Who was nice enough to let us feature their home: Yours truly, Ms. Toni Okamoto. I’m selling my darling home to make a move to the bay area, so I thought I’d show you guys what it looks like in case it sells.
What they told us about the home: It’s probably the cutest 1951, 833 sq ft tract home you’ve ever seen in your life. It’s a 2 bedroom/ 1 bathroom with original hardwood floors, original light fixtures and the previous owners (who had been there since 1964) left me the original metal cabinets as extra garage storage.
Where is the home located: Mangan Park, Sacramento, California
When was the home built and when they moved it: Built in 1951 and I moved in July 2010.
Why they chose this home: I started saving to buy a house when I was 22 years old and it took me about eight months to find anything that was more than half way decent. When you have a low budget it is extremely competitive because of investors. I found myself looking at places that were more like fun houses than homes, they had strange add-ons, unfinished rooms … I even went to a house that had a bathroom that was so skinny I had to turn side ways to get into.
When I found this house it was love at first sight. It had been on the market for one day and I put my bid in immediately. There were several other offers, but because of my Japanese last name and the family’s strong desire to keep the home in Japanese hands, they gave it to me. Here are a few photos of the previous family in the home: https://mimomito.wordpress.com/2011/09/11/back-in-the-day/
What attracted you to MCM design? My fondness of 1950′s life began as a child. My dad had an awesome pompadour, both of my parents were into doo wop music and our first family vehicle was a black 1953 Chevy. However, it wasn’t until I met my dear friend Gretchen (who has the most awesome home, by the way) that I really began to appreciate Mid-Century Modern design – in all regards.
Favorite designers and influences in design?
Of course I love all of the big names in mid century modern design, but I think it’s more important to name some of the people who are doing awesome local stuff: Brian Schmitt and his awesome clocks and mobiles, and Two Accordions and their totally awesome quilts are some of my current favorites. If I could afford either of them, I’d hoard all of their stuff.
How do you feel about reproductions?
Personally, I don’t own any reproduction furniture. I find that often times it’s actually a lot more expensive than buying authentic MCM pieces and I take pride in knowing that nothing in my house has cost more than $200 bucks (the credenza). Also, a couple years ago I made a New Year’s Resolution to not purchase any new material goods (with the exception of hygienic purposes and household supplies) and I have stuck to it. Of course it’s a lot easier for me since I’m in the business of resale, but it has saved me a lot of money and has given me piece of mind that I’m trying my best not to contribute to poor labor practices and landfill waste.
Furniture wise, what do you think you should invest in?
Everything in your kitchen. For me, the kitchen is the place of gathering and quality time with friends and family. I love preparing good meals with good quality cookware and then sharing it with my loved ones on my beautiful kitchen table.
What are your favorite places to shop for home decor?
Best finds? From where?
Gosh, this is a tough one because I’m one thrifty mofo. To me, my kitchen table is priceless. I picked it up in Stockton, CA for $125 and it’s a 1950’s formica dinette in original, pristine condition. Second would have to be my sofa. I bought two sofas from the same owner on CList for $350 and then sold one of them for $300, making it only $50 bucks
Greatest achievement in your home? Biggest challenge?
The biggest challenge is making your home exactly the way you want it. Having done this feature for the past couple years, I’ve found that people always say, “my house isn’t ready”, whether they’ve been there for six months or ten years. I’ve been in my home for two years and I’m constantly switching things around. I’ve gone through two dressers, three sofas, two kitchen tables, etc and I’m barely achieving the vision that lives in my head.
Well, this is kind of a sad question because I’m moving. I love my home so much, but I need to satisfy my need for exploration and adventure while I’m still able.
Home inspiration recommendations?
This feature on our blog has inspired me in so many ways. The people we’ve met are so creative and wonderful, that I’m constantly being inspired.
You don’t need to live in a 1959 time-capsule.
Through this feauture, I’ve been able to see so many houses that incorporate modern design, as well as highlight the owner’s personality and other interests. I know it doesn’t look like I follow my own advice, but if you knew me it would show that my 1950’s styled house actually does represent my style. :)