Das Haus

As I run, bike, and drive around the greater 95864-95825-95821 ‘hoods, I see countless houses that have no resemblance at all to the original neighborhood homes. While a number of remodels have been completed beautifully that complement the vibe of the neighborhood, there are some which I’m sure make the collective neighbors’ skin crawl.

I’m talking mostly about “architectural fusion” elements that combine too many features that flagrantly do not go together.  Construction on some of these homes has been shoddy — I honestly saw a drooping balcony on one house in Arden Oaks.

Now I’m not saying every neighborhood should dictate exactly how a homeowner remodels his or her house, or telling people what color they can and can’t paint their house, but there seems to be a lack of common sense, eye for design, and courtesy to others who have to live next door to some of these abodes.

Please feel free to be specific about what you’ve seen recently — anyone in the Arden Park neighborhood can probably share their sentiments about one particular recent remodel.

21 thoughts on “Das Haus”

  1. In the 1970s, the city allowed many old victorians to be torn down and replaced with the hideous apartment buildings that litter midtown and the various east sacramento neighborhoods. this drastically changed the entire character of those areas, marginalizing the working class, transient population in relation to the homeowners.

    i’m all for historic status if it protects not just individual homes but entire neighborhoods. i know many homeowners see it as encroachment on their “right” to do anything they want on their property, but i think that groups and neighborhoods have rights just as individuals do – in fact, the rights of 500 neighbors not to have their neighborhood character ruined by someone with extremely poor taste is a pretty good argument for withholding a construction permit imho.

    i wish the city had been as gung-ho about preservation 30 years ago as it is now. my neighborhood would be a lot prettier.

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  2. You’re on it JLT. Historic preservation is something that seems like a luxury during down-times, but winds up being truly important later. Too often though, the “character” of neigborhoods, cities, and whole communities lies in the hands of far too few. On top of that, economic gain, personal freedom, and political influence tend to play the Larry, Moe, and Curly roles while “Historic Preservation” tends to be the Shemp of community planning.

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  3. RunnerGirl’s example is an issue of design review, rather than preservation. That’s a big challenge because good taste guidelines for a home that doesn’t neccessarily follow any particular architectural movement is pretty hard to establish.

    The City is slowly establishing guidelines for certain areas, so maybe in those hoods there are none? I found it very strange that as recently as one year ago, Sacramento didn’t have design standards and/or design review for areas like East Sac, North Sac and Oak Park.

    I’m not really explaining this as well as I should, but here is an example of what I mean.

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  4. If we want to be truly snarky we should post photos of the worst offenders. And by snarky I mean “disrespectful of the right to privacy” as I usually do.

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  5. By the way, if anyone uses the line “you can’t legislate taste,” I’ll punch them in the throat.

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  6. One person’s eyesore is another person’s masterpiece. I think it’s biological–otherwise some humans would never, ever mate.

    As long as the lawn is mowed and there are no “cars-in-progress” in the driveway, then really what can be done? That’s why they have these snob clubs called Homeowner’s Associations. The rest of us just have to deal with it.

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  7. This post is being considered for The Sacramento Bee’s roundup of regional blogs, which appears Sunday in Forum.

    The Blog Watch column is limited to about 800 words. Blog posts included in the column are often trimmed to fit. The blog’s main address will appear in The Bee, and the online copy of the article will contain links to the actual blog post.

    If you have questions (or you DON’T want your blog post considered for inclusion in the newspaper column), contact me at greed@sacbee.com

    Gary Reed
    Forum Editor

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  8. Ursula is right. If you want rules regarding how your lawn should look or what color you can paint your house…move into an HOA. otherwise…we just tough it out. I have a neighbor with an all white house that looks like it was painted with primer. And another neighbor who has a grey-ish house with PINK trim. Lovely…just lovely.

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  9. Runnergirl, have you seen the monstrosity that sits on the corner of Arden Way and …ahhhh..forgot the name….ummmm…you know the one….ochre in hue, it’s got these fleur de lis iron lights all around the joint….honestly, if you live somewhere other than 95864, it’s worth the drive. I think they might’ve hit it big on Powerball and then ran out of dough.
    I just laugh my arse off every day that I drive by.

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  10. may i ask what is the virtue of making the house look original or “period?” why is it that making the house historic gets priority? guidelines for what people can and can’t do with their house borders on fascism. sure you wouldn’t want people storing industrial waste in their backyards but to dictate and legislate style and historic context is insane. and besides, if the houses on your block didn’t look the way they did then all you’d have left is the weather to talk about when the in laws come to dinner.

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  11. TP, I agree. My post was that some of these places are ill-conceived in design and are poorly built.

