You may have heard of Eichler homes or maybe even Streng homes. Built in the 50s and 60s, these single story houses feature glass walls, open floor plans, and plenty of wood; features which typify the genre of California modernism.
The architectural style is so popular that even new builds will often be crafted in this style, such is the case with this Sacramento New Residence. Set on a plot of semi-rural land, the house is built with simple details and an openness to the outdoors.
The owners are a husband and wife, who live here with their grown children. It’s a space for relaxing, for hosting, and where they like to spend time with family outside of their busy work days.
One of the plot’s perks is being surrounded by nature. It was therefore imperative for the new house style to fit in harmoniously with the natural surroundings.
When the project began, the couple initially hoped to preserve the original building. But during the start of construction, they found that the foundation was too damaged to keep. This meant that a whole new design had to be created. Enter Klopf Architecture, who worked to design something with California modernist aesthetics.
As you can maybe guess from the arid looking grass and topology of the garden, the climate and heat was a challenge to building the home. The team had to be aware of all the angles that the sun hits the property.
Surprisingly, the challenge to make the house comfortable enough to be used all year round became one of the most interesting parts of the project:
Given that the main view for the house faces some of the harshest solar exposure, we had to be creative in coming up with ways to control the UV intrusion and heat gain that would be possible in the house. Deeper overhangs and different shading devices were used for each of the habitable outdoor spaces. Where there are larger expanses of glass facing higher exposures, a higher performance glass was used, a reflective standing seam metal roof was used, and the interior materials were selected to allow the interior space to remain temperate and feel comfortable.
The main living area is the highlight of the project, with spaces opening up outdoors to the east and west. The outdoor areas become an extension of the main living area. Depending on where the sun is, you have different places that can be used. By utilizing both sides of the building, there is plenty of space outside in the shade to relax and entertain.
The home owners immediately felt comfortable in their new digs. Bar stools create height at the kitchen island, while the living room area is sectioned off by the perimeters of the blue rug. Mid-century modern style furniture, like the Eames chair, is fitting in this tall home.
The wife is a chef who owns a restaurant downtown, so you can imagine that it was important for the kitchen to be well integrated with the main living area of the house. An open plan kitchen style makes it easy for food preparation to tie closely to entertaining and daily life.
For the outside facade, however, the sun was too harsh for wood:
While natural wood siding looks great, it wouldn’t last long under the harsh sun conditions in Orangevale. In response, the Klopf team specified high recycled content composite siding (Tru-Grain) that maintains its look without maintenance much longer than wood possibly could.
You’ve seen how the main living area is active, but the bedroom wing by comparison is more for rest. The materials have been varied, while maintaining similarities so that the house feels connected. Instead of concrete flooring like in other parts, the bedroom wing features white oak.
Overall, there are three bedrooms, two bathrooms and a powder room.
Whether from inside the atrium-like windows, or from outside on the veranda, there are countless ways to enjoy the peaceful tranquility of this home. Built to match the time-honored classic styles of mid-century modern architecture, the home’s design lends it enduring popularity thanks to its timeless qualities and robust materials.