Custom Carter Sparks Rarity

Architect of the Strengs gets spotlight with one-off design along the American River
Fridays on the Homefront
Designed by Carter Sparks, the Sacramento area's foremost modern architect and designer of the Streng modern neighborhoods, this custom Sparks in Wilhaggin Estates went on the market recently for $1,895,000. Because of its custom status and Sparks pedigree, people are coming out of the woodwork to see it. All photos courtesy Angela Heinzer

The easy-living environs of riverside life has always been one of Sacramento's most enjoyable features.

If that sounds attractive, there's a honey of a custom-designed home available in one of the town's most desirable neighborhoods, designed by Carter Sparks, the region's foremost modern architect and designer of the Streng modern neighborhoods.

"We have a lot of interest," said realtor Angela Heinzer of Coldwell Banker Realty, one week after listing 3911 Wycombe Drive (1964-'65) earlier this month for $1,895,000. The realtor added, "Our market is very hot, and this is such a unique property."

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The four-bed, three-bath home covers 3,600 interior square feet counting an additional 1+1 in the backyard pool house. Sited on a wooded .52-acre lot, the home was originally designed and built for Dr. Donald Depp in 1964-'65.

California modernist extraordinaire Sparks trained with Eichler architects Anshen and Allen, and he gave Frank Lloyd Wright-influenced design to more than 3,000 houses (including numerous custom designs like this one) in Sacramento, Yolo, and Placer counties, built mostly by Streng Bros. Homes, plus numerous commercial and civic buildings.

Wilhaggin Estates, home to this Sparks' custom, is a neighborhood of about 150 modern-style houses in east Sacramento that was mostly constructed by the Strengs from 1968-'72. It sits on 40 acres, along the American River, once owned by the Haggin family and subdivided by the firm of Williams and Williams, hence the unusual name. The community was profiled a few years ago by the Eichler Network.

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"Wilhaggin remains one of Sparks' greatest creations," notes the profile, "its streetscape a remarkable display of how much variety could be obtained from a handful of elements—flat roofs; the wing-like, low-gabled roofs; tall clerestory windows; rafters; broad eaves; courtyards; and skylights." The Wycombe Drive property, naturally, boasts these same assets.

While Heinzer has sold several modern houses in the area built by either Streng or Eichler Homes, she said this custom design stands out.

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