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January 1, 2011

Sacramento architectural designer Curtis Popp bought and renovated, in three months, a five-bedroom, three-bath, 2,900-square-foot house that had, over the years, succumbed to a growing architectural incongruity. He stripped away the ill effects of the aging additions (shag carpet in the bathroom, aluminum windows, floral wallpaper) and helped the 1943 home—which he shares with his wife, Susan, and their daughter Olivia, 9, and son Fletcher, 7—“return to its glory.” Popp lacquered the main floor, a partially underground space that includes the family/media room, dining area and kitchen, in white, laid down stained white-oak flooring throughout the rest of the tri-level house, and updated the top-floor master suite. To keep the budget within reason, Popp chose discounted display appliances and “seconds” tile, and supplemented his own modern furniture collection with affordable new pieces.

The entrance, its front door accented by a porthole window, leads to stairways down to the media room and up to the living room and bedrooms. Photo by <a href="http://mikegraffigna.com/">Mike Graffigna</a>
The entrance, its front door accented by a porthole window, leads to stairways down to the media room and up to the living room and bedrooms. Photo by Mike Graffigna
Courtesy of 
Mike Graffigna 2010 mike@mikegraffigna.com 415.200.0028
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The new media room, in which Popp retained the original tiny window as a nod to its 1940s character. Susan found the initials in a local shop, and daughter Olivia preferred them to be switched to say “ps,” to stand for “postscript.” Surrounding the Saarin
The new media room, in which Popp retained the original tiny window as a nod to its 1940s character. Susan found the initials in a local shop, and daughter Olivia preferred them to be switched to say “ps,” to stand for “postscript.” Surrounding the Saarinen Tulip table are Philippe Starck chairs; the art is by various local artists. Photo by Mike Graffigna
Courtesy of 
Mike Graffigna 2010 mike@mikegraffigna.com 415.200.0028
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The open media room. Joining the Panton and Eames chairs are leather-and-chrome Breuer chairs, a Mies Barcelona table and a chaise and loveseat from IKEA. Photo by <a href="http://mikegraffigna.com/">Mike Graffigna</a>
The open media room. Joining the Panton and Eames chairs are leather-and-chrome Breuer chairs, a Mies Barcelona table and a chaise and loveseat from IKEA. Photo by Mike Graffigna
Courtesy of 
Mike Graffigna 2010 mike@mikegraffigna.com 415.200.0028
3 / 18
The floor plan of the main room, including the media room, dining area and kitchen. Image courtesy <a href="http://www.curtispopp.com/">Curtis Popp</a>
The floor plan of the main room, including the media room, dining area and kitchen. Image courtesy Curtis Popp
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Sacramento remodel dining room
Popp found the dining table, designed by Matthew Hilton, and the Italian chairs at a Design Within Reach warehouse sale. He bought the Henningsen PH Snowball lamp on eBay. Photo by Mike Graffigna
Courtesy of 
Mike Graffigna 2010mike@mikegraffigna.com415.200.0028
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The old kitchen and dining area. Photo courtesy <a href="http://www.curtispopp.com/">Curtis Popp</a>
The old kitchen and dining area. Photo courtesy Curtis Popp
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Popp closed off the cooking island to create a bar and countertop and stained the kitchen’s white-oak walls brown to set off the space from the otherwise overwhelmingly white area. To bring more light and flow to the space, Popp replaced a small window wi
Popp closed off the cooking island to create a bar and countertop and stained the kitchen’s white-oak walls brown to set off the space from the otherwise overwhelmingly white area. To bring more light and flow to the space, Popp replaced a small window with French doors, which now allow access to the backyard from the kitchen. Photo by Mike Graffigna
Courtesy of 
Mike Graffigna 2010 mike@mikegraffigna.com 415.200.0028
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Popp incorporated into the new cooking area a teppanyaki grill, induction cooktop and in-counter steamer he got at a discount from a Gaggenau display. Photo by <a href="http://mikegraffigna.com/">Mike Graffigna</a>
Popp incorporated into the new cooking area a teppanyaki grill, induction cooktop and in-counter steamer he got at a discount from a Gaggenau display. Photo by Mike Graffigna
Courtesy of 
Mike Graffigna 2010 mike@mikegraffigna.com 415.200.0028
8 / 18
Popp relegated the kitchen storage to cabinets beneath the counters, leaving the shelves open for more artful objects. He replicated the house’s original appearance by installing tilt-turn wood windows; this one looks out into the backyard and pool. Photo
Popp relegated the kitchen storage to cabinets beneath the counters, leaving the shelves open for more artful objects. He replicated the house’s original appearance by installing tilt-turn wood windows; this one looks out into the backyard and pool. Photo by Mike Graffigna
