Designer Rebecca Plumb had an interesting challenge when it came to the renovation of this 1,300-square-foot home in East Sacramento. It seems simple enough on the surface: the house was built in 1949, has three bedrooms, 1.5 baths, and boasted original hardwood floors. The clients wanted to retain the charm but update it for their modern lifestyle. The twist? It’s a cherished piece of their family story, having belonged to the wife’s grandmother and where her own mother grew up. “It holds generations of cherished memories,” Rebecca tells us. The couple entrusted her design firm, Studio Plumb, to update the kitchen, dining room, powder room, and main bathroom. 

The kitchen and main bathroom were updated at some point in the 1990s so there wasn’t much there that was very meaningful,” the designer says. “The couple was really open to maximizing functionality within the existing footprint while infusing their own aesthetic. They embraced some of my bolder suggestions, resulting in spaces filled with character and interest.”

The kitchen was previously split in half, with an awkward toilet room in the back. “We relocated the laundry to a closet in the third bedroom and also added a full powder bath,” Rebecca explains. “This allowed us to remove the dividing wall, creating a long, efficient galley kitchen.” They widened the opening, arching the corners to frame the cream Aga induction range. The sink had been in a corner at an inconvenient 45º angle, so they relocated it to the center of the room. “To maintain a bright and uncluttered feel, we minimized overhead cabinets, opting for mostly drawers. Appliances, including the refrigerator and dishwasher drawers, were integrated to blend seamlessly with the rest of the cabinetry. Near the back door, we reduced the cabinet depth and used a cream finish to carve out utility storage,” she shares. “My standout feature? The pea-green Fireclay floor tiles in a star and cross pattern, complementing the walnut cabinetry and making room for simple bright-white backsplash tiles and walls.”

The centrally located dining room features a row of arched bookshelves, inspired by an image the clients had found. “It’s one of the first things you see when you walk in the front door, so we wanted this room to be dramatic and moody,” Rebecca explains. “We painted the walls, cabinets and trim a deep wine color [Sherwin Williams Deep Maroon], and the ceiling a warm blush. My favorite thing is how the colors intersect with the kitchen finishes.”

The main bathroom is petite, with a layout typical to this style of home. “Behind the door was a dark, tiny, enclosed tile shower with a shallow tub next to it across from a narrow vanity and toilet,” the designer recalls. “There wasn’t much we could change with the layout and the client really wanted to keep a separate shower and tub for soaking. The solution was to use every inch we had to keep the space functional and airy. We removed barriers with a curbless shower installed the deepest tub we could find to fit the space and got creative with storage.” The shower now features a niche for product as well as a toe niche for shaving, and the tub has one long recess for bathing necessities or a glass of wine to enjoy while soaking. For additional storage, they carved out a recessed wall cabinet by borrowing a little bit of space from the neighboring bedroom. “My favorite element is the custom floating vanity,” Rebecca tells us. “We used reeded detail on the face of the drawers and painted it all a citron yellow to energize the neutral tiles.”

The final space Studio Plumb enhanced was the small powder room, created in a third bedroom that the client will use as an office space. “Since this room is separate from the others, we decided to add some drama by incorporating color and pattern,” she says. “The orange sink served as the starting point for the design, and it holds its own against the chocolate and black geometric wallpaper. We added a white faucet to keep the room feeling fresh, and the floor tile is a smaller star and cross pattern that mimics the kitchen’s design.”

From first look to final walk through, the renovation took roughly a year to complete. “They loved the transformation, especially when remembering how it started and commented frequently that they would have struggled with all the decisions if they hadn’t had a designer to guide them,” Rebecca says. Now, the home is ready for its next chapter while honoring its past.