Bringing Back a Classic (And Then Some)


Have you ever fallen in love at first sight? With a house? Yes? Then there are probably 101 reasons you’d be susceptible to the Land Park Tudor Jeffrey Sweat remodeled last year. The new master bedroom suite with its big, white dreamboat of a bathtub, one-of-a kind shower and roomlike closet (oh, the closet!) would prompt 50 or 60 ideas to steal your heart. Another 50, more or less, would hit you after a look at the kitchen and family room. Add a dozen or two after a tour of the pool, landscaping and fire/water bowls (fire/water bowls!!) in back and the stunning triple-peak exterior in front. But the No. 1 reason you’d flip for this house? It’s 87 years old, almost every inch has been revamped and updated, and it still suits the venerable, big-tree neighborhood like it always has. “I wanted to keep as much of the original character as possible,” says Sweat, a local plastic surgeon who took to the design and renovation process like he was born to it. “You do have to add modern things but, as much as possible, I wanted them to look like they had always been there. . . . I wanted to do certain things, but I also wanted them to look a certain way.” So 101 reasons? That’s just a warm-up.

Hours of research went into specifying the perfect color and grade of light for the kitchen and baths.

Renovation highlights: Virtually everything in the circa 1929 timber-and-stucco Tudor—from the wine cellar in the basement to the renovated second floor—was redesigned, refreshed or rebuilt. 

The heavy lifting: Susan Vannatter Prang, Creative Eye Design + Build, El Dorado Hills, is a LEED contractor and interior designer who works throughout Sacramento. She and Sweat transformed the former attic into a guest room with bath and a master bedroom suite, remodeled the kitchen using statuary marble that Sweat selected, and snugged a butler’s pantry/wine room into what was a hallway. The family room and adjoining bath also got top-to-bottom redos, with a reconfigured staircase to the second floor. 

Artists’ eyes: Sweat and Vannatter Prang worked together throughout the project. “Everything I did was for form and function,” says Sweat, who describes himself as “very, very meticulous” and “the worst client ever.” Vannatter Prang’s focus was on both the big picture and the details. “I had to make everything work,” she says.

Front and backyard landscape renovation: Gary Kernick, Change of Seasons, Sacramento 

Pool: Wells Pools, Rancho Cordova

“Everything” defined: The wainscoting, picture rails, doorway arches, baseboards, stairway, hardwood and heated limestone floors, counters of statuary marble and limestone, custom cabinetry and window replacement. The bathrooms have perfectly aligned linear drains and lighted shampoo boxes. The security system, LED lighting, central heating and air, sound system, shower temperature, you name it—all operable from Sweat’s iPhone. “I love the challenge of a project like this,” Vannatter Prang says. “I love the ‘wow’ projects.”

Shopping for fixtures: Restoration Hardware, Rejuvenation Lighting

Paint: Restoration Hardware, Ralph Lauren

“This is where it gets good”: That’s what Sweat says as he climbs the stairway to the second-floor master suite. Wood-and-metal doors by local artist Marc Foster slide open to reveal a heartthrob of a bathtub and pendant lighting fixture. A slab of onyx backs the marble-clad shower. The limestone floor is heated. “I wanted this to be my special part of the house,” Sweat says. “This is what’s important to me, so it was all very specifically designed. I think it’s kind of stunning. I love it.” True love? You bet. 

Artist Marc Foster created the closet’s sliding door.

The wine cellar includes reclaimed timbers from a project on R Street.

The backyard? “It was an overgrown jungle,” says contractor Susan Vannatter Prang.