On Mother’s Day 2018, we were happily homeless. A friend of a friend wrote an offer to buy our (off-market) mid-century modern home at a price that we get out for that number tomorrow. That night my wife and I sat on the couch with a bigger dilemma on our mind:
Where do we go?
A second precautionary text message soon came from a mid-century realtor friend with inside information about an upcoming property. He asked if we would consider living in Ladywood Estates. I thought, why in the world would I ever want to live in Ladywood?
Ladywood was the brainchild of local mid-century architectural legend Avriel Shull. It was designed in the 1960s as an upscale condo on Emerson Way / Millersville Road Split and carved into the most beautiful perch overlooking Fall Creek with breathtaking views and topography. Fast forwarding through some economic ups and downs and the struggle of the surrounding neighborhoods, and Ladywood fell behind, was acquired by a developer for a song and converted into condominiums in the early 2000s. After another downturn, early investors and buyers were in the red, and units were soon selling for free, if at all. The complex became a mockery of brokers, including yours.
However, the growing interest in mid-century modern design over the past few decades resulted in a serious appreciation for Shull in Indy, and several aficionados moved to Ladywood. We had several friends who lived there. But we have two children and were used to living in an area of 4,000 square meters.
Then we went and saw it.
Inside, a treasure trove of original details awaits you, starting with a towering foyer with wrought-iron banisters. Walls of rich, non-bastardized cladding. Hardwoods, bathroom tiles, and slate floors. A cave-like living space that could devour our baby wing and still leave plenty of space for gatherings and the exhibition of our art collection. Plus, the apartment was a wholesome 2,500 square feet. When one of our kids went to college and the other graduated from high school, the idea of downsizing suddenly didn’t seem that crazy anymore.
What fascinated us most, however, was that we weren’t the only ones newly enchanted by Ladywood. An influx of Avriel Shull and mid-century enthusiasts had arrived, and soon the complex was turning into a community. We live in an eclectic group of talented creative guys who are breathing new life into these structures that Shull has poured himself into. More than 20 units have been sold since we moved in in 2018. A once anemic HOA now has strong leadership and vision. The drained coffers were refilled. Residents have approved a major visual overhaul that includes contemporary paintwork, repairs, lighting and signage. And it was with great pride that the development was recently added to the National Historic Registry.
Units that previously sold for $ 15,000 to $ 40,000 are now close to $ 200,000. And given the improvements on the horizon and kinetic word of mouth from residents, the numbers are expected to rise even further. I think Avriel Shull would love it.
Perrin Slowey Carmel
“I was very lucky. I’ve always been aware of Avriel Shull’s work, but when my husband and I put up an offer on this house we didn’t know it was one of them. The house needed some work, but the beautiful window architecture and beautiful views of Woodland Lake were worth it. I am committed to preserving the architecture and design of the 1960s. I even took out a fireplace that was installed in the 1990s.
Joshua Scism Carmel
“I grew up near the ‘Golden Unicorn’, the first house Avriel Shull ever built. Years later, the employee at my hairdresser said to him, “Tell Josh the cool house he always talks about is for sale.” She had noticed because she lived in the neighborhood. At the speed of light, my wife Tami and I snapped it open. It has been neglected but the architecture is spectacular. Avriel had this can-do mentality. It was very brassy and self-determined. If, like me, you are an extremely independent person, the house represents that. It is a real paradise. “
Heather Bolejack Indianapolis
“My husband and I weren’t looking for an Avriel Shull home. We were looking for a diverse and centrally located community near our son’s school, Warren Central. We wanted to rent and then look at options. At Ladywood Estates, we knew after the first few months that we wanted to own – the HOA is committed and the community is diverse and mutually supportive. We searched for condos available for sale. Our brokers gave us a tip and followed the negotiations so that we could close quickly. We wouldn’t lose this place. “
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