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Solar House : 1967

American River Dr, Sacramento, CA

4 Beds / 2.5 Baths / 2,430 sq ft / .29 ac lot

+ hat tip : DWolf
+ confirmed via DS research materials

The Sacramento Union, Sunday, September 24, 1967, E 10-11
The House That Heart Built

By Karen Vitlip

There’s a house waiting for you.

Its name is Solar House. About two-and-a-half years ago, it was just an idea. But that was once upon a time. Today, the house with a sunny name is a reality.

Thanks to many, many people it is a reality. For it was built on land was partially donated. More than 325 persons contributed materials for the makings and 230 men donated 2,200 hours for construction.

As the story goes, about 140 women, members of the Sacramento Home Guild, decided in June of 1965 that may were going to build a house and then sell it as a fund-raising venture to benefit the Sacramento Children's Home.

“Can't be Done”

Many people said it be done. For one, it sounded. like too wild an idea to ask for contributions from the community - to include land, the architectural design, the construction and the interior decor. Secondly, although women are given credit for many achievements, cautious skepticism may have entered many a male rand female mind, simply from the overwhelming notion that 140 women en masse would actually assume such a project and then (glory be!) have the patience, determination and organization to follow it through.

But then, women have been known to move mountains, and anybody who can move mountains can certainly build a house.

Plan Discarded

“Originally, we had tossed around the idea of re-doing an old, Victorian house," Mrs. Raymond Grenz, general chairman for the project recalled. "But then we decided to build a new house from scratch. Nothing seemed too big for the guild members.

“And frankly, we were sincerely overwhelmed by the outstanding cooperation the Sacramento business community gave us through donations, of time, materials and services. And guild members, too, worked long and hard to see this project become a reality. 'There was wholehearted cooperation on every level. Most certainly, Solar House has been a source of self satisfaction to all of us."

Yes, Virginia, you’ve got to see the home believe it. For Solar House is one beauty of a structure.

Architect - Designed

Sacramento architect Carter Sparks designed the 2,600 sq. ft. Solar House, a title inspired by vast expanses of sun welcoming glass.

"The steering committee told me the footage of the lot and left the rest of the design up to me,” Sparks said.

He created a magnificent contemporary structure of bold and sweeping lines, of space and light, mixed with imagination and excitement. The result: A very livable house that swings with the times, yet looks to the future. The two-story home employs marblecrete, wood and glass as its major construction materials. It's a solid-looking, fortress-like structure as viewed from the front, but the rear connotes the look of a miniature glass - blown skyscraper of determined, yet surprisingly graceful lines.

A-Line Design

The living room, dining room, kitchen, family room, service area, study, three bedrooms and one-and-a-half baths are situated on the first floor. The master bedroom, occupying the second floor of the A-line house, assumes the stance of a balcony - for the sliding panels on one side of the room offer a zooming view of the living room, nearly 20 - feet below.

Interior decor, done by Jon Siler and Bob King (interior designers with Wilson’s Contemporary Furniture), has pow, zing and sparkle. Imagination and good taste governed the selection of contemporary furnishings which range from the conservative to the pop-op-hip. Colors and textures featured in the outstanding decor give the perfect dash and spice to the earth-colored structure. Today marks the official placing of the welcome mat on Solar House’s doorstep to the general public in conjunction with National Home Week, which is being observed locally by the 13th Annual Tour of Homes sponsored by the Associated Home Builders of Sacramento Valley. Solar House. Situated at 2709 American River Dr. in Sierra Oaks, will be open from 1 to 5 pm daily through next Sunday during the "Home Tour Americana II" of 29 homes.

Open Weekends

Following the week-long tour, Solar House will be Open for public inspection every weekend until Aug. 31, 1968.

Proceeds from the public tours through Solar House, as well as monies received from the sale of the home, will benefit the Sacramento Children’s Home on Sutterville Road. The private institution, a Sacramento area United Crusade Agency, provides a home environment for children who are neglected, unwanted or dispossessed.

Mrs. Grenz emphasized that Solar House can be purchased at any time. However, the purchasing party must wait until the designated tour period has been completed before taking occupancy with respect to a stipulation established by those participating in the project. The Official price tag will go on the home pending final appraisement, currently being conducted.

It’s waiting for you. Its name is Solar House. And if you take a strong liking to one another, you may even call it home.
THE SACRAMENTO UNION Sunday, September 24, 1967

photo : Joe Benetti for Sac Union
photo : Joe Benetti for Sac Union
photo : Joe Benetti for Sac Union