Cool Sacramento MCM: Shepard Garden & Arts Center

I finally made it to the Iva Gard Shepard Garden & Arts Center in McKinley Park for a bromeliad show and sale this last weekend. I've been admiring this building's exterior for years. What an amazing and grand mid-century building! And boy, does it stick out in a neighborhood mostly known for popular style architecture from the 1920s, ’30s and ’40s.

The dramatic roof line is an A-line attached to a butterfly -- I've never seen another building quite like it. Built in 1958 by the City of Sacramento and designed by Raymond R. Franceschi, the Center utilizes mid-century materials with flair and exuberance. My favorite is the two-sided fireplace made of flagstone and terrazzo, with a glass mosaic on one side and a huge copper vent on the other.

The schedule for the Center stated that they are redoing the floors; I sure hope they keep the existing design and colors. See my Flickr set for additional pictures of this remarkable building.

For further scheduled events at the Center, check here.

Of special note: On July 29th at 6:30pm there will be a documentary by Sacramento filmmaker Robert Lee Grant premiered at the Center: "Nourishing the Kids of Katrina" Click link for additional details.

For sale: 4 bedroom Eichler on SLP Dr.

Occasionally I find out about mid-century modern homes in the Sacramento region that are either for rent or for sale. I am not an agent nor am I affiliated with one. I am passing this information along as a public service to those who are interested and love MCM design and architecture as much as I do.

Fresh on the market today: a four bedroom, 2 bath large Eichler built in 1956 on South Land Park Drive. With a pool!

UPDATE 9.4.09 -- also for rent. See Craigslist listing.

If you need an agent you should contact Paloma Begin for further details regarding this home. Paloma has specialized in MCM homes here the the Sacramento region. Or you may find more information from the MLS listing here.

For additional information on other Sacramento region MCM's that are or have been for sale, check out Modern Valley.

Cool Sacramento MCM: Mahoroba Bakery

I've been watching a little Googie building being rehabilitated at 4900 Freeport Boulevard and am happy to report it has been transformed into a wonderful Japanese bakery! Open from 7:30AM to 7PM, according to a handwritten sign in their window. Of course I had to geek out for a moment on the mid-century aspects of the building, -- a small octagonal cutie with pinched pleat zig-zag roofing! It was originally a MacFarlane's Candies built in the mid-1960's.

Being the sophisticated foodies we are, my six year old and I skipped past the creamy and bean paste items and headed straight for the CHOCOLATE! Mahoroba serves "authentic Japanese baked goods, featuring our acclaimed freshly made 'Kobe cream delight'." They have both sweet and savory pastries, various breads, coffee drinks and bottled juices.

I got the "An pan man choco" and my son got the "Chocolate Hat." Both were absolutely delicious. Mine was still slightly warm. The pastry bread on the "An pan man choco" was soft and fresh and the chocolate filling was tasty. "The Chocolate Hat" was refrigerated and had crunchy chocolate on top. The pastry was crunchy on the outside and soft in the middle. Both were sweet but not cloyingly so.

We will be adding this to our once a week repertoire of fun places to go in the morning before school. I would love it if they offered fresh fruit salad but I realize this is a bakery and most bakeries do not offer this. We'll be back, definitely. My son would like to eat like this every day, of course!

For more reviews and food pictures, visit Mahoroba's review page on Yelp. For additional information regarding the business, this is an interesting article.

UPDATE 8.9.09: Additional pictures by the Sacramento Bee in this photo gallery here. According to the Bee: " Business owner Narusuke Monguchi chose Freeport Blvd., in Sacramento as his first USA location for his Japanese bakery Mahoroba"

Meanwhile, back at the ranch, Part II

Thanks to Pam Kueber of for featuring our strange dual-dial lighting control system over at the wacky ranch today. And a big hello, fellow Retro Renovators!

I recently took some snaps of our highly idiosyncratic 1961 ranch house here in Sacramento, which is about two miles up the street from our Eichler. Thanks for stopping by -- have a look around here at our 1955 Eichler or go to my Flickr set specific to the wacky ranch.

"After" pictures: Finally, our restoration is complete

Here is a Flickr set of "after" pictures since we purchased this home from the original owners' estate in Fall of 2008. Before pix can be seen here.

We've been restoring and refreshing this home -- while trying our best not to take away any of its original mid-century character or essence.

What we've done so far:
1) built a new extensive drainage system around the entire house. This was by far our biggest and most expensive improvement. It is also most likely to be the least appreciated -- until it rains.
2) installed new carpet.
3) installed new linoleum.
4) put in a new washer/dryer and refrigerator.
5) completed electrical upgrades and restored ailing light fixtures (look here for one example).
6) completed plumbing upgrades and improvements.
7) painted with new paint where needed.
8) installed new shower fixtures, new toilet seats and bath/shower enclosures.
9) had a full inspection of both sets of heater and A/C units plus installation of a new filter in the hallway (so we didn't have to climb on the roof to change the filter!)
10) installed new window coverings throughout.
11) rehabilitated the grasscloth closet panels.
12) replaced dilapidated exterior fixtures with period-appropriate Remcraft double bullets.
13) extensively cleaned all surfaces and fireplace.
14) updated and installed an automatic sprinkler system.
15) rehabilitated existing landscaping.
16) proactively maintained and repaired flat rooftop.
17) installed new wall exhaust fans in both bathrooms.
18) installed a metal plate under countertop above stovetop as additional protection against fire hazard.
19) installed six smoke detectors.

Voilà! She is done. For now.

Give-away Contest at Home Sweet Split Level Blog

This is an MCM Public Service Announcement!

Occasionally I find out about MCM-related contests and promotions. I don't want to keep this intel to myself. Everybody likes a chance to win free stuff, right?

Our friends (and kindred tiki lovers) over at Home Sweet Split Level in Atlanta's NorthCrest neighborhood have hooked up with All Modern for a free give-away. Check out their awesome blog and their give-away contest, which ends on July 16th.

Sacramento Eichler Homes Gallery

According to my count, a total of approximately 54 remaining Eichler homes exist in Sacramento today. These homes were built between 1954 and 1956 on three streets in the South Land Park Hills area: South Land Park Drive, Fordham Way, and Oakridge Way.

Several neighbors have discussed an interest in enrolling the Eichlers on the National Register of Historic Places. This has been done in Palo Alto's Green Gables and Greenmeadow neighborhoods. If you are a South Land Park Hills neighbor who is interested or has an opinion about this, please leave a comment at the end of this post.

The South Land Park Hills neighborhood is also home to many wonderful MCM homes.

Ironically, there is an Eichler Street in the neighborhood but there are no Eichler homes on it.

The photos in this set were taken in early and late Spring of 2009.

This set is my attempt to document the homes as they are today, over 50 years after they were built. If anyone knows of a Sacramento Eichler home I've omitted, please contact me and I will include it in the group. I've removed or fragmented addresses and license plates for privacy.

UPDATE 7.9.09: Special thanks to pinetree from Flickr for his keen eye in recognizing another Eichler in the neighborhood that I did not (it now looks like a conventional home). More pictures of this particular Eichler here in pinetree's Flickr eichler homes | land park photo set.