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Holiday Home Tour – Featuring Carmel’s Historic ‘Mid-Century Modern’ Thornhurst Neighborhood

Holiday Home Tour  |  Dates: Friday, December 1 & Saturday December 2, 2017  |  Time: Friday, 6 – 10 p.m. & Saturday 10 a.m. – 6 p.m.  |  Location: Thornhurst Neighborhood (Corner of Main St. & Guilford Rd.) Carmel, IN.

Carmel’s historic Thornhurst neighborhood of mid-century modern homes designed by Avriel Shull, one of the nation’s most celebrated architectural designers and builders, will be featured in this year’s Carmel Clay Historical Society Holiday Home Tour. The event on Friday and Saturday, December 1-2, will feature self-guided walking tours of a handful of homes inside the city’s only neighborhood listed on the National Registry of Historic Places.

Home located on Main St., Carmel – Thornhurst Neighborhood

Tickets are on sale now for the two-day event. Presale tickets are $50 for Friday, 6-10 p.m. (which includes a VIP tour and post-tour cocktail party at the Evan Lurie Gallery); $25 for Saturday, 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Tickets at the door are $60 for Friday (if available) and $30 for Saturday. Thornhurst is located just west of the Carmel Arts & Design District near the intersection of West Main Street and Guilford Road. Patrons will park nearby and be shuttled to the neighborhood.

All proceeds go to support the mission of the Carmel Clay Historical Society. Ticket sales are through Eventbrite:

This year is the 21st annual Holiday Home Tour and the first time all the homes are located in a single historic neighborhood. These iconic homes will be decorated for the holidays as they provide a nostalgic look back into the 1960’s for tour patrons.

“Our annual Holiday Home Tour has always been a must-do holiday tradition for our members and visitors who appreciate exploring local history,” said Emily Ehrgott, executive director. “This year is extra special for local fans of mid-century modern design as we are so happy to feature Carmel’s own Avriel Shull, who personally designed this neighborhood. Her passion and her skills come to life as you tour each of these homes.”

In her brief, 45 years of life, Avriel Shull became one of Indiana’s most significant home designers. With no formal training, she nonetheless had an eye for design and her work has come to signify a post-World War II era of housing, whose popularity continued long after her death with the sale of her designs through national periodicals during the suburban boom of the 1960s and 1970s. Despite suffering from diabetes most of her life, Avriel followed her passion and created an entire neighborhood of her homes. Between 1956 and 1971 she created Thornhurst from a family farm of gently rolling, wooded land on Main Street in what was then a very tiny town of Carmel. Thornhurst solidified her reputation as a master designer and builder in the modern style.

At the time, most of the homes being built in post-war Carmel and other suburbs were ranch style or various other revival styles. While other noted architects in Indianapolis were also designing modern homes, none of them created an entire neighborhood, as Avriel did. Her method of designing homes that extended the living space to the outside featured floor-to-ceiling windows that nearly eliminated boundaries, sliding glass doors opening to walled patios where outdoor living was almost as private as indoor. It is believed that Avriel began to suffer from diabetes after a car accident when she was 15. That did not stop her from living a full life, marrying an Indianapolis newspaper columnist (Richard K. Shull) and having two daughters. Avriel Shull died in 1976 of a heart attack. But her work lives on. It is noted that her husband continued to fulfill orders for her house designs, on average more than 100 each year, as late as the mid-1980s.


PARKING: This year’s tour will be a self-guided walking tour through the Thornhurst neighborhood. Patrons are encouraged to park at Carmel Friends Church on Friday and Carmel Middle School on Saturday. Free shuttles will provide transportation to the tour. Only cars of the Thornhurst residents will be allowed to enter the subdivision during tour hours. Saturday tour: Parking is at Carmel Middle School, 300 South Guilford Road. Please park at the south end of the school (look for balloons) a shuttle bus will take you to the tour.

FRIDAY VIP TOUR: The Friday VIP tour will be held from 6-7:30PM. The cocktail party at the Evan Lurie Gallery in the Arts and Design District will begin at 7. Channel your 60’s vibe for this “Mad Man” themed party with delicious appetizers and wine, smooth “Rat Pack” music, live auction, and some classic memorabilia including cars (weather permitting) for some fun photo ops. Dress like the Drapers and join us for this fun adult only party!

GUIDELINES: Well-behaved children are welcome on the tour with a full-priced ticket. Children one and under are free. Strollers, pets, and high heels are prohibited. No picture-taking in homes is allowed. Homes are not wheelchair accessible. Shoes will be removed or covered before entering homes. This event is rain or shine. Due to the fundraising aspect of this event, refunds will not be given. Unused tickets can be given to another person.

TICKETS: Patrons must present their printed tickets in order to get a wristband to take the home tour. Included in that price will be local restaurant coupons for a full-day experience that includes the new Christkindlmarkt and The Ice at Center Green.

Please join us for this annual holiday event as you support the Carmel Clay Historical Society’s biggest fundraiser!

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