Dwelling: Calming Influences

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Bay Area owners capture classic Sacramento style

Cheryl and Dan Hansford love their home in Pleasanton, but about two years ago, they decided they needed a place to hang their hats in Sacramento, too. One of their two daughters and two of their four grandchildren live here, and soon after Dan purchased a Sacramento business, commuting from the Bay Area started wearing really thin. Danny lived in my daughter’s guesthouse for a while, Cheryl explains. Then one day, she said, ‘OK, Dad, it’s time for you to move.’

 So the Hansfords started hunting for a house they could make into a comfortable, convenient and easy-to-care-for home away from home. They found it in East Sacramento. Built in 1933, the compact, 1,565-square-foot cottage with two bedrooms and one bath definitely fits into the charmer category. There’s a kitchen, living room, dining room, breakfast nook and galley-style laundry that leads to the garden. And that’s it. This was the answer, Cheryl says.

They renovated both the house and the landscape. And while it was tempting, the Hansfords didn’t add one inch to the floor plan, resisting even a siren call from the attic to turn it into a master suite. Instead of moving walls and adding floor space, Cheryl concentrated on amping up the convenience and charm. It’s very different from our home in Pleasanton, which is more French, with more reds and yellows and vibrant colors, she says about the interior. Her palette of cream, ecru and varying hues of white is soothing and calm, calm, calm. Touches of black&emdash;the kitchen counters of soapstone, for example&emdash;add drama and contrast brilliantly with chrome accents and hardware. Cheryl’s collections of white pottery, mercury glass, mirrors, and beveled and leaded glass add sparkle and sassy glimpses of glitz. They turned it into a little jewel, says Janice Stone Thomas, an interior designer whose company, StoneWood Design Inc., specializes in kitchen and bath design. [Cheryl] had the most fun. She made it into a great project. Everything’s right.

Stone Thomas’ design won first place in the small-kitchen category of the National Kitchen & Bath Association’s California Capital Chapter competition. The bathroom also took a top award. The general contractor was JR Classic Homes of Loomis. The size of this house wasn’t going to change at all, Stone Thomas says, and Cheryl wanted to keep the character of the era, so we designed the laundry space to be flexible and usable as part of the kitchen. When there’s a family party, for example, the deep laundry-room sink is handy for stowing ice and drinks. A spiffy work counter of stainless steel tops the washer and dryer, and over the sink, there’s a microwave oven. 

While Cheryl dug into her own vintage collections to furnish and accessorize the house, she also scoured local shops. Cottage Girls in Carmichael and Le Jardin in East Sacramento became two of her favorite haunts. Seeing what she did in that house is such a treat, says Jana Bannon of Cottage Girls. She’s always looking for multifunctional items with character that she can reinvent. She can take an item and put it in her home and make it look like a million bucks.

Cheryl laughs when she talks about all the advice she gratefully received during the renovation. I have really good people who show me what’s out there, she says. That’s how I make sense of it. One of my designer friends from Pleasanton, Darlene Gomes, came up to take a look at the house, and she really helped me out.

Sacramento’s searing temperatures notwithstanding, Cheryl predicts she and Dan will be spending a lot of time at the peaceful little house this summer. Danny loves the hot weather, so we’ll be outside and barbecuing a lot. I love it here, I really do.

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