4/25

HISTORIC HOMEOWNER SPOTLIGHTS, PART IV

This is our final set of Q/A’s with this year’s wonderful featured homeowners about why they love their neighborhoods and how they’ve updated their homes while keeping them authentic. The tour is THIS SATURDAY, April 30, so pick up your tickets today to see all of our gorgeous homes for yourself!

BRENTWOOD STREET: CARLA GUTHRIE, HOMEOWNER


Designed by Studio Momentum, the 2013 remodel of this classic 1956 ranch near Brentwood Elementary included a 700 square foot rear addition to create an open, light-filled kitchen-dining-living space; a new master suite; and a spacious rear porch.

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

I had been renting a house in Cherrywood/French Place for nearly 8 years when I started looking to buy a home.  A number of friends that I knew from graduate school lived in the Brentwood area, and so I was familiar to the neighborhood – but felt it was too far from downtown!  However when I decided to try to buy a 3-bedroom home, this was a neighborhood that I could afford (at the time! and as compared to French Place).  I had my eye on a home for sale at 1906 Brentwood St. that was too expensive for me (I still have the sales flyer for it!), but I still drove down Brentwood St. often.  One day, I saw 1911 Brentwood St. for sale.  I made an offer, but it was rejected and the home was pulled off the market.  A couple of months later, the home was back on the market for something around $235,000.  I made a stronger offer than before, and it was accepted.  I moved in early June 2006.  Over the next year, I became involved with Violet Crown Community Works (VCCW).  I met many neighbors.  I continued volunteering with VCCW and the spring festivals; I had two kids and met even more neighbors.

What I know now, that I did not know before moving here, is that it truly is a community of neighbors:  people who are daily out and about – going to and fro; people who work and retire here; people who have lived here for decades or maybe a year; and importantly people who are dedicated to contributing to the community.  It is a place where neighbors and businesses feel as if they are part of the fabric.  I often think that the character of the neighborhood has not changed so much from when it was first developed post-war.  The air has quietness – except for the doves cooing through the warm seasons.

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

Now with the remodel, we love the openness and airiness of the house.  The back porch invites you to lounge. The inside living area is big enough for kids to run around, and we have almost enough storage space.

We love our neighbors and the proximity to restaurants and businesses.  I personally love that the neighborhood is accessible to “all things Austin” without the traffic and tourists associated with other parts of Austin.  I love that it feels like a small town within the city and retains the sense of mid-century simplicity. 

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

Our decision to remodel was based on the fact that it was equally affordable to remodel the home as it was to move further out and then commute in (when all expenses were factored in).  We also did not want to leave the neighborly feel of the neighborhood or proximity to businesses and schools.  We both hate traffic. 

We decided to remodel the home, because it was structurally in very good condition with good-sized rooms.  However, having lived in the home for nearly seven years before remodeling – we had a good idea of what we needed and wanted.  We knew we did not want a “big” house to maintain.  Additionally, visiting model homes and neighborhood homes gave us new ideas to consider during the remodel.   We chose to retain the character of the home, because I felt a loyalty to how the house originally appeared – this includes my shameful lawn of grass – and how well the section of homes in our block have been preserved.  (It helped, too, that we did not have enough of a budget to radically alter the home!)

DAUGHERTY STREET: CARRIE KEITH, HOMEOWNER

Branded “The Catalina – A Vacation at Home,” this 1954 ranch is one of the experimental Air Conditioned Village’s original 22 homes. Its 2013 remodel by Christy Seals, AIA and Jennifer Ott of Loop Design maintained its historic scale and feel (photograph by Whit Preston, whitpreston.com).

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

I moved into this house two days before Christmas in 2004. My realtor, Sherry Kliegman, and I looked at around fifteen houses in Crestview, Mueller area, Allandale, Shoal Creek, Hancock, Cherrywood, Brentwood, and North Loop. I didn't really know anything about Allandale at the time and I count myself very lucky to have stumbled into this lovely neighborhood.

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

Since remodeling, there isn't much I don't love about my home. I'm an organizational junky, so the super-efficient usage of space for storage makes me especially happy. I love the colors, the dutch doors, the hidden stacked washer/dryer, my laundry/desk space, the the guest suite floor that was brought from the West Texas house I grew up in, the guest space invader bath, the beautiful lpe decking, and the completely redone kitchen. I love my house so much.

When did you renovate or add onto your home? And if you've added square footage, how much?

We moved out for renovations in January of 2013 and moved back in that same September. We added about 500 square feet to make the footprint U-shaped. But the footprint is essentially the same. I said from the beginning, "I don't necessarily need more space, I need the space I have to make more sense." I'm a fan of "The Not So Big House" design ideas and we worked from there.

Are there any sustainable features you'd like to point out

We did get the five star green rating once we were finished. The house is about as green as it could've been in 2013 - foam insulation, metal roofing, on-demand hot water, etc.…

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

By the time I was ready to remodel, I had lived in Allandale for seven years. I knew I wanted my house to keep the look and feel of the neighborhood that I loved. I kept the exterior as close to the original as I could while modernizing it a lot.