Tower Records founder Russ Solomon was an avid art collector, amassing works that adorned the broad walls and plush gardens of his Sierra Oaks Vista home, making the sprawling estate as much an art gallery as a domicile.
That house - and possibly some of that art - went on sale Friday.
Solomon’s widow, Patti, is putting the couple’s 4,000-square foot home up for sale at $2.45 million. Much of Solomon’s stunning art collection is still on display in the house, and Patti Solomon says she may be willing to sell a few pieces to the person who buys the house.
Solomon, perhaps Sacramento’s most flamboyant and internationally successful businessman of the past half-century, launched a record-selling business as a teen in his dad’s drugstore next to Tower Theatre on Broadway and expanded it overseas until internet sales and music piracy doomed brick and mortar stores.
Solomon died last year in his home, at age 92, sipping a whiskey and watching the Academy Awards. His widow says the house is too big for her, and it’s lost the thing that made it special to her.
“It’s a very emotional decision. It’s a one-of-a-kind of house, like Russ was a one-of-a-kind man,” Patti Solomon said. “But it’s too big for me, the size of the house, and it’s missing the main component of the house, which is Russ.”
The house on Sierra Boulevard in a secluded part of Arden-Arcade was built in 1990, a collaboration between Solomon and one of his Tower Records architects. It sits on a slight rise, has vaulted ceilings, glass walls, clerestory windows and arboreal views. There is a separate guest house.
The estate includes a main pool, a lap pool, three reflecting pools adorned with sculptures and two Japanese-inspired soaking tubs, one outside, one inside. A meandering path navigates manicured lawns, passing garden sculptures and art pieces.
The home design was controversial in its time, said Jay Feagles, co-owner of Dunnigan Real Estate. Feagles is the Realtor who is handling the sale. The modern look was new for the old-school suburban neighborhood, drawing protests from some neighbors.
Now, Feagles said, it has settled in nicely in the neighborhood, and even set a standard for other contemporary-style homes in the area. Tim Collom, a Realtor and artist, calls the property a piece of Sacramento history.
Visits will be conducted by appointment only, Feagles said.
Patti Solomon has taken some of the art out of the house, but much of it remains. She will keep most of it, and sell some at auction later this year.
But, she said, “I would entertain (selling some pieces) if somebody is really interested in a piece I haven’t chosen.”
The art is eclectic, she said. Her husband bought whatever he liked. “He liked photo realism. He said, ‘If you like it and you can live with it, you buy it. He was very supportive of the Northern California art scene. That was very important to him.”