For the the 30th anniversary of its homes tour, Preservation Austin will showcase 11 homes across the city.
The two-day event will have viewings of six homes in Central and East Austin on April 22 and five homes in West and South Austin on April 23. “We’re using this opportunity to celebrate not one particular theme or neighborhood but histories and cultural heritage throughout the city,” said Lindsey Derrington, Preservation Austin’s executive director.
“Preservation Austin exists to empower Austinites and shape a more inclusive, resilient, and meaningful community culture, and the Homes Tour makes people feel good about our city, our history and preservation.”
Purchase tickets in advance at preservationaustin.org
Among the homes on the tour are:
The Buddington-Benedict-Sheffield Complex is the oldest home in the North University neighborhood. Albert and Rebecca Buddington built the main house of limestone, in the Early Texas architectural style, around 1860. The Buddingtons had moved to Texas from New York in a covered wagon, and by the late 1860s amassed a 40 acre homestead. They added stone cottages around the main house and eventually parceled off much of their land. Subsequent residents included Dr. Harry Y. Benedict, a professor and president of UT who was also an avid gardener, and Wilhelmine Sheffield, a prominent Austin realtor and appraiser, who continued the tradition of building cottages at the compound. The home’s current owner, Rick Iverson, met his late wife Nancy at one of Wilhelmine’s notorious New Year’s Day parties. Rick and Nancy bought the property from Wilhelmine in 1978.
Genaro and Carolina Briones House
Sometimes referred to as Casa de Sueños, meaning “House of Dreams,” the Genaro and Carolina Briones House overlooks East 7th Street. The concrete-block house, an excellent example of modern Texas folk architecture, features brightly-tinted sculpted stucco surfaces imitating stone and wood, with floral motifs throughout. Genaro Briones, a bricklayer and plasterer, began construction on his home in 1947, finished the main house in 1953, and continued on with house additions until the late 1970s. The home’s unusual decorative concrete motifs followed Genaro’s collaboration with Mexican-born craftsman Dionicio Rodriguez, an expert in concrete faux bois, literally meaning “false wood” in French. Faux bois is a technique in which concrete structures resemble rustic wood or pieces of fallen or decaying trees. The formally rigid material gives the impression of being malleable and organic in form, to magical effect. Over the past decades all of Genaro’s other projects in the city have been either remodeled or demolished, accentuating this home’s importance in maintaining his artistic legacy. The Briones House was listed in the National Register of Historic Places in 1998.
This rare “airplane bungalow” features hallmarks of the Craftsman style, including a low-pitched profile, deep eaves, heavy brackets, and an expansive front porch. Airplane bungalows were first popularized in California and feature a characteristic pop-up second story said to resemble the cockpit of a plane, while also serving as a prime vantage point to watch aircrafts fly by. W. Niles Graham’s Enfield Development Company likely constructed the house, which became the long-time residence of Texas State Supreme Court Justice John D. Harvey and his wife Henrietta. One of the earliest homes built in what is now the Old West Austin National Register District, the bungalow is also a City of Austin Historic Landmark.