Dwelling: Inspired by Art


The house down the street had been on the market for a while when curiosity got the best of Curtis and Susan Popp. When they went to take a look and walked into a yawning, ambiguous space with low ceilings and virtually no natural light, they could understand why the room might have sent other potential residents running for the door. But Curtis had no doubt about what to do with it. “This is actually a great room for entertainment and art,” he says.

The house: Art Moderne/International-style home in Land Park, built in 1943.

The Popps bought it in March 2010. Curtis spent the first month planning the renovation and the next three months managing the construction. The Popps and their two children, Fletcher and Olivia, moved in in June.

Designer 411: Curtis Popp is the principal at Popp Interior Architecture in Sacramento. “I do residential and commercial interiors. I design furniture. I do a little bit of graphic design. I don’t like to limit myself.”

Work you may have seen: Curtis designed interiors for the Sutter Brownstones condominiums and Ginger Elizabeth Chocolates in midtown, the RetroLodge offices downtown, and Article Salon Spa Boutique in Roseville.

Project goals: Bring the 68-year-old home back to its original glory without building a “time capsule.” Make it fun, affordable and functional.

Renovation rundown: Gutted and remodeled kitchen and baths, changed door and window locations, installed wood-framed European tilt/turn windows to match the home’s few salvageable originals.

Negative into positive: Transformed a large first-floor room into a first-rate art gallery and entertainment space.

Color story: “If you took all the art and furniture out of here, all you’d have is white and brown.” (Exception: blue tile from Heath Ceramics in the downstairs bath.)

What’s underfoot: New ebony-stained oak floors for the kitchen, stairways and second floor. Durable white epoxy floor for the multipurpose room and utility area.

Creature comforts:
A kitchen island equipped with steamer, teppanyaki grill and induction cook top. The Gaggenau refrigerator has a stainless steel interior, and the MasterChef oven and coffee system are by Miele. The Popps scouted for appliances and fixtures at Ikea and on Craigslist. They also saved some bucks by buying showroom models.

Unexpected kitchen elements: No backsplash on flat-edge countertops (a Corian knockoff from Ikea), no hardware on cabinets. “Instead, we replicated the 1-inch circular finger pulls seen on some of the existing millwork.”

Light sources: New fixtures from Lumens Light + Living.

Artichoke light designed by Poul Henningsen.

Hunting grounds: eBay, Craigslist, Ikea, JAYJAY art gallery, Antique Trove in Roseville and the monthly Antique Faire under the freeway on 21st Street between W and X streets.