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Ed and Katie Dudensing looked at houses all over East Sacramento before they zeroed in on one that felt right. They liked the exterior and really warmed up to the large gathering spaces inside. But the interior? Not so hot. The neon colors splashed across walls accented with flashy supercontemporary fixtures just didn’t cut it. Turns out, they had an ace up their sleeves. Sacramento interior designer Jill Dudensing is Ed’s sister. “The fact that Jill was going to design it was part of the decision to buy the house,” Ed says. “We knew the bones were good, and we knew we had someone who could do this.” Do what? As Jill says: “Change every little tiny thing in every room.”
That’s a whole lot of changing: 4,200 square feet on the first two floors and 1,800 square feet in the basement. After boatloads of paint (Jill custom-mixed all the colors), truckloads of stone, scores of hand-picked furnishings and art pieces, dozens of French and Italian light fixtures, and four to five months of work by Carmichael contractor Dave Evans of EVCO Construction, the home is as sleek and put together as a runway model. “Jill’s a natural,” Ed says. “The thing I really like about the house is that it’s different. It’s distinctive. It has utility, and I’m utility-driven, but it’s also aesthetically pleasing and uncluttered. It was a good combination, the way Jill designs and the way we live.”
You may recognize Jill’s name from her days as a fashion designer under the label Valentine Gallery, a joint business venture she ran with her twin sister. “We sold all over the United States, and we sold a ton,” Jill says, adding that a new fashion website is in the works. Meanwhile, she’s been busy outfitting rooms as well as people. “Jill’s the only local interior designer we work with,” says Rob Zinn of blankblank, a design company based in Courtland. The two have collaborated on a number of projects, including this one. Zinn’s take on the result? “It’s amazing. Of course, I’m partial, but this is one of the best I’ve ever seen.”
LAYERS OF DETAIL
While blankblank has been known as a “modern and clean-edge” design firm, Jill’s collaboration has added another dimension to the work, Zinn says. “The thing we both found is that she has a real sense of detail and is able to layer a room with fabric and pattern and color and texture and upholstery . . . that really adds a nice mix to our projects.”
For her part, Jill says, “I love layering. The more you look, the more details you see.” Her brother was involved in the process from start to finish and approved everything that came in. “He’s superparticular. I had binders and binders full of things . . . I would bring in tons of fixtures and ask, ‘What do you think of this?’” Yes, Ed says, he had the final word, but “Jill was the one who brought in all the ideas.”
Ideas for every little thing.
SPECIALTY OF THE HOUSE Sunday mornings often find the family gathered around this 1960s rosewood table by Ico Parisi. “I try to find things that are really special and current and timeless,” Jill Dudensing says. “You cannot find this table anywhere, but I just kept looking. I wouldn’t give up.” Six rosewood chairs, also classic Parisi, are covered in their original velvet.
KITCHEN SPOTLIGHT A graceful chandelier puts a vintage stamp on a 21st-century space • Bold black window moldings set off white subway tiles and marble countertops • Leather chairs at the island add a layer of modernity
Master Bath Masterpiece
“I have a good memory when it comes to this kind of thing,” Jill Dudensing says about her concept for the master bathroom floor. A travel lover always alert for details that put punch in her clients’ rooms, she spied the inspiration for this floor in an old French hotel. “I wanted a vintage feel—something that you just couldn’t go out and buy,” she says. After drawing the pattern with pencil on paper, she worked out the colors with marble samples. “The whole idea,” she says, “is to have an art edge to each room.”