Alan and Gretchen Steinberg bought a 1961 MCM home in Sacramento in 2000, and since then, have revamped the home back to its original roots (part 1). Despite horrible ‘80s renovations, which Gretchen calls “crimes against the house,” the Steinbergs have returned the home to its midcentury glory, including a funky fresh master suite.
Their most recent and extensive undertaking was a remodel of the master suite. “It was the worst room in the house—faux marble headcheese tile, and you could stick your finger through the wall in the bathroom. We wanted a larger bath, a sauna, a vanity, a separate WC and pocket doors,” Gretchen explains.
They approached Curtis Popp, now an interior architect at Popp Littrell Architecture. “We went into the first meeting with a list of furnishings and designers we liked, which gave him a great sense of where we were coming from,” Alan says. “When we told him we wanted to be able to see the koi pond from the bedroom, he extended the windows to the floor. He surprised us by turning the room around; it’s brilliant, because it now allows people from the pool area to access the bath,” Gretchen adds. She explains that they actually had more than enough closet space before, so the bedroom is slightly smaller now.
“It’s a merger of our style with Curtis’. Gretchen’s strength is lighting and color,” Alan says. “It’s a totally modern room, but that’s what midcentury was about: trying to be modern, looking forward and designing spaces that were timeless.” “The slate and the walnut veneer tie into the rest of the house,” Gretchen comments. “This house was the house of the future. There was no question in my mind that we were going to be pushing the envelope a bit in this area. The front of the house we’ve kept true to the era, but we didn’t feel constrained to do that in the master bedroom.”
When they redid the living room, the Steinbergs decided on a glowing orange color (ICI Dulux ‘Pumpkin Face’) that plays well with the wood ceiling and the copper fireplace hood. While Alan favors rectilinear pieces, Gretchen loves the curves of the purple Egg Chair, the biomorphic sofa and vintage Adrian Pearsall coffee table, which face the piano instead of the fireplace. Lighting includes copper-finish Donald sconces from Rejuvenation and a vintage George Nelson tripod Net Light. On the other side of the room, the piano area shows the stripped original paneling, more decorative rock, a Gigi chair designed by Gerard van den Berg in 1998 and a Tom Dixon Star Light from the late ’90s.
From Master Suite to Master Plan
The Steinbergs didn’t just stop at the design of their own home. Find out how they’re impacting the MCM community in part 3.