Best of Both Worlds
Curtis Park cottage is perfect for close-knit family
By Cecily Hastings
Walking up the garden path to the Curtis Park home of Julie and Stan Perez, one is instantly charmed by the Americana cottage feel of the property, complete with a beautiful U.S. flag waving in the breeze.
The couple purchased the home five years ago when family life made an unexpected turn. After raising two sons in a 3,500-square-foot home in El Dorado Hills, they moved to Pasadena. Stan—a retired CHP officer—became head of security for the Norton Simon Museum. The couple also established a business selling vintage farmhouse goods.
“Our sons remained in Sacramento, and we promised if they ever had grandchildren, we’d move back to help take care of them,” Julie says. Until that happened, they planned to buy an actual country farmhouse.
When Stan retired and their first grandchild was born in 2017, the couple started house shopping in Sacramento.
“We found this two-bedroom, one-bath cottage in Curtis Park that was just over 1,000 square feet. The charm and many original features made up for the lack of space,” Stan says.
The house had been flipped by developers who generically updated the small kitchen and bath in an inexpensive and more contemporary style than the couple would have chosen.
“With this house we have the best of both worlds: our country farmhouse near the family in the city,” Julie says. “Plus, we enjoy new modern amenities mixed up with our vintage, antique and repurposed treasures.”
Wood floors had been refinished but were dreary and dull. Nothing remained but dirt and weeds where a garage and workshop once stood. The yard was overgrown.
“The before photos are depressing,” Stan says. “We worked many long months on this house and yard. It was a labor of love for both of us.”
“In a small home, larger furniture and accents actually make the spaces seem larger,” Julie says. “I believe in always repurposing objects before buying anything new. I think I was born in another era.”
The business is called The Warped Table and is a by-appointment warehouse in Hollywood Park serving designers and collectors with vintage and farm-style items. The couple also sells through antique shows, but during pandemic lockdowns, they focused their business model on Instagram.
Their home is a showplace of treasures available at the Perez warehouse. The unique collectables, often large in scale, draw attention up and around. The small master bedroom features a king-size bed with a delightful repurposed wooden door as a headboard. The room seems open and spacious with a gorgeous view of the backyard.
The kitchen is the smallest the couple has ever had, but they adapted. “We used to store big quantities of supplies. We even had a Costco supply closet in El Dorado Hills. But now we use less, get by with less and shop more often,” Julie says.
Adds Stan, “This move to downsize has been really, really good for us. It’s not always been easy but was well worth the effort.”
The backyard received an amazing renovation. First, they added a shed for garden tools. Then they built a garage and covered dining patio. The garage was designed to become a guest suite someday, plumbed for a future bathroom. The farmhouse design features open rafters and French doors.
The garden is now a maze of narrow stone pathways and garden beds planted cottage-style with billowing flowers, fragrant herbs and lush foliage. Containers are planted with strawberries and tomatoes for grandsons to pick fresh.
A hot tub sits among the beautiful garden surroundings. Antique planters, vintage ornaments and repurposed tools accessorize the outdoor space. The yard looks like it might need lots of work to maintain, but the couple has the watering on an automated drip system.
“I love just the charming aspect of our home—the original built-ins, wood floors, and wavy glass windows and doors,” Julie says.
“This is now an ideal house for our family. Our small dining room has a huge extension table to host large family gatherings,” Stan says. “Despite its small size we have lots of nooks and crannies for chatting and visiting—both inside and out. We are now a closer-knit family than ever before.”
“Our home has both a lot of history and family togetherness,” Stan says. Julie completes the thought: “And that’s what really matters to us.”
Cecily Hastings can be reached at email@example.com. To recommend a home or garden, contact firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow us on Facebook and Instagram: @insidesacramento.