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Sacramento home with stunning river views asks $3.2M. Is there a ‘cooler’ fireplace around?

A Sacramento-area residence called the Art House takes seamless indoor-outdoor living to a new level — with elements straight from nature displayed abundantly throughout the home and unobstructed views of the American River from every room.

The 3,000-square-foot riverfront home in Carmichael just hit the market for $3.19 million.

The property provides one of the best views of the American River from anywhere in the region as the iconic waterway wends around River Bend Park. Only a strip of private lawn and a narrow greenbelt separates the backyard from the river.

“Its proximity to the river provides a sense of serenity and a connection to nature that is hard to find in other properties,” listing agent Jasmine Gosney with Allison James Estates and Homes said. “Additionally, the sound of the flowing water can create a calming ambiance, making it a perfect retreat for those looking to unwind and relax.”

A strong connection to the outdoors can be felt throughout the two-story home with the use of hand-hewn beams, large river rocks, interior trees and wooden floor planks imported from Sweden.

One of the most fascinating highlights are the stars, spirals and river pebbles embedded in the concrete parts of the floor. The effect makes it appear as if the bank of the American River extends under the glass windows and doors of the patio and right up to a stone fire pit in the living room. The fire element is designed to resemble a bonfire down by the river’s edge.

The owner of the house, art aficionado Kathryn Kirkpatrick, said the large boulders surrounding the fire pit came from the North Fork of the Yuba River.

“They were rescue rocks,” she said. “A PG&E plant was going in (on the river) and a rock hound — this isn’t a guy with a little rock collection, he has a couple of acres of boulders that he adores — collected the water-worn boulders and that’s what I chose for my fire pit there in the center of the house.”

Smooth indentations on the boulders allow the rocks to serve as seats around the fire element.

“The whole idea was the river theme, and that was supposed to be like a bonfire at the river, surrounded by stones,” she added.

Sacramento artist Larry Meeks, whose ironwork is displayed throughout the home, designed, created and signed the huge textured metal ventilation hood over the fire pit — as well as the tall, slender, metal “reeds” that emit flames to “create warmth and movement,” according to the property description.

“He got that texture (for the hood) by heaving those big sheets into the driveway and driving over them with his truck,” Kirkpatrick said. “The rest of it is all hand-hammered, and it’s beautiful work.”

Meeks also created the iron railings for the stairs.

“He did fabulous work,” she said.

The indoor fire pit was designed to resemble a bonfire at the river’s edge.
The indoor fire pit was designed to resemble a bonfire at the river’s edge.

Ryan Lundquist, a Sacramento appraiser and housing market analyst, said if the property sells for the asking price, it will be the third-highest public residential sale ever in Carmichael.

It’s a pretty unique place, he added.

“This property has an eclectic and modern feel, and it’s going to be hard to find a cooler fireplace in all of Sacramento — especially one with a view of the river in the distance,” Lundquist said.

Kirkpatrick bought the home in 2007 for $1.6 million, according to public property records.

The house immediately underwent a major renovation. The expensive remodel included replacing the roof and wood studs, knocking out walls to open up space, adding radiant heat in the floors and putting in a beautiful spa — surrounded by additional rocks and lush plants — in the front courtyard area.

“I spent a million dollars on the remodel,” she said. “Everything had to be completely rebuilt.”

She bought the house right after her husband died. Her children were grown and she was alone in the house with its amazing river views.

“I made it just what I wanted,” she said. “It was the first time in 60 years that I made all those decisions, and it was a great kind of healing and distraction from having lost my husband. It kept me busy and I enjoyed the process of doing it.”

Two massive tree trunks, debarked and smoothly polished, bring more of the outdoors feeling inside. They stand next near the fire pit as impressive pieces of natural art. One of the tall trunks even functions as a major support beam.

“I chose that tree out of a pile of about 50 trees that had been harvested after they were already dead,” Kirkpatrick said. “It was from the Geronimo Pole Co. in North San Juan, California.”

Geronimo Pole sells and exports custom hand-crafted beams, rafters, rustic fencing, fireplace mantles and traditional, fine-crafted Japanese tokobashira poles, among other products.

“There’s a Japanese style of architecture that requires the kind of harvesting they do, and I chose mine because of the ‘cat’s eye.’ You could see where the bark broke open and amber formed in one area. I thought it was beautiful. And it met structural requirements. It’s an actual support of the house.”

The other tree is a companion, Kirkpatrick added.

“I thought, ‘Oh one big tree, maybe it would be lonely. I should have another one.’” she explained.

Listed as a three-bedroom, three-bathroom home, the residence is staged as two bedrooms plus a loft. The expansive loft, which could be used for a bedroom or an office, also has a sweeping view of the river.

In the primary bedroom, the owner can start each day with a stunning, panoramic view of the American River without ever getting out of bed — the electric curtains can be raised via a controller on the nightstand. The bedroom has a corner fireplace, too.

The resort-style primary bathroom has an expansive dressing area with large closets. The walk-in shower has a sliding glass door that leads outside and around a corner to an elegant hot tub surrounded by boulders and plants.

Custom wood stains are used throughout the house’s living spaces. Driftwood-type colors were chosen for the kitchen cabinets and various interior doors.

“I just tried to hold to my theme that this was a river house and so I asked that that stain look like driftwood,” Kirkpatrick said. “The (contractors) hadn’t ever heard of that before but they’re like ‘OK.’ And, oh, they had fun. It was creative.”

Concrete counters in the chef’s kitchen are the color of a purplish sunset, like one that you might see over the American River.

The riverfront home is 3,000 square feet.
The riverfront home is 3,000 square feet.

The property is tucked away in the quiet, gated community of Riverwood. Residents there can enjoy the use of a swimming pool and tennis courts. Kirkpatrick, who has moved to her other house in Pasadena to be near family, speaks highly of the residents in the neighborhood that lies in the bluffs above the American River.

“It’s a lovely community,” she said.

Kirkpatrick has done a lot of entertaining in her Carmichael home. The Crocker Art Museum’s Directors Circle held a dinner and the Pacific Crest Trail Association and UC Davis have put on fundraisers there.

The house is located at 2211 Riverbank Place in Carmichael, a community 12 miles east of Sacramento.

The $3 million price point for a home is still “outlier territory in Sacramento,” Lundquist said.

“It’s been a sub-market that has exploded in recent years as prices have risen and a larger appetite for luxury real estate has emerged,” he said. “Since 2020 there have been 99 MLS sales at $3 million or above in the region,” with 20% of those in Sacramento County, 24% in El Dorado County, 5% in Yolo County, and just above 50% of them in Placer County.

There are currently 38 active listings above $3 million in the four-county Sacramento region.

Asked if there was one feature of the house that she’ll miss the most, Kirkpatrick didn’t hesitate.

“For all the house, and all I spent, the view trumps everything,” she said. “You can spend a lifetime there. Every day is different, and the sky’s never the same.”

The Carmichael, California home sits above the American River at River Bend Park.
The Carmichael, California home sits above the American River at River Bend Park.