It’s no surprise that Carmel, with its redeveloped downtown, high-scoring schools, and low crime rate, consistently tops many best-places-to-live lists. But Christie’s Thornhurst, a hot three-street subdivision located off of Main Street and Guilford Road, gets our vote as the suburb’s best-kept secret. The neighborhood (often simply called Thornhurst) was platted, designed, and built by Hoosier legend Avriel Shull between 1956 and 1971 and boasts an outstanding collection of midcentury-modern architecture. Though the style fell out of vogue for a time, renewed interest in the period has attracted admirers to this enclave of homes, which remain largely unaltered nearly 60 years after Shull decided to build her vision on 11 acres of family farmland. Admittedly, a Shull-designed house attracts a specific kind of buyer, but the neighborhood’s prime location has broad appeal. Thornhurst is a 15-minute stroll up Main Street’s sidewalk to the shops and restaurants of Carmel’s Arts & Design District. A middle school is within walking distance as well. Thornhurst may have started out as a suburban island, but today it’s adjacent to a thriving urban center.
The Turning Point
In 2008, Carmel hired Connie Zeigler, a local architectural historian, to prepare Thornhurst’s nomination to the National Register of Historic Places—a designation the neighborhood ultimately received in 2010.
What’s Holding Things Back?
With just 28 houses (21 designed by Shull), there are limited opportunities to buy into this tiny community. When homes do come up for sale, they often change hands through private transactions without ever hitting the market.
Scott Burton, developer of Peace Water Winery, an $800,000 investment at 37 W. Main St., a few blocks from Thornhurst
“I was one of the original investors here when I bought the Bub’s Burgers building in 1998. Obviously, I saw the area grow around that. So I thought the winery would be a perfect addition to the cultural scene in the Arts & Design District. We wanted something with character. The building is almost 100 years old. Some people might’ve looked at it as a detriment, but we saw it as a benefit.”
Who Lives Here?
Daniel Crookshanks, 51, single with three children, Financial-services industry
“I moved here four years ago when I got divorced. I always liked the architectural style of the neighborhood, and since I arrived, I’ve seen a lot of people flipping houses. What’s nice about this neighborhood is I can walk to downtown Carmel, but I’m far enough away that if there’s a festival going on, I don’t have to worry about traffic.”
11 Thornhurst Dr., 4 bedrooms, 3 baths
34 Thornhurst Dr., 3 bedrooms, 2 baths
21 Thornhurst Dr.. 3 bedrooms, 2 baths
37 Percent Increase Since 2009
Average Home Price: $234,703