AAUW tour: Remodel gives tract home a tranquil presence – Record

AAUW Home Tour

Going from typical tract to tranquil can be a bit chaotic.

Gregg and Barbara Nakao started down the path to peacefulness with their 1,500-square-foot Redding home 12 years ago and encountered plenty of upheaval along the way as they redid the kitchen, living room, bathrooms and bedrooms; added a koi pond; and built a tea house-inspired studio.

“We’ve changed just about everything,” Barbara said.

  • The bathrooms have a sleek, modern look.

  • Gregg and Barbara Nakao have lived in their Redding home 26 years. They changed its look and gave it a calming character during a remodel that stretched 12 years.

  • The backyard studio, where the Nakaos make glass-bead jewelry, is inspired by Japanese tea houses.

  • The koi pond is home to 30 fish and is surrounded by elephant ears, irises, lotus and other plants.

  • One wall of the master bedroom is made up of hidden storage compartments.

  • Gregg and Barbara Nakao's Redding home has a calming, contemporary feel.
  • See this entire gallery at full size

The result? A contemporary home with minimalist décor and calming Asian influences. The Nakao home, part of next Saturday’s Home Tour Art Show presented by the Redding branch of the American Association of University Women, showcases how remodeling can transform the look, feel and function of a house.

“We are extremely happy with it,” Gregg said.

Gregg is a speech and language specialist for Enterprise School District. Barbara is a retired aide with the Shasta County Office of Education. They have lived in their home 26 years and are its original owners.

Their remodeling adventure began with a desire to make the house brighter, more open and contemporary. Change came slowly. They focused on one project each year, so as not to tear up the house all at once and to better stretch their finances.

Light maple laminate flooring replaced carpeting in much of the house. To bring in more natural light and make the most of outdoor views, small windows in the living room and master bedroom were replaced with oversized windows.

The kitchen got a major makeover. Hanging cabinets over a peninsula were removed to open the kitchen to the dining area and living room. Cabinetry was redone in light maple laminate to match the flooring. Counters were updated with granite tile. Stainless steel backsplashes and appliances were added.

With their children grown, one of the home’s smaller bedrooms became a guest room; the other was turned into an office. The two bathrooms got recessed lighting, sleek low-water-use toilets, tiles that go from floor to ceiling and new vanities.

On trips to Australia to visit their daughter, the Nakaos noticed how Australians make the most of living space. They put Aussie strategies to play in their house. For example, a wall in the master suite looks decorative but is actually multiple recessed storage cabinets.

Furnishings in the Nakao home have simple, clean lines and feature solid colors — lots of charcoal and brown tones. Barbara described the look as “contemporary, minimalist.”

Warmth comes from personal touches, such as a stained-glass window made by a friend, Barbara’s watercolor paintings and a large six-panel screen of cranes that was a gift from Gregg’s parents.

Gregg is third-generation Japanese and the home reflects that heritage. “We both like the Asian influences,” Barbara said.

What looks like a Japanese tea house in the backyard is an art studio where Gregg makes glass beads and Barbara turns the beads into jewelry for their enterprise, Meiji Designs.

Another focal point in the yard is the koi pond with rock waterfall. Gregg joined the Shasta Koi Water Garden Club to tap into local expertise before having it built. The pond was dug deep to keep predators from nabbing the 30 large, colorful koi.

A Buddha statue, Japanese maples, black pine bonsai trees and bamboo are part of the Asian theme. The bamboo was planted in bins but still needs to be watched carefully to prevent shoots from popping up where they aren’t wanted. The maples and pines are regularly trimmed to maintain shape and size.

“The natural, Asian look requires more planning than a regular yard It’s very labor intensive. There’s a lot of pruning and manicuring to get that particular look,” Gregg said.

While the makeover has taken many years, the Nakaos are pleased with the outcome.

“Everyone says it is a peaceful place — which I agree,” Barbara said.

“It exudes a nice, tranquil feeling,” Gregg said.

Their advice to those thinking of a major remodel? Take the time to think about and research what you want, Gregg said. “Don’t rush.”

“Do one room at a time,” Barbara said.


– What: Home Tour Art Show, presented by Redding branch of American Association of University Women

– When: 10 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. Nov. 5

– Featuring: Gregg and Barbara Nakao’s contemporary home, Gary and Lynn McCall’s straw-bale home, McConnell Foundation’s Guest House and a newly completed Highland Park home by Palomar Builders. Event includes an art show of works by AAUW members, refreshments and a sweepstakes drawing.

– Tickets: $20. Available at Enjoy the Store, Holiday Quality Foods (Placer Street), Jose Antonio’s, Marshall’s Florist Fine Gifts, Parmer’s Furniture Design, That Kitchen Place and Wild Thyme Gifts Garden, all in Redding; and Palo Cedro Gift Gallery.

Article source: http://www.redding.com/news/2011/oct/28/AAUW_tour/

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