Great news! Chick Austin’s old house is going to be open this weekend as part of the Whitfield Historic Homes Tour and you don’t want to miss it. Chick Austin was the first director of the Ringling Museum back in the 1940’s and he was one of the great visual geniuses of the last 100 years. His house in Connecticut is a National Historic Landmark and now open as a museum. (You can read more about him here.) The one here is a worthy successor.
227 Delmar Ave.
It’s a two story rather classical looking home, with some incredible interior details. Years ago I took a look at it when it was on the market and was knocked out by the Chinese Chippendale porch. The current owner has it elaborately decorated; I saw it in a bare naked state. Either way, it’s one of the most interesting rooms in Sarasota. Also check out the ballroom and the gardens. Back in the day you would meet people like Bette Davis and Gypsy Rose Lee hanging out with Chick.
Also on the tour – several Ralph Twitchell homes. These are early Twitchells, before he caught the modernist bug, and are quiet lovely in a late 1920’s kind of way. And check out the big Twitchell down the street. It’s often referred to as the prettiest house in Sarasota. I was the first person to call it that and now everybody does. Just goes to show the power of the press.
7219 Broughton St.
The tour is this Sunday, Feb. 27, from 10 to 4. For more information go to whifield-ballentine.org.