features of your renovation?

Originally we had a huge front room (I think it was probably considered the “formal living room”) and a tiny and rather dark galley kitchen adjacent to a “den.”  At the end of the kitchen was some dead space by the garage door and the washer and dryer were in the garage.

Our architect re-imagined the space in such way that we managed to get a sizable dining room, laundry room, and huge kitchen out of the same square footage. We weren’t in favor of a completely open floor plan but wanted to take advantage of the light from front windows so we now have a large pass through window from the dining room plus two doorways with pocket doors.

We loved the rounded shelves and corners of our kitchen cabinets but it the cabinet doors were in rough shape. Our cabinetmaker was able to replicate that design element in our new cabinetry and we stained it to match the original – so the feel is very similar. Some modern touches include the finishes in the kitchen. We used a solid countertop material in pale blue to balance the warm tones of the wood cabinets. It’s slightly translucent so it catches the light as does the glass backsplash and the commercial stainless steel counter on the large island in center of the kitchen.

Why did you choose to preserve and remodel your home instead of moving away or demolishing it for a larger house?

It’s important to us to preserve and respect the endeavors of the original homeowners. This was their home for many years we know they must have loved it as much as we do. Also the home’s material – such as wood walls, brick, steel casement windows — would be very costly in a construction project today. It would be a shame, as well as environmentally unsound, for all of that to go into a landfill.

There's nothing like learning about these amazing homes in person, so buy your tickets to the tour today!