Never Too Late

Retiree finds life begins in Sacramento

By Cecily Hastings
May 2022

Ann Huntsman made a bold, life-changing decision in 2017. Turning 80, she decided to uproot from Cupertino and move to Sacramento to be near her only grandchild.

“I had lived for decades in a two-story, six-bedroom Spanish-style home where we raised our family,” Huntsman says. “It was very traditional, a job to maintain, and I had accumulated years of possessions. But it was time for me to start again in a whole new style of living.”

Huntsman is a retired nurse and investor in health care technology. Her daughter and family live a mile away. She could not be happier.

Her condominium group in McKinley Village is called The Alders, the only condos in the development. Hers was the first unit built. The Alders face the community clubhouse and Burnett Miller Park. Village developer Phil Angelides and his wife Julie live across the street.

The condo is 2,100 square feet, with three bedrooms and two bathrooms. It’s all located on the first floor with an attached two-car garage. “It was exactly what I dreamed of finding here in Sacramento,” she says.

“All the finishes of this home, including the flooring, cabinets and tile, were selected by another buyer who backed out at the last minute,” Huntsman says. “Fortunately, they had exquisite taste and it was designed exactly as I would have done it myself.”

Since she was starting from scratch with lighting, furniture and accessories, Huntsman interviewed three interior designers. “I selected Elizabeth Lake because she was thoughtful, talented and had extensive experience with lighting design,” Huntsman says.

Lake had worked as a lighting consultant for Lumens Light + Living and was starting her own interior design company. She helped Huntsman select a color scheme with shades of blue, including her favorite color, teal.

The interior design is sleek, polished and bold, with earthy touches, including a textured wool rug in the great room.
The lighting is dramatic. Scones, pendants and floor fixtures are different but coordinate beautifully. To manage the natural light, Lake helped Huntsman select custom soft drapes and shades for every room.

Art spotlights were installed to highlight Huntsman’s new local art collection. Her daughter gave her two large paintings by Maren Conrad that became the focal point of the great room and compliment a glossy black grand piano.

The artworks feature large black on white, and white on black goldfish drawings, each with a glass-like shiny surface. Other landscapes and abstracts by local artists fill the home.

The bathrooms are unique with metallic wallpaper and decorative lighting to personalize the spaces. Mirrored cabinets help open the rooms.

The master bedroom has a custom wooden headboard that incorporates custom side tables, built by a local woodworker.

Huntsman says the backyard patio—the only unit that has one—started as a mud puddle. She created an outdoor living room with a firepit, an outdoor dining area and built-in barbecue station. Trees and shrubs have grown to create privacy. “The filtered shade is cool and comfortable even on hot days,” she says.

“I always wanted an all-white garden and that is how I selected plant materials,” Huntsman says. Her collection includes iceberg roses, gardenias, crepe myrtle trees, liriopes, agapanthuses, daisies, hydrangeas and more. The concrete patio is topped with beautiful soft gray, large limestone pavers. “It feels like an extension of the house, and that’s how I use it.”

Some might think adjusting to a new community would be difficult for an octogenarian. This was not the case for Huntsman.

“I’ve always enjoyed music and I found great live performances, including the wonderful philharmonic, here in Sacramento,” she says.

And Huntsman found outdoor activities, including daily aqua aerobics at Rio del Oro Sports Club, and the community’s exceptional golf courses.

Huntsman’s recipe for creating an enriched life has been realized. She has a new modern home, a location close to family and a small garden to tend. She’s making new friends and finding fun activities to keep her young.

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

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