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Thursday, February 7, 2013

Avriel Shull

Avriel Christie Shull
Avriel Shull (1931-1976) was an American architectural designer, builder and interior decorator from Carmel, Indiana. She studied art at Indianapolis's Butler University and at Herron School of Art but never completed her degree. She left school in 1948 to open her own commercial art firm. Shull married journalist Richard Shull in 1951, and their wedding was covered in Life magazine.

Though not trained as an architect, she began designing homes when she was in her 20s. She platted her first major development, Thornhurst, in 1956. Today, the neighborhood is remarkably intact and is regarded as one of the most impressive collections of her work. The houses include large expanses of glass, open floor plans and natural materials, such as limestone and brick.

Shull was a free spirited and somewhat eccentric woman who sometimes showed up on a job site wearing a bikini and sporting a cigarette in one hand and a tool in the other, giving construction workers instructions peppered with four-letter words and often laying stone on the exterior of homes herself. In addition to supervising construction sites, she also assisted with interior design.

In the 1970s, Shull created house plans for DIY home building magazines in the U.S. and Canada. She also designed commercial/industrial properties, apartment buildings and a library.

Shull died in 1976 of complications of diabetes.

From indianalandmarks.org, macduffrealty.com, indianahistory.org, wikipedia.org


Shull's blueprints
indianahistory.org

Shull's company logo
commercialartisan.com

First house in Thornhurst Addition
cresourceinc.blogspot.com

tourfactory.com

macduffrealty.com

24 comments:

  1. How is there an architect that you have not discussed? A woman to boot! I am amazed.

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    1. Can you imagine a 23-year-old female on a construction site in a bikini, giving the guys hell about how they're doing their jobs? She must have been some woman!

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    2. Honestly, I could not imagine a 23-year-old female doing that. Lots of confidence that one.

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  2. Ohhhh I wold love to build a house using those blueprints!!

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    1. The one on the bottom could very easily be my dream home.

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  3. She also worked with some good friends of mine to design what was, at that time at least, a cutting-edge rammed earth home.

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    1. How cool that you have friends who worked with her!

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  4. These houses just look so elegant. Sadly around here most mid mod houses are in older areas that have declined. Houses from the 1700s-the 1940s have been shown love and care but from the 50s and 60s often are found falling apart.

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    1. I think that's true in many towns, but I hope the renewed interest in design from the 50s and 60s will see a a number of those neighborhoods restored to their former beauty.

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  5. Girl Power! If your designs are this good I suppose you can wear a bikini if you want to. WOW, that is a new one for me Dana.... THANKS! I love seeing the roof line in the blueprints. My house is just the same and it makes me giddy to see others like it.
    Great content, as usual. Have a great weekend!

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    1. Amazing that she had no architectural training at all, isn't it?

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  6. I was so excited to see you blog about Avriel Shull. I have a good friend who is Richard Shull's grandson, so I have been fortunate enough to hear stories about Avriel. She was quite a spitfire! I get the pleasure of driving by the Thornhurst neighborhood at least once a week. There are many times where I take a little detour through it. It's a very small neighborhood, maybe a dozen homes. I'm sure some of the owners have no idea what a wonderful gem they have. There are several homes with lots of gingerbread. I also had the pleasure of touring the house in the third picture in the Indiana Landmark's Midcentury Home Tour a couple of years ago...and it was fabulous.

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    1. She must have been great fun to know! How wonderful that you get to hear stories about her from her grandson...and get to drive through the neighborhood often.

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  7. It's impressive that Shull was not trained as an architect but designed houses in her 20's!

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    1. Thanks for the vote, Ton! I find that really fascinating about Shull too. What a woman!

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  8. Well done, she even designed the bushes and trees! Nice to see talented women featured.

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    1. She apparently had a hand in everything. Such a shame we lost such a talented woman so young!

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  9. Heck those homes are gorgeous!
    I voted for you and your blog. =)

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    1. Thanks, Miss Coco! These houses are so cool that it almost makes me want to pack up and head to Indiana.

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  10. I voted for you! I love this blog and I love Apartment Therapy! Good luck!

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  11. Great blog, and I'm glad you like some of my photos. If I can help you gather any more information on Avriel, I'd be glad to do what I can.

    Good luck!

    Joe Shoemaker
    Owner and Principal Broker, REALTOR®
    MacDuff Realty Group, LLC
    317 413.8501
    joe@joeshoe.com
    http://www.facebook.com/joeshoe
    http://twitter.com/#!/jojosmojo
    http://www.macduffrealty.com

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