Courtesy of 
Mike Graffigna 2010 mike@mikegraffigna.com 415.200.0028
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A view from the dining area into the media room, which doubles as a gallery space. Photo by <a href="http://mikegraffigna.com/">Mike Graffigna</a>
A view from the dining area into the media room, which doubles as a gallery space. Photo by Mike Graffigna
Courtesy of 
Mike Graffigna 2010 mike@mikegraffigna.com 415.200.0028
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The architect designed the vanity for the first-floor bathroom, which opens to both the media room and the backyard. Though he went with “seconds” tile elsewhere, for this bathroom Popp sprung for the hexagonal blue tiles from the latest collection by <a
The architect designed the vanity for the first-floor bathroom, which opens to both the media room and the backyard. Though he went with “seconds” tile elsewhere, for this bathroom Popp sprung for the hexagonal blue tiles from the latest collection by Heath. Photo by Mike Graffigna
Courtesy of 
Mike Graffigna 2010 mike@mikegraffigna.com 415.200.0028
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The living room, reached by the main staircase off the entrance. The Mies chair is the first piece of modern furniture Popp purchased, on layaway. “It took me two years to pay it off,” he says. Around the coffee table from B&B Italia are an Eames rocker a
The living room, reached by the main staircase off the entrance. The Mies chair is the first piece of modern furniture Popp purchased, on layaway. “It took me two years to pay it off,” he says. Around the coffee table from B&B Italia are an Eames rocker and compact sofa, a Le Corbusier chaise, a wood table by local artist William Earl, and an Eileen Gray cocktail table. Photo by Mike Graffigna
Courtesy of 
Mike Graffigna 2010 mike@mikegraffigna.com 415.200.0028
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For the second-floor bath, Popp repurposed a custom-designed vanity that ended up not fitting in a client’s home—it just fit in this room’s existing recess. Photo by <a href="http://mikegraffigna.com/">Mike Graffigna</a>
For the second-floor bath, Popp repurposed a custom-designed vanity that ended up not fitting in a client’s home—it just fit in this room’s existing recess. Photo by Mike Graffigna
Courtesy of 
Mike Graffigna 2010 mike@mikegraffigna.com 415.200.0028
13 / 18
While gutting a closet with mirrored doors concealing a built-in vanity, Popp discovered a note by a former resident documenting the fact that she “hung this mirror all by herself on the 4th of July, 1978 A.D., when she was 16 years old.” Popp, still in t
While gutting a closet with mirrored doors concealing a built-in vanity, Popp discovered a note by a former resident documenting the fact that she “hung this mirror all by herself on the 4th of July, 1978 A.D., when she was 16 years old.” Popp, still in touch with the former owners, removed the panel with the note and gave it back to the woman who wrote it. Photo by Mike Graffigna
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Like in the media room, pieces by local artists hang in the office. Photo by <a href="http://mikegraffigna.com/">Mike Graffigna</a>
Like in the media room, pieces by local artists hang in the office. Photo by Mike Graffigna
Courtesy of 
Mike Graffigna 2010 mike@mikegraffigna.com 415.200.0028
15 / 18
The old mirrored closet was transformed into a storage wall in Popp’s office. Photo by <a href="http://mikegraffigna.com/">Mike Graffigna</a>
The old mirrored closet was transformed into a storage wall in Popp’s office. Photo by Mike Graffigna
Courtesy of 
Mike Graffigna 2010 mike@mikegraffigna.com 415.200.0028
16 / 18
The hallway’s original telephone box and grate were updated with a coat of white paint and a tiny artwork. Photo by <a href="http://mikegraffigna.com/">Mike Graffigna</a>
The hallway’s original telephone box and grate were updated with a coat of white paint and a tiny artwork. Photo by Mike Graffigna
Courtesy of 
Mike Graffigna 2010 mike@mikegraffigna.com 415.200.0028
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An Eames Hang-It-All is above a new HVAC grate that replicates the originals in the house. Photo by <a href="http://mikegraffigna.com/">Mike Graffigna</a>
An Eames Hang-It-All is above a new HVAC grate that replicates the originals in the house. Photo by Mike Graffigna
Courtesy of 
Mike Graffigna 2010 mike@mikegraffigna.com 415.200.0028
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The entrance, its front door accented by a porthole window, leads to stairways down to the media room and up to the living room and bedrooms. Photo by <a href="http://mikegraffigna.com/">Mike Graffigna</a>
The entrance, its front door accented by a porthole window, leads to stairways down to the media room and up to the living room and bedrooms. Photo by Mike Graffigna

To see images of the project, please visit the slideshow.

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