In normal times, a home tour is one of my favorite activities. Traipsing through beautiful properties fulfills both my love of design and my innate nosiness about how other people live. In this time of face masks and social distancing, home tours remain one of those "eventually maybe" things — eventually they'll come back, maybe soon.
Like so many other events this year, the organizers of the 28th annual Preservation Austin Homes Tour are moving its annual fundraiser online, with a virtual video, expert Q&A, and even special booze deals from Lamberts to help round out the evening.
Downtown Doorsteps, the original theme of the original tour that was forced to reschedule in April, will explore some of the best historic downtown living spaces Austin has to offer.
Peek inside five eclectic residences, including:
- The iconic Brown Building built in 1938 on Colorado and Seventh streets
- A stunning 1890 home with views of the Texas Capitol
- A modern loft inside a 150-year-old Congress Avenue building
- A Rio Grande house built in 1905 with original woodwork, an extensive art collection, and a mysterious fireplace with Masonic markings
- An opulent apartment in The Cambridge building, once Austin's tallest residential tower
“This incredible range of building types spans nearly a century of Austin’s history, and all provide the same thing — housing for families drawn to the dense urban environment,” said Lindsey Derrington, executive director of Preservation Austin, in a release. “They show what an essential role our historic buildings play in shaping a vibrant, accessible downtown.”
The Preservation Austin Homes Tour begins at 7 pm on Thursday, August 13, with a 45-minute video tour. Viewers can "step inside" each property and learn directly from homeowners what makes living in a historic space so special. Following the video, viewers can participate in a live Q&A with Derrington, 2020 Featured Homeowner Michael Raiford, and board member Harmony Grogan of Pluck Architecture.
To make a true event of it, Preservation Austin is partnering with Lamberts to offer family meal packs and cocktail packages. Order a Lamberts BBQ Family Pack, which includes enough Texas smoked meats and classic Southern sides to serve four to six guests, and add an old fashioned kit for an additional $50 (makes six drinks).
Since 1953, the nonprofit has been the city’s leading voice for historic preservation. For the past three decades, this tour has served as Preservation Austin's biggest and most important annual fundraiser. Tickets for the educational evening are $20 and include a private link to participate in this year's tour and the following Q&A session.