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Wed. Jul 17th, 2024

Known for her style and work, Ladywood Estates celebrates Avriel Shull

By meerna Jul11,2024
Known for her style and work, Ladywood Estates celebrates Avriel Shull


Hoosier home designer Avriel Shull “lived wildly” and died too young.

Known as much for her personal style as for her midcentury modern home designs, Avriel Shull “lived wildly,” historian Connie Ziegler recalled in an article in Traces magazine for the Indiana Historical Society, her daughter September Shull. September has passed away, but her mother is remembered today as one of Indiana’s most charming residents and home designers.

A 1951 Life magazine spread chronicled her wedding to the noted Indianapolis journalist Richard K. Shull, one of the nation’s first syndicated columnists, who worked for the Indianapolis Times and The Indianapolis News and later for television. A portrait of Avriel from her wedding shows her dancing the can-can in a stunning and unique satin wedding dress that she had sewn herself. She was known to have no need for sewing patterns and made many of her own clothes for herself and her friends. The power couple was known as “Ave and Arky,” although Avriel’s fame now eclipsed that of her syndicated husband. The couple had two daughters, Bambi and September. “Mom would have really enjoyed all of this,” said her daughter, Bambi Stonebreaker, who attended “Celebrate Avriel 2024,” a free concert celebrating her mother’s work and life. “She had such a hard time getting started.” At the time, female architects and designers were rare, and it was almost unheard of to be without a degree. Avriel, who came from a wealthy family, attended Butler University and the John Herron School of Art, but she did not earn degrees and is described as “self-taught.” Her designs featured vertical cedar siding, hipped and butterfly roofs, and lintel windows. She wasn’t afraid to get her hands dirty, hand-building many of her double-sided fireplaces or painting murals in her homes, although she required a licensed architect to sign her plans. Today, Avriel has a loyal following and is remembered as one of Indiana’s most influential home designers for her work on Ladywood Estates in Indianapolis and the Thornhust addition in Carmel, both of which are on the National Register of Historic Places. On June 30, residents of Ladywood Estates (located near Emerson Avenue and Fall Creek Parkway) celebrated Shull’s life and work. The event was sponsored by midcentury modern experts Kelly and Eric Huff of Huff Homes and made possible by a Public Art For Neighborhood Grant from the Indy Arts Council, supported by the City of Indianapolis.

Shull died in 1976 at the age of 45 from health complications following a car accident she suffered as a young woman. She was buried at Crown Hill Cemetery.

By meerna

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