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  12. In the name of “Historic Preservation” all homes should have outhouses. And anything done in tan stucco, with a garage as the closest part of the house to the street, should be burned to the ground.

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  13. The look of your neighbors house can have a financial impact on the value of your own home. When you have one house on a street that is incongruous with the rest, it makes the whole neighborhood feel slightly off…maybe by making the other houses seem outdated. I think that we have a responsibility to our neighbors (in the interest of the property value of the whole neighborhood) to have remodels done in a conservative and harmonious way. I would be embarrassed to give directions to my home as “next to the pepto-pink house with purple trim.”

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  14. I rep the 95864/”AP hood” as well and know exactly what behemoth “house” you’re talking about (on arden) with the mini statue of liberty torch lamps, unabashedly demanding every neighbor to gawk in horrified awe (not to mention tempt me to take cooldmz on his challenge) when making their way to whole foods or blockbuster.. Interesting hypothesis nolagirl, I just assumed that somehow during their tasteful update of a 50s rancher, the construction team got the blueprints mixed up with their other project out in Granite Bay and noticed way too late..

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  15. The behemoth house on Arden is the type of house that would fit Chris Burrous’ larger-than-life personality.

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  16. can someone offer proof about a house painted an odd color brings down the neighborhood property values? i’ve talked to people in my neighborhood where a house sits covered in green tile and dragons and most of them say it doesn’t bother them. i also really doubt that home prices in curtis park suffer because of it. if your property value can be lowered by 1 black sheep house then i believe it’s not the house that is the main problem but all those other things like location and traffic (see arden area) that allow the value to be brought down to the point where a house would make the difference. mind you i’m not talking about the house with broken down cars and 3 families living there, i’m simply speaking of a house’s style you don’t agree with.

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  17. scoop, that’s the one…the mini statue of liberty lights. i might even take my daughter trick or treating there just to get an up-close-and-personal on the thing. I felt bad after writing and “outing” the joint, but i couldn’t let it pass…these people should be punished good for making us rubberneck each and every time we make the cruise to whole foods. do you think they’d mind if i sent them my chiropractic bill?
    all anyone is asking, or suggesting rather, is just exhibiting a modicum of decency when it comes to their property. Make it flow with the rest of the block for crying outloud!

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  18. Preservation of historic homes, or non-preservation, has definite effects on property values in a neighborhood. A properly restored home, with original components, can sell for much more than an “updated” home where character-defining features like wood sash windows, lath & plaster walls, etcetera, have been removed.

    Historic preservation DOES NOT mean resetting everything to the way it was (outhouses, etcetera.) It can mean using very modern methods within a historic structure (modern wiring, insulation, etc.) while preserving the aspects of a house that people can see, inside and out. Current preservation guidelines affect only the outside of a home.

    Incidentally, historic preservation districts in the central city don’t limit the colors you can paint your house: one of my favorite houses in midtown has these amazing multi-colored bricks that remind me of a box of Good & Plenty candies. They also don’t rule out eclectic character: some of the neatest blocks have an 1880s Queen Anne next to a 1910 bungalow next to a 1930s Spanish Colonial Revival next to a 1950s International Style office. So go ahead, paint that dragon on the wall, stick that pink flamingo on the lawn. Just don’t replace your sash windows with cheap vinyl dual-pane crapola!

    Issues like front-lawn car repair and indifferent lawn care are code enforcement issues that don’t have anything to do with historic preservation.

    A telling fact about historic preservation is that, unlike homes in most of Sacramento, historic homes (especially those in historic districts) are still commanding premium prices, and still selling, even in this depressed market. Their prices have dropped, but not as much.

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  19. let’s look at it this way: in 50 years are we going to fight to keep natomas track housing preserved or even elk grove and roseville? that is what curtis park and land park were, the track homes of the day.

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  20. A lot depends on how much of that tract housing is still standing, or above water, in 50 years. If Sacramentans of the 2060s experience a wave of nostalgia for “turn of the century” homes, and transportation and living modes of that era allow similar uses, then almost certainly people will fight to save them. If they are still considered ugly junk, or changes in the way we get around and build cities make tract-home living infeasible, then probably not.

    Talking about what historic preservation will look like in 50 years can be fun, but preservation in the here and now is a far more important discussion to have. In cities like Los Angeles, historic preservation rules far stricter than Sacramento’s (known as Historic Preservation Overly Zones, or HPOZ) have helped to stabilize neighborhoods and increase property values by enforcing minimum maintenance standards on historic buildings. Nobody would accuse Los Angeles of being stuck in the past, but they value their architectural legacy and work to protect it even as the city grows and expands. Growth and preservation aren’t mutually exclusive.

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