Worth The Wait

Vacant 20 years, now a beauty

By Cecily Hastings
April 2022

The Woodside condominium complex in Arden is a hidden gem. It’s a gated community on Howe Avenue between Sierra Boulevard and Northrup Avenue, and features a park setting with mature trees and gardens. The 725-unit planned apartment complex was developed in the 1960s and converted to condominiums in the 1970’s.

Homeowner Lyn Efken has been a resident since 1982, when she purchased a Woodside townhouse. After she retired as a speech pathologist and program administrator, she managed other Woodside properties for homeowners who rented their units.

In 2014, she purchased a larger two-story, three-bedroom, two-and-a-half-bath townhouse. “The windows overlook mature trees and have Eastern light exposure most of the day. “I had been dreaming of this unit for years!” she says. “I loved that this unit was 1,637 square feet when my previous unit was only 1,228 square feet.”

Her favorite feature was the garage. Most Woodside units come with carports.

There was a catch. The larger home had been vacant for 20 years. It needed a complete renovation. Efken lived in her existing home and spent almost two years completing the work. “I didn’t want any stress with the remodeling,” she says. “I wanted it to be fun.”

When the drywall came down to the studs for electrical and lighting upgrades, she realized she had the opportunity to open up what are normally boxy condo rooms. “Opening up doorways on both floors brought in more natural light and views. The spaces instantly felt much larger,” she says. “This unit has beautiful large patios and great views.”

The once small and dark front entry now opens to the kitchen. Efken selected the finishes, including drywall with bullnose corners, walnut-stained wood floors and elegant cream carpets. Blue accents on the furnishings and accessories add a cool touch to the warmth of the wood.

The kitchen features contemporary painted wood cabinets, sleek stainless-steel appliances, a metallic tile backsplash and dark stone counters. She removed a wall of cabinets on the dining side and made a large pass-through to the dining room.

She tore out a small laundry room in the kitchen and transferred the appliances to the garage, just a few feet away. “This opened up the kitchen even larger,” Efken says.

She replaced the living and dining room sliding doors with French doors to the patio. “I took out a wood-burning fireplace and installed an electric unit. Much cleaner and easier to use,” she says.

Bathroom renovations introduced different color schemes that relate to other rooms for a cohesive design. Efken created small window openings to bring more natural light to her stairwell and master bath shower.

The center of the three bedrooms upstairs was opened to create a generous library and office with access to the second-floor balcony patio.

In addition to the renovations, Efken’s art and accessories reflect the interesting woman who lives there.

“Everything in my home are things that I have chosen for myself,” Efken says. “They all have meaning to me.”

Be they paintings she brought back from Hong Kong, Venice and Spain or the art objects she collects, everything has a story. “I think that’s why my house is so special to me, and why I love it so much,” she says.

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

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