Excerpts from an article by Ryan Lundquist from the Sacramento Appraisal Blog ,The Roof Guy Web site and comments by Valerie Romans
The Streng Brothers, Jim and Bill, built just under 4,000 homes in the Sacramento Valley between 1959 and about 1989. The majority are Carter Sparks designed mid-century modern enclaves dotting the valley: Davis, Woodland, Elk Grove, Carmichael, Citrus Heights, Fair Oaks, Orangevale, Natomas, etc. Several of the more well known include River City Commons, Evergreen Commons, Shelfield Oaks, Willhagin Estates, Williamson Ranch, and South Overbrook.
You may be wondering what in the world a “Streng” home is, so let me break it down in a nutshell. A Streng home is a mid-century modern (MCM) home built by the Streng Brothers and designed by Carter Sparks. Strengs have a modern feel to them, lower pitched roofs, high windows, few windows in front, skylights in many cases, and they often have terrariums too. Strengs were influenced by Bay Area builder Joe Eichler.
Although categorized as mid-century modern (a.k.a. MCM, Postwar Modern, or California Modern), deserving of historic note and preservation, these homes truly were forward looking. They fit today’s “modern” lifestyle seamlessly. The Streng Bros. worked with Carter Sparks to create a home, uniquely suited to the hot Sacramento valley: interior atriums domed with tinted acrylic to block heat, exposed aggregate flooring enhances cooling, open living areas allow free flowing AC, and lots of natural sunlight without the “hotbox” effect. Moreover, these homes provide a private retreat from the hectic 21st century world, with front exteriors that are setback and substantially closed-off from the road, and back exteriors with lots of windows and sliders that tend to open into beautifully landscaped backyards and patios.
While the model with interior atriums with their exposed aggregate flooring might not appeal to everybody’s lifestyle, these homes are great investments for the Mid-Century Modern and contemporary home enthusiasts. Since they do not have as broad an appeal as traditional and Mediterranean homes, you can sometimes find deals out there. I have found that many of them suffer from poorly thought out updating and remodeling. I prefer the homes that have been updated with contemporary/modern finishes where the inside matches the outside. There are plenty of homes in the “original” condition still out there, just waiting for the right owner to put their own personal design esthetic mark on them. I have recently seen some flipped homes where traditional cabinets, trendy tile and flooring finishes have been selected that would complement traditional homes but are ill suited to the Streng homes original design. While I am not a big fan of the models with the interior atriums, (I like rocks and exposed aggregate to be on the outside of the house, not the inside), my husband had a point when he told me, if you don’t like it, then leave it for someone who would appreciate it: point well taken. There are many models without the interior atriums, that feature the sleek contemporary design and beautiful natural lighting that the Streng homes are known for. Contact me for more information on Streng and other eco-friendly homes.