Modern Miracle

Renovations take home from worst to first

By Cecily Hastings
June 2023

Renée Carter is a fan of architectural modernism. A few years ago, her previous home in Land Park was featured on our pages. It was a beautiful, elegantly remodeled two-story mid-century home with a front yard swimming pool. When she placed it on the market, she received multiple offers.

Carter wanted new surroundings on a single story. She found her new home in Sierra Oaks, nestled in a neighborhood with mid-century modern homes constructed in the 1960s by the Streng Brothers. It has four bedrooms, three bathrooms and 2,400 square feet. She took ownership in August 2021.

The home was sold a few years earlier in almost original condition. The couple that purchased it did so to remodel and sell.

“The renovation team was a realtor and architect, and they did an amazing job remodeling the original home, tastefully creating an elegant modern aesthetic,” Carter says. “They did an amazing job of maintaining the integrity of the original organic architecture, but still updating the home with tasteful and contemporary upgrades.”

What was once an overgrown, plant-filled atrium is now a simple and elegant entry space.

A cement block wall with beveled details divides the new formal dining room from the entry. An ebony-stained dining table anchors the space, surrounded by leather chairs in soft ivory with stainless steel frames. A contemporary light fixture has thin paper strips formed into soft curves.

Typical of this style of home, the private backyard is visible through generous glass windows and sliding doors. The modest living room and cement block fireplace remain in their original locations facing the back.

Behind the central dining room is a bright, open-plan kitchen and family room combination that overlooks the backyard and pool. “The plan is compact which I appreciate, but still features a small island and a peninsula,” Carter says. “This is where I love to hang out with my two dogs.”

The kitchen is designed in shades of bright white, along with interior walls and soaring wooden ceilings and beams. “I love living in this bright white envelope that just radiates the natural light coming in from all sides,” she says.

One dramatic departure from the white envelope is a deep grass-green, handmade ceramic tile backsplash that runs from the counter to the ceiling. Its glossy finish reflects the colors of the lush landscape and mature trees in the backyard.

The right side of the house consists of the master bedroom—opening to the pool—and bath, plus another two small bedrooms and bath. One bedroom is Carter’s home office. A compact laundry room and entry to the two-car garage sit off the hallway.

Another bedroom and full bath are located to the left side of the home, creating a separate, more private guest space.

Bathroom finishes provide consistency with sleek natural walnut cabinetry and polished steel handles. The bath flooring is large-format charcoal porcelain tile. Ceramic tile backsplashes over sinks and in showers are unique to each bath space.

In the backyard, the pool was updated and landscaping renovated.

Amazingly, every piece of contemporary furniture appears custom-selected for the house. But Carter assures me it was almost all from her previous home. “Every piece just seemed to fit in very well,” she says.

Carter is a local art collector and supporter. Her art collection adds color and texture to the simple and clean design of the home. Many large pieces complement the high ceilings. She was guided by Dave Saalsaa, the area’s top art installer. “Like everything else in this house, the things I already owned seemed to fit in beautifully,” Carter says.

Renovations on the outside include smoky dark taupe paint on siding and trim, cream painted brick, stainless steel lighting and a bright steel-framed frosted glass garage door.

Carter says her neighbors have been complimentary on the renovations facing the street. “They say this home went from the worst of the block to now being the best!”

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

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