Tile With Style

1920s East Sac home gets its Spanish back

By Cathryn Rakich
November 2019

As a “Spanish-house addict and self-diagnosed tile freak,” Kim Heartman set out to bring back the original splendor of the 1926 Spanish-style home she and her husband, Bill, purchased in 2018 in the Fab 40s.

“The house had undergone a remodel that removed whatever Spanish elements it contained prior,” Heartman says.

When the couple married 32 years ago, they spent a lot of time in Southern California. “That’s when I became obsessed with early Spanish architecture. And I’ve always had a love for tile.”

After living in Arden Park for 20 years and raising five children, the Heartmans decided to downsize to East Sacramento. They bought a small empty-nester south of Folsom Boulevard. But soon came their kids’ significant others and grandchildren. “I also have a very large family and we love to entertain,” Heartman notes. “So we had to upsize our downsize.”

The four-bedroom, three-bath Spanish-style home caught Heartman’s eye long before the couple closed on the house. “I always walked past it and loved it,” she says. “This has been one of my favorite houses from the outside.” But when the 2,616-square-foot abode came on the market, “I couldn’t believe what a disconnect the inside was. I kept thinking what a shame—that should be so stunning on the inside.”

Remodeled in 2006, the home’s “Spanish was taken away,” Heartman says. “I thought, I can fix that.” Her goal was to bring back the Spanish—starting with tile.

Heartman commissioned Robin Cassidy of Silver Canyon Pottery on Catalina Island to create custom tiles for the kitchen floor and front courtyard fountain. “She handmade every single one of these tiles,” the homeowner notes. “We worked together on the colors so she could get just the right green.”

Big-box kitchen cabinets had to go. In their place came custom cabinets with leaded glass windows by Jarrod McDade of American Woodcrafters in Sacramento. “He’s just meticulous,” Heartman says.

She chose soapstone for the new countertops, replacing the granite from the 2006 remodel. “In a house of this caliber, the counters were probably originally either soapstone or marble. No house in 1926 would have had granite.”

The high-end stainless-steel appliances remained, but Heartman added a backsplash of handmade tiles from Mexico, a copper sink and an antique metal light fixture found at a vintage salvage shop in Pasadena.

The couple pushed back a kitchen wall to improve the flow of traffic and added a pantry with a hand-carved sliding door from Guatemala that Heartman found at Rustic Brick and Stone Company in Sacramento. “It was exactly the right width—a total score.” The carved wood valence over the window came from an antique store in Sutter Creek.

They replaced a small window to the side yard with a larger window that opens to become a pass through to a bar on the other side—perfect for parties. Instead of a typical door for one of the kitchen cabinets, Heartman uncovered an old iron gate at a salvage store in San Diego. “It was an absolute find—ridiculously perfect.”

The addition of colorful tiles continues on the stair risers and in the downstairs bathroom, “to give it that Spanish feel,” Heartman says.

The oak hardwood floors, door and ceiling moldings, and brick fireplace are original, as is the iron Spanish-Colonial light fixture above the dining room table. Two stunning arched French doors open from the dining room to the front patio and side sitting room.

When the Heartmans purchased the home, the only original light fixtures were in the dining room and at the top of the staircase. “The rest were from Home Depot. I am slowly changing to real vintage light fixtures as I find the right ones.”

The upstairs bedrooms have “incredible ceilings that are original to the house,” coved with intricate crown molding, Heartman says.

A second small staircase leads to the master bedroom added in 2011 with matching hardwood floors and the same coved ceiling with detailed molding. Heartman embellished the bedroom fireplace with more tiles from Silver Canyon Pottery. From the former remodel, the master bathroom has granite countertops, a freestanding tub, vessel sinks and travertine tile.

In addition to the main house, a 700-square-foot one-bedroom apartment was added above the garage in 2006. The backyard is party-ready with a built-in barbeque, swimming pool and outdoor fireplace. “Another opportunity for me to tile,” Heartman says with a smile.

To recommend a home or garden for Open House, contact Cathryn Rakich at crakich@surewest.net. Follow us on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram: @insidesacramento.

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