Sacramento's "Home of Tomorrow"

In 1951, a joint project created by the ~160 "Associated Home Builders of Sacramento" and Sacramento architect Albert Dreyfuss resulted in the "Home of Tomorrow" which was reportedly "the first of its kind to be erected in the United States."

The "Home of Tomorrow" was promoted during the 1951 California State Fair (which coincided with National Home Week) and received national attention. Per a November 7, 1951 Kentucky New Era newspaper article written by Fred J. Walker: "Tens of thousands of interested homeseekers, architects, and builders from all parts of the west have inspected the structure since Sept. 8 when it was opened for a 60-day public inspection." Admission proceeds were given to charity.

Chock full of "the latest in modern architecture and living conveniences" the home stood as a monument to post-war innovation and enthusiasm. For example, General Electric's "New World Kitchen" with a built-in soda fountain and snack bar. Sweet! The kitchen -- which reportedly cost GE $100,000 to develop -- also had the following features: "electric sink with garbage removal unit, automatic dishwasher, automatic washer and ironer, and kitchen cabinets with doors which raise upward and are held out of the way by spring action."

The L-shaped floor plan was designed to allow easy passage throughout the home without traveling through multiple rooms. Note the large kitchen and living room areas.

The large living room windows (referred to as "major fenestration" in an August 1952 American Builder article) allowed an open view of the home's back yard. Other fantastic features included air conditioning, heating equipment and "automatically-controlled garage doors." Some today might consider these features standard issue but back then they were considered modern and luxurious.


Perhaps my favorite feature is the "remote control wiring system" for lighting throughout the home which "lights a person's way, then darkens rooms after one passes through."

The 2,500 square foot home cost $59,500 in 1951. According to my calculations using the CPI Inflation Calculator, that equals $495,062.88 in 2009 dollars.


I'm still trying to determine if this home remains standing today, its current condition, and in which neighborhood it was built. Please feel free to contact me if you have additional information. Special thanks to Sacramento Eichler home owner Dane Henas for passing along the American Builder article!


undercover caterer said...

My dream home!

Gretchen said...

Isn't it fabulous? Goes to show that Sacramento has a history of being cutting edge!

Midcenturymadam said...

Wow what an amazing home. I love the room at one end of the house for the maid. Is that home actually out there somewhere? I hope if it is, someone that sees your post let's us know where it is. Very cool. Thanks Gretchen.

Gretchen said...

Thanks MCMadam. It's frankly driving me bonkers that I can't figure out where this is :)

Jon U said...

Have you tried contact the architect directly?

According this newsletter he was heavily involved with the American River Parkway Foundation as of a few years ago.

Gretchen said...

Thanks so much for the ARPF newsletter link, Jon U -- and yes, I've been hoping to speak with Mr. Dreyfuss sometime soon regarding this (and other structures and local contemporaries). I have connections to do so but thought I'd throw the question out to all in case anyone else had additional info as well. The house looks so.... familiar. But I can't place it.

linz ava said...

Hi, I know this is a very old post, but I'm pretty fascinated with this story. Did you ever find out where this house is or it's current condition?

Gretchen said...

Thanks for your interest, linz --

Never did find the exact address for this one but may run across it during my research. I've fallen off writing for this blog because I founded and run Sacramento Modern aka SacMod.