At the End of the Rainbow

Architecture: Johnsen Schmaling Architects; Developer: Indie Capital; Photography by Nicolette Lovell
Rainbow Home
Photo courtesy of Johnsen Schmaling Architects.

A young family finds joy in an artful new home.

After buying and renovating several old homes in the Sacramento region, Britt and Chris Weseley were ready for something new. That’s when they stumbled across Oak Park Creatives, a small infill development that was nearing the end of construction.

Designed by a Milwaukee architecture firm, the project featured six single-family houses arranged in two rows. The most distinctive part of the design: vertical, multicolored aluminum “fins” that adorn the second-story exterior of each house, causing neighbors to dub them “the rainbow houses.”

family room
Family time: Britt and Chris Wesely relax in the open-concept family room with their son, Shawn, and their West Highland terrier, Callie.

While the yards were still dirt and the houses not yet finished, the Weseleys could see that the bones of the project were good. Even better was the location, in Sacramento’s socially and economically diverse Oak Park neighborhood. “We’d always loved this area for its diversity and culture,” says Britt, 30, a freelance brand consultant.

In late 2017, they moved in with their son, Shawn, now 8. They love the home’s clean, modern lines and open design. The ground floor—home to an open-plan kitchen, family room and dining space—has high ceilings, easy-to-maintain concrete floors and large glass sliders that, when open, connect the indoors to a small, private yard. Upstairs are three bedrooms and two baths, a laundry room and plenty of storage.

kitchen table

The project’s developers—Sacramento-based Indie Capital—employed their trademark high-low philosophy when building the project. They outfitted the kitchens and baths with budget-minded Ikea products but splurged strategically on upgrades like high-quality faucets and windows. The second-floor rooms all have steel-framed floor-to-ceiling windows that provide light and air. “The air flows nicely through the space,” says Britt.

Sustainable design was built into the project. The front and back yards are filled with native and drought-tolerant plants and no-mow grasses. The house came complete with an electric car charger in the garage—perfect, since the Weselys own a Nissan Leaf.

bed

Indie Cap made a bold design statement with those multihued panels on the outside of the homes. The palette has a muted 1970s sensibility that was inspired by colors found in the surrounding neighborhood— its murals, its residential facades and the vintage cars at Kombi Haus, a local garage that specializes in VW restorations.

Britt says the rainbow design is a pleasure to come home to. As the sun sets in the evening, the light reflects off the red panel closest to the master bedroom window, filling the room with a soft, rosy glow. “We’re pretty minimal,” she explains. “So to have the house be the art is a treat.”

twin bed

For veteran home remodelers like the Weselys, a modern new house means freedom. “Instead of renovating,” says Britt, “there’s more time for the things that matter to us.”

organizer