It isn’t common for buyers to renovate a newly purchased home so that it looks just as it did in 1963. But in the case of this Austin home, it really works.
It isn’t common for a buyer to renovate a home and embrace a truly retro vibe, but that’s exactly what the owners of one midcentury modern residence in Austin, TX, did.
The 7,000-square-foot Atomic Age classic, built in 1963 on Balcones Drive, is now on the market for $3.95 million. Its color palette is right out of the TV series “The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel.”
“The owners bought it in 2017. The home had been updated in the 1970s and ’80s, and a lot of the original things were torn out, so the owners actually went by the original pencil blueprints and restored it,” explains the listing agent, Rebecca Wolfe Spratlin.
The architect Charles Granger of the popular Austin firm Fehr & Granger originally designed the space for Dr. Byron Smith and his wife, Irene, in 1963.
Granger is known for his designs of a number of buildings in the Austin area, including the iconic blue airport control tower for Austin’s former airport. The tower still stands as part of a new residential and commercial development on the old airport land.
Irene Smith was a real estate agent in Austin for over 50 years, Wolfe Spratlin says, and came by to a broker’s open house at the property recently.
“She and her husband are still living in the area,” she adds, “so she was able to come in and walk through the entire house. It was so fun to talk to her about her memories.”
The current owners are the fifth family to call the place home, and they’ve dubbed it Sky Crest. The name is an homage to the distinctive airport control designed by Granger, as well as to the color scheme of the house.
The house, true to midcentury form, has clean lines and a wealth of windows
“The whole house in the front is glass, just walls of glass,” Wolfe Spratlin explains. “It’s got natural light just pouring in.”
A fence and gate surround the house. The true glory of the home is only visible once you’re inside the gate.
“You punch in the code, and the gate opens, and you see this amazing light-blue kind of light turquoise house. It’s very long and expansive,” Wolfe Spratlin says.
Up the front steps, you enter the house on the second level.
“The ceilings are vaulted, and there’s a wooden screen that was recreated according to the original blueprints,” the agent adds.
That wood screen, most of the light fixtures, and other furnishings were custom-created for the house’s wide-open floor plan.
“There’s a Sputnik light fixture right as you come in. Then, on the staircase, they had a custom-made light that’s very retro and appropriate for the setting,” Wolfe Spratlin says.
In keeping with the vibe, the kitchen is straight out of the early 1960s. However, all the appliances are new and from Big Chill, with retro styling.
The laminate countertops had to be imported from Italy to match the color, because the owners couldn’t find the right shade of vibrant turquoise in the United States, Wolfe Spratlin explains.
The retro vibes continue in the pink kitchenette in the master bedroom. The master bedroom is on the main floor and has another interesting feature—a night bathroom.
Because the master bedroom is so big, and the master bathroom is at the very opposite end of the bedroom, a small powder room was located close to the bed, Wolfe Spratlin explains.
What’s more, for those who have to get up in the middle of the night, this little room has a heated floor and heated toilet seat.
There’s another bedroom on the main level, and three more bedrooms on the lower level. The bottom level features a game room and a home theater.
For the utmost in convenience, a snack bar in the hallway right outside the theater is served by a dumbwaiter that comes down from the main kitchen.
Outside, by the pool, the outdoor kitchen is covered by turquoise sails, perfect for enjoying and entertaining.
“The perfect buyer to me is somebody who just really gets it—and not only gets it, but loves it,” Wolfe Spratlin says. “So you need to have somebody that gets it, loves it, and understands the value of its design.”