Home & Garden Tour: Everything Old is New Again

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The Astin Mansion is one of three homes on The Woman's Club annual House & Garden Tour April 11.The Woman’s Club will host its annual House and Garden tour on Wednesday, April 11, from 10  a.m. to 6 p.m. The House and Garden Tour is the major fundraiser for The Woman’s Club of Bryan and profits are used to provide outreach to local charities.

Tickets for touring all three houses are $15 and can be purchased from a member of The Woman’s Club; at one of the homes on April 11; or by calling (979) 822-5019 Monday through Thursday from 9 a.m. to 12 noon.

Reservations for a luncheon on the day of the tour at The Woman’s Club, 1200 Carter Creek Parkway, Bryan, are required by April 4.

The Astin Mansion is one of three homes on The Woman’s Club annual House & Garden Tour April 11.The Woman’s Club will host its annual House and Garden tour on Wednesday, April 11, from 10  a.m. to 6 p.m. The House and Garden Tour is the major fundraiser for The Woman’s Club of Bryan and profits are used to provide outreach to local charities.

Tickets for touring all three houses are $15 and can be purchased from a member of The Woman’s Club; at one of the homes on April 11; or by calling (979) 822-5019 Monday through Thursday from 9 a.m. to 12 noon.

Reservations for a luncheon on the day of the tour at The Woman’s Club, 1200 Carter Creek Parkway, Bryan, are required by April 4. With continuous seating from 11 a.m. until 1:30 p.m., luncheon tickets are $15 each and must be purchased in advance at the Club by calling (979) 822-5019 or Sandra Petty at (979) 775-2449. For more information, email thewomansclubbcs@verizon.net  or call (979) 822-5019.

Homes On Tour: Everything Old is New Again

The Dudley Home, 8 Lori Lane, College Station

The Dudley Home is a blend Georgian and Cape Cod styles. Built in 1987, this is the first home of Mark, owner of Dudley Construction, and Deanie, assistant dean of finance and administration for the College of Agriculture & Life Sciences at Texas A&M.

The gross square footage of the home is approximately 10,000 sq.ft., including significant porches and breezeways. The conditioned spaces are approximately 5,000 sq.ft. The back porch blocks the morning sun and provides great shade and relief from the extreme heat in the afternoon and the front porch shields the western side of the house from the extreme heat in the summer. Additionally, the largely unconditioned carriage house blocks the north wind from the main house. 

The Carriage House is the most unique structure. It has a super structure of rigid frames and secondary framing members derived from the pre-engineered metal building industry. A tremendously energy efficient structure, the carriage house has glass basketball backboard suspended from the steel superstructure. The floor is stained in the shape of a basketball key and the area makes for a good half-court basketball game.     

The Dudleys are a family that loves entertaining, the outdoors and athletics and as such they built their home to accommodate those lifestyles. The back porch/pool area is ideal for entertaining, whether it’s a few folks over for a swim to beat the heat, to watch a game at the outdoor bar and grille, a domino tournament, a family gathering or something as formal as a wedding, it is an easy area for large groups to comingle and enjoy one another. 

One of the garden pathways served as the bridal aisle for their daughter’s wedding, leading to a raised platform with dual white arches rising twelve feet into the air. This served as the altar for the wedding and has subsequently had a sculpture added to it to serve as an outdoor landscaping niche. To the side of their house sits a backstop, with all the bases and a pitcher’s mound.

Several pieces of artwork by Mark’s mom, June Dudley, hang throughout the house. Her artwork is in galleries throughout the southwest and she paints their favorite subjects: their children and their ranch. Above the dining room table is an oversized painting June Dudley did especially for that space of a cattle drive on the Dudley’s ranch. In each of the kid’s bedrooms you will see paintings of the kids as they grew up.

Astin Mansion, 506 W 26th Street, Bryan

The Astin Mansion was built in 1924 for Roger Astin and is on the National Register of Historic Homes. The Antebellum architecture was designed for entertaining and continues to serve that  purpose, managed as a special events venue by Chelsi Coldiron, niece of Astin Mansion’s owners who live in Houston. Astin Mansion can accommodate 400 guests, and is available to the public to rent for receptions or other social affairs.

The original carriage house and the children’s playhouse remain behind the mansion. The children’s playhouse is an exact replica of the home, which was a private residence for almost 80 years. Entering the foyer, visitors are transported to the 1920s by the grand staircase, intricate ironwork and the original 1920’s light fixtures. The Mansbendel Room, highlighted by a marble fireplace, is embellished with original moldings and carvings by noted Swiss-born Texas carver Peter Mansbendel. The Conservatory is limestone, with its original marble floor and round Tudor Gothic fireplace; it opens to the colonnaded front portico.

Mrs. Astin’s bedroom and sitting room complete with marble fireplace, bathroom with original tiling and a knocker on her door are upstairs. The Blue Room was Mr. Astin’s bedroom; visitor’s will note there is not a knocker on his door.

The children enjoyed a large playroom that overlooks the front of the house. This room includes original hardwood floors and a working fireplace. The home is adorned with 27 paint colors, all from the 1920s, original sconces, fixtures and flooring.

Simmons-Smith House, 614 East 32nd Street, Bryan

Built in 1935 in the area known today as the East Side Historic District, extensive renovation has been done by current owners Ulrike and Dr. Jonathan Smith. Dr. Smith is a professor of historical geography at Texas A&M and Mrs. Smith is a native of Austria. 

The house is a Cape Cod cottage by architect Edgar W Glenn. Some bricks on the home have the signatures of children who attended the demolished Villa Maria Academy (1901-1929). The living room features a fireplace that has a Federal style surround without a mantle as was the style in the 1760’s. Like all colonial revival houses from the 1920s and 1930s, the living room has simple but elegant wooden detailing. 

The sunroom was originally an outside porch. Dr. Smith designed and built the porch swing. Dr. Smith was the designer and builder/carpenter of many of the built-in’s in the home. A highlight of this room is an antique railroad map depicting the route of the Texas Central Railroad, which ran through Bryan and ended in a place formerly known as “Nevesota.”

The master bedroom with attached bathroom is an uncommon feature of the home for its time. The cast iron bathtub is original. The three Smith children enjoy a child’s paradise outdoors where the Smiths have created steps on a tree trunk lead up to a roosting spot for reading; a sand box fort and a fish pond.