When my editor asked me to write about this classic, historic Colonial Revival mansion in Austin, she said, “I know this piece is right for you. I just don’t know why.” She may be psychic.
I used to live a 10-minute walk from this home during my college years at The University of Texas. I was delighted to find it had been saved and is now an excellent example of adaptive reuse.
Yes, I’m going to digress for a minute.
Adaptive reuse is not a term we hear a lot. I like to think that’s because we’re used to it. For the uninitiated, adaptive reuse is simply repurposing historically or culturally significant buildings and putting them to good use again.
Everything Has a Purpose
After the National Historic Preservation Act was passed in 1966, people started figuring out ways to save everything from grain silos and fire stations to mills and factories. Repurposing disused warehouses, like the Sears distribution center in Dallas, launched the concept of loft living. That building is now South Side on Lamar and a highly sought-after multi-family residence that paved the way for redevelopment in the Cedars area.
You can look to Austin’s former electrical plant in the Seahold EcoDistrict to see how serious the city is about adaptive reuse. The new Central Library, designed by Lake/Flato, is a centerpiece of the multi-use complex that includes a hotel, restaurants, residences, retail, and office space.
Adaptive reuse is more sustainable than tearing down a structure. It’s a no brainer, really. Less construction means less landfill waste, less energy consumption, and more conservation of natural resources.
Now, back to the star of our story.
This historic Colonial Revival mansion could not have had a better start in life. It was built in 1933 for Judge D.H. Dooms and his wife, Nellie, who was well known for her work in the women’s suffrage movement. Originally it was set on an estate-sized lot between the historic neighborhoods of Old Enfield and Clarksville.
The Dooms (Don’t you love that name? I hope they had children named Wednesday and Pugsley) were here until the 1950s. Over the ensuing years, the land was sold off bit by bit, but the lovely Colonial Revival mansion remained. It’s not surprising that, like most of central Austin, the house turned into rental units for the growing student population.
It’s also not surprising that someone realized this home was a prime candidate for adaptive reuse.
Many people don’t want to live in a boring, bland, boxy apartment building. They want some character. So, in keeping with the look of the neighborhood, the facade was beautifully retained. But let’s face it, people want what they want, and that includes modern amenities.
With the design help of Mark Odom Studio, this historic Colonial Revival mansion has been completely renovated and seamlessly blended into an additional building to create seven beautiful new luxury condominium homes.
There are three condos in the original mansion, one on each floor, while the rear building houses the other four, including a large and luxurious three-bedroom plan. Each unit comes with two parking spaces and there’s a fantastic common area on the rooftop sundeck.
I was pleased to find out that so many places in my former college neighborhood remain. Nau’s Enfield Drug opened in 1951 and is still in operation. One of the finest restaurants in Texas, Jeffrey’s, is down the street. Founded in 1975, they have also opened up Josephine House in a lovely historic home.
Downtown is less than five minutes away. You can bike to Pease Park in five minutes and to UT in 15. Barton Springs and the hike and bike trails are a seven-minute drive.
Now you can have it all, life in a completely renovated historic Colonial Revival mansion, in a great neighborhood, and close to absolutely everything you love about Austin.
Lazan Pargaman with Kuper Sotheby’s International Realty has these luxury condos at 1715 Enfield Road, listed with prices ranging from $600,00 to $1.3 million.
This is truly one of the best neighborhoods in Austin. Admittedly, I’m biased. But, I’m also right!