There’s the historic house that sits elegantly at the corner of 22nd and T. And then there’s the history behind the house.
Both can be yours for $1.75 million.
The midtown Sacramento home has attracted a lot of attention since being listed. Formerly the residence of celebrated author Joan Didion, the remodeled house, 2000 22nd St., blends a whole lot of history with modern style and convenience.
Didion, a Sacramento native, once referred to the house as a “wedding cake,” according to historian Julia Armstrong-Totten. Didion’s aunt, Mary Didion Armstrong, who later lived in the house for 30 years, often commented on how it continuously attracted the public’s attention.
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It still does. Two open houses, the most recent on Sept. 2, had a steady stream of lookers.
Armstrong-Totten said in an article about the house that it is one of the most interesting to survive the Colonial Revival period that thrived in California roughly from 1895 until 1910. A prominent architectural firm, Seadler & Hoen, designed the house. It is believed to have been built in 1911.
With four bedrooms and four baths, nearly 5,000 square feet of living space — and an additional 1,900 square-foot finished basement — the property on .22 acres is just a few minutes from the state Capitol, Golden 1 Center and downtown businesses.
Jim Walker of Cook Realty is the listing agent for the house.
The home features a gourmet kitchen, fireplace and refurbished wood floors, including a heated floor in the master bedroom. It sits atop Poverty Ridge, one of the city’s most exclusive historic neighborhoods and its highest elevation, according to the listing.
When asked, Walker found it hard to contain what he likes about the property to a just a few highlights.
“The curb presentation, to start with,” Walker said in an e-mail. “(It’s a) very substantial building that commands the corner, with an almost Frank Lloyd Wright, plain-style look, yet with some Victorian touches.”
Then there’s the interior woodwork throughout the entire house, including “fabulous Arts and Crafts staircase, door and window moldings, baseboards, bookcases, wainscoting, floors and more,” Walker said.
He also likes “the care and respect” both the current and previous owners have shown for the home over 107 years.
“The upgrades and remodeling are ultra-high quality,” Walker said. “The current owners have remodeled the kitchen, for instance, in a style that serious preservationists always admire. It’s modernized while it incorporates design motifs from the original home.”
For instance, he said, the historic kitchen functions like the modern kitchen it is now.
All of the upgrades to the home are “flawless aesthetics wedded to modern function,” Walker added.
He said potential buyers are coming from a variety of backgrounds — professionals, retired couples, history buffs have all expressed interest — to see the home.
“People are attracted to the unmatched combination of quality, size, style, condition and location... The historic provenance is an attractive enhancement that, interesting as it is, probably wouldn’t be enough to sell the home, by itself, but still adds value,” Walker said.
All taken together, “it makes an unbeatable combination.”
Walker said the most-likely-buyer demographic would be a relatively affluent professional couple between the ages of approximately 40 and 65 who love the downtown social-cultural-culinary world and who have an affinity for historic homes.
“Obviously the eventual buyer could be someone who doesn’t fit that demographic,” he added.
Didion, who grew up around the corner on U Street, lived at the “wedding cake” house for her last two years at McClatchy High School, before leaving for college.