Heritage, Volume 5, Number 1, Spring 1987 Page: 14
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This vintage Austin home has all the
charm of its 60 years, but the utilities
are only 6 years old. A 440sf
private deck overlooks the half-acre
lot. The library with two walls of
shelves can be used as a third bedroom.
There are two full baths; one
with a stained-glass window and the
original pedestal lavatory and tub.
This unique home offers country
living with city convenience.
,I ffhOfHih. carol Rouse
CAPITAL REAL ESTATE
8552 Research Blvd
_ i ,F2 j pn Austin, Texas
(512) 454-4863 m
2300 Pasadena Drive.
Austin, Texas 78757
trance gates to the grounds of the Clayton
House, the courtyard terrace for chamber
music and the herringbone-patterned
walkways. Included in the front walkway
were the few original yellow chimney
bricks that could be saved when the house
was moved from La Grange. The entrance
gates were modeled on those at the country
home of the famed nineteenth-century
Russian composer, Peter Ilich Tchaikovsky,
and the new Clayton House chimneys
incorporated designs from those gates.
When the Clayton House was moved
from La Grange, the roof had to be removed.
When rebuilt the original roofline
was raised three feet to accommodate
dormitory rooms on a new second floor. It
was now necessary to design an appropriate
front staircase for the expanded structure.
The Festival-Institute decided to
embark on an innovative course that
would shape the character of all of the
buildings at Festival Hill. The FestivalInstitute
chose to create a staircase
that would emphasize virtuoso woodworking.
The local carpenters and craftsmen
were encouraged to work with ordinary
wood, such as pine, and simple
stains in creating and building the staircase.
The intent was to reflect traditional
local woodworking in an original design.
Mr. Dick had observed that the most
striking feature of the Clayton house
was its emphasis on verticality. One of
its most important details was a repetitive
use of the chamfer (beveled edge)
throughout the design of the distinctive
porch that wrapped around the house.
The new staircase and all additional design
details used at the Clayton House
have faithfully followed in both the large
and small ideas of verticality, chamfers,
diagonals, and splays. The result is a convincing
and exciting sense of upward
movement. The eye is immediately drawn
to ceilings and cornices throughout the
house. It is an expression of the original
theme and grows directly from the original
house. Delightful smaller details, carried
out in the spirit of the house, were
adapted from various pieces of Victorian
furniture in the Gothic Revival style from
collections at Festival Hill.
This incorporation of nineteenthcentury
designs by the local craftsmen
working with the Festival-Institute administrative
staff has led to the completion
of the Clayton House's outstanding
Gothic Parlor, which features intricately
carved crown molding that offsets a par
ticularly vigorous wooden ceiling. Work
on Festival Hill encouraged the development
of master craftsmen, who have
since trained the younger craftsmen now
in charge of carrying out the designs for
current restorations and construction at
By the summer of 1976 the Clayton
House was complete enough to be used
for the Bicentennial celebration. Today
the large main parlors with their exquisitely
detailed designs ring with thesounds
of lessons, rehearsals, and performances
of solo, chamber, and vocal
music. As Mrs. Homuth, wife of the first
owner and the builder of the house, once
earned a medal for excellence in music,
students of the Festival-Institute are now
performing solo and chamber music recitals,
performing in major orchestras
around the world, and winning top prizes
in major competitions. A Steinway concert
grand piano once again stands in the
same main parlor where Mrs. Homuth
kept her own Steinway piano nearly one
hundred years ago. After serving as a dormitory
and housing the Festival-Institute
offices for a number of years, the Clayton
House now serves as the administrative
center for the Festival-Institute and its
year-round programs of teaching and
In order to raise scholarship funds for
its students, the Festival-Institute presents
special concert weekends throughout the
year when individuals attend benefit concerts
presented by distinguished members
of the faculty. Many visitors spend the
weekend in rooms used by students and
faculty during the summer study programs.
At other times conferences, retreats,
seminars, luncheons, tours, and
meetings are held on Festival Hill. This
past year, the Festival-Institute inaugurated
an annual forum to explore a host of
topics in the arts and humanities. Forum
activites center on the second major
building that the Festival-Institute adaptively
restored, the Menke House Conference
The Menke House Conference Center
is a late Victorian structure built in 1902.
The builder was Morris Mettke of Bellville.
The Menke family came to Texas in
1836 and settled in the Hempstead area
in 1884. The family of C. A. Menke
celebrated their first Christmas in the
present house in 1902, and the FestivalInstitute
has adopted this tradition with
its annual December reception in the
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Texas Historical Foundation. Heritage, Volume 5, Number 1, Spring 1987, periodical, Spring 1987; Austin, Texas. (texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth45438/m1/14/: accessed September 23, 2017), University of North Texas Libraries, The Portal to Texas History, texashistory.unt.edu; crediting Texas Historical Foundation.