Homes of 'True Believers'

Dedicated modernists open their doors for June 18 'Sacramento Modern' house tour
Homes of True Believers
Among the seven homes of "true believers" lined up for June 18's 2016 edition of the 'Sacramento Mid-Century Modern Home Tour' is this lovely Eichler, home to Zann Gates and Jeff Roush. All photos: Donald Satterlee Photography
Homes of True Believers
Homes of True Believers
A second Eichler on the tour: home of Andy Lacey and Karen Ronneback of fogmodern.com.

When you're putting together a successful home tour, like the ones produced by Sacramento Modern, one is compelled to recall the old adage: It takes hands to build a house, but only hearts can build a home.

"Each tour has a different personality," explained Sac Modern founder and tour organizer Gretchen Steinberg. The seven homes picked for the upcoming 2016 edition of the 'Sacramento Mid-Century Modern Home Tour,' slated for Saturday June 18, are filled with what Steinberg calls "true believers."

"By that I mean they really appreciate not only the architecture, but the lifestyle," she said of owners of this year's handpicked lineup, which includes two Eichlers. "This particular group of people very much cares about mid-century art and design."

All seven homes are new to the tour, which Steinberg said only occurs every three years "because frankly that's what I can tolerate. I want to do a good job, and it's a lot of time involved."

Sacramento Modern was formed to stage the first tour, in 2010, by Steinberg and two of her neighbors. The 2016 tour is Sac Mod's third.

"We just decided that we were going to celebrate our neighborhood," she said of South Land Park, where all of Sacramento's 50-plus Eichlers were built. "It's grown from there."

These days, the organization gets involved in preserving historic Sacramento-area gems, which include vintage neon signs and the endangered low-rises of the Capitol Towers neighborhood.

"We try to mix in some fun stuff," she noted of Sac Mod's mid-century film screenings and the like.

The tour is still the big event for the non-profit organization's six-person board though. This year is the first time Steinberg's home is not on the tour and, she says, "my family's very happy about that."

"It takes a special kind of person to open up their house to a thousand strangers," she said of recruiting homes for the tour. "Some people, they jump at the chance. Other people have to weigh [whether] they have the time."

It's a search for which Steinberg doesn't hesitate to knock on the door of an attractive find: "If I see somebody that is lovingly restoring their home, I like to encourage that."

Of course, a little trolling on the Internet would have turned up some of this year's homeowners, who post on pages like fogmodern.com, hepcatrestorations.com, facebook.com/VintageSacramento, and, of course, sacmod.org.