As a remodeler in Davis, it is with great respect and careful consideration that we approach any project in an iconic Streng brothers home. In partnership with architect Carter Sparks, the builders Bill and Jim Streng brought affordable, thoughtfully designed homes to the Central Valley.
In 1959, when the Strengs began their three decades of home building, Davis was a burgeoning intellectual community ready to move on from its beginnings as a rural outpost. In 1952, the College of Agriculture at Davis officially separated from the Berkeley campus. Student enrollment at UC Davis reached an all-time high of 2,166 students in 1956, with plans to reach over 5,000!
The Sparks-designed, Streng-built homes were based in the modernist tradition, characterized by clean roof lines, open floor plans and lots of glass. These homes were also designed specifically with the Central Valley climate in mind. The architectural glass and concrete slab construction allowed for passive solar heating, while the open floor plans and atriums took advantage of the cooling Delta Breeze.
For all of these reasons, the Streng homes occupy a special place in the history of our community. As lifestyles change and time takes it toll on the original construction, alterations are needed to breathe new life into the homes. Maintaining and adapting homes to meet our changing needs is a revitalizing process. The preservation of these mid-century modern structures is truly a passion for some. Given the careful considerations that went into the original design, any renovation also requires thoughtful decision-making.
In a future post, we will explore the unique challenges opportunities for updating the Streng homes in our areas. Advances in technology, practice, and building science can remedy many of the aged features, and a healthy respect for the homes can highlight the simplicity and beauty of the period styling. For now, we tip our hats to Mr. Carter and the brothers Streng for bringing their iconic vision to our neighborhoods.