Magnificent Mansion

Historic home is a 12,000-foot labor of love

By Cecily Hastings
March 2024

A decade ago, Ryan Heater set his sights on a historic circa 1900 home in Boulevard Park that he now calls home. The magnificent mansion was lovingly preserved by earlier owners.

Heater’s goal is to take the house to another level. Using top local craftspeople, he studies every detail and explores every resource.

“Years back, I had the pleasure of hosting a 90th birthday party for Jim Betson, one of the previous long-term owners,” Heater says. “It meant the world to him and his family. That’s a part of the intergenerational beauty of this home.

“After falling in love with this home I decided to work slowly and carefully to restore it. But also create a modern and livable home for me, and for the entertainment I love to do.”

The 12,000-square-foot mansion is about 30% restored. There are four levels: three floors plus a full basement with a ballroom complete with spring-loaded dance floor. His work began on the first floor.

“The first floor is for entertainment,” Heater says. “I had to figure out how they were originally used and then modify them for my style.”

The entry is a center hall with a dramatic curving staircase. Woodwork is extensive with hard and soft woods in natural and dark stains. Quarter-sawn oak is generously displayed.

Windows feature original hand-blown and stained glass in the style of Austrian Arts and Crafts architect Josef Hoffmann. Pockets doors open and close rooms as needed.

To the right is a huge formal living room with a massive Arts and Crafts tile fireplace, plus several seating areas and an octagonal window well. To the left is a music room with a 1971 Baldwin concert grand piano that belonged to Heater’s father.

A painted mural highlights the walls. The theme blends light, airy colors of American River flora and fauna. Heater hires a pianist for parties. The room’s openness lets the music flow.

Beyond the music room is a comfortable, cozy lounge with an oversized contemporary tufted leather sofa, marble plinth coffee table, Moroccan tribal rug and large classical European painting. Heater purchased the painting at an East Coast auction and had it shipped to California, no small feat.

Behind the living room is a dining room with seating for 12. It includes built-in buffets, displays and storage for Heater’s crystal and China collections.

Next comes a walk-in bar with a mural of golden tones, stylized rose trees and flying herons. It floats above oak wainscoting.

The kitchen and butler’s pantry occupy the back half. The kitchen has all the modern conveniences, but the design is sparer, more like period cooking areas might have been. A large La Cornue gas stove was restored with brass accents and black frame.

Heater built a curvaceous stove hood that reaches the ceiling. Subway tile covers the walls. The room is centered with a marble-top table. It’s easy to imagine scones being turned out daily by family cooks.

A bright, sunny breakfast room is bathed by greenhouse-style windows.

Lighting fixtures have been carefully curated by Heater. Some were original, others imported from around the world. Favorites are blown-glass shades in the manner of Tiffany and Steuben.

The home has nine bedrooms and baths. “But I use them for many other things than their original purpose. I have a couple offices, a guest suite and I even use different bedrooms in different seasons,” Heater says.

“I was lucky that the original and subsequent owners kept everything when they made changes. It’s like I have a museum cum storage spaces to shop from when working on individual rooms.”

Heater considers the home a lifetime project. “I constantly have something to work on,” he says. “It’s not just a house. It’s a house wrapped up as both a hobby and a passion.”

Cecily Hastings can be reached at To recommend a home or garden, contact Follow us on Facebook and Instagram: @insidesacramento.

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