A Century in the Making Midtown bungalow is home and studio to local artist By Cathryn Rakich July 2020 For 100 years, a quaint bungalow on a corner lot in Midtown has sheltered its occupants and kept watch over a peaceful neighborhood. The century-old...
Terry Grabowy purchased his “really old, really small” home, tucked away off a quiet road in Carmichael, in 1989. More than 30 years later, it was time to level the 1,200-square-foot dwelling and start anew.
“It was meant to be torn down and something new built because the house was just so old and the foundation was really lousy,” Grabowy says. “Part of it was raised and part of it was slab. The concrete was falling apart.”
Built in 1951, the two-story Colonial was home to attorney Stephen Downey of the Sacramento law firm Downey Brand, whose roots date back to 1926. Downey and his family, which included 11 children, were the original owners of the 2,800-square-foot home that overlooks Land Park.
Meredith and Jeff Schaff, with two young children of their own, purchased the classic house in 2018. “We are both lawyers, so we were very excited to take over the house because it’s such a great family name,” Meredith says. But the home, which had not been updated since the 1970s, needed a complete overhaul.
Bill Harms is an artist and craftsman who studied with a master in Germany. In 1957, Harms migrated to New York with his parents and siblings. A year later, they crossed the country by bus and landed in Sacramento.
“We got out on L Street where the Greyhound bus station was,” Harms says. His first impression was a sleepy village. But the family soon found an apartment at 23rd and G streets, and “that’s when we started loving the area.”