A Revived Historic Landmark

Project scope: Family room and kitchen addition; remodel of master suite and bathrooms.

Construction completed: Summer 2008

General Contractor: Roderick Construction

Location: Sacramento, California

Features of interest:

  • Built-in breakfast nook
  • Butler’s pantry wet bar
  • New sunken back patio below family room addition
  • Master bedroom rooftop deck
  • Ofuro (Japanese) soaking tub, 48” in diameter, useful for bathroom remodels in constricted spaces
  • Incorporation of early-twentieth century features
  • Varied ceiling heights to define space and character.

Built in 1915, this Colonial Craftsman home is a registered historic landmark in the city of Sacramento. As is typical with houses built in this era, the kitchen was small and isolated, and due to it having been remodeled at least once, had little or nothing of its original character. The owners, a family of three, wanted an addition to the back of the house that would include an open kitchen and family room adjacent to the original formal dining room and with easy access to the backyard.

This home had experienced very few changes over its almost century-long life, due in part to it having been a nuns’ residence for several decades, so the original dark-stained millwork of the entry, stairs, and formal dining room remained intact, including boxed ceiling beams, high paneled wainscoting, and an intricately-detailed dining room hutch. The addition had to reflect the historic integrity of the home, but with modern sensibilities incorporated. All millwork, for example, was painted white in the addition, to provide a lighter, ‘cleaner’ look, but the dimensions and style were kept the same: the new family room reflects the old dining room’s crown molding and beams.

As this addition was on the ‘middle’ floor of the house, a question remained on how this addition would affect both the daylighted basement below, and the second floor above. As about a third of the backyard was being lost, we decided that rather than enclosing the area below the addition as more storage area, we would instead provide a sunken outdoor dining & entertainment ‘grotto’ under the addition. Because this patio sits a few feet below ground level, it maintains a cool, even temperature on even the hottest summer days. And on the second story: rather than capping the addition with a standard pitched roof, we took advantage of this space by providing a flat rooftop patio off of the master bedroom, including a redwood pergola for shade and vines.

Because this home is an historic landmark it required additional city review, but as it remained true to, and sympathetic with, the home’s turn-of-the-century qualities, it was approved with no conditions.

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