The Story Behind the Build

Architecture: Clayton Korte   Engineering: Acton Partners  Video: Productions

Originally built for Alden and Mabel Davis in 1936, this historic home is often referred to as the “Mabel Davis House” in honor of her contributions to the city of Austin, which included important fine art and healthcare causes.

The current owners, who fell in love with this striking example of American Colonial Revival architecture, sought a modernizing remodel that preserved the property’s period-specific features. For help, they enlisted the expertise of Skelly Build, a woman-owned general contractor, Clayton Korte, an architectural firm, and the engineering team at Acton Partners. Their collaborative effort was aimed not just at renovating but at breathing new life into the very soul of the house.

Skelly Build started with a “full gut” renovation while preserving the prominent historic features that defined the home. Arched doorways and lath and plaster coved ceilings in the dining and living room, original wood windows, hardwood white oak floors, exposed brick in the back room, and the masterful carpentry craftsmanship of the fireplace and stairwell were carefully restored to their former glory. Skelly Build’s skilled team took on the challenges of reframing much of the home; addressing structural issues; and installing new HVAC, electrical, and plumbing utilities.

Standout features of the remodel include a light-monitor structure gracefully added to the roof line above the stairwell. This introduced nine windows, flooding the once dimly lit area with light. The arched brick pool patio also underwent a transformation, enclosed with steel window and door units, creating a seamless transition into an expanded kitchen bathed in natural light. As a crowning jewel, a third-level deck was built on the back patio, providing a breathtaking panoramic view of the neighborhood, lake, and the downtown skyline.

Outside, the original pool underwent a grand restoration, as well. A new sundeck, fresh plaster, equipment, and a sprawling black locust deck surround breathed new life into the picturesque backyard.

This stunning property was chosen by Preservation Austin to be featured in its 2024 Homes Tour.