Name: Karen Nepacena & John Shum
Location: Walnut Creek, California
Size: 1,663 square feet
Years lived in: Owned 4 years
Karen and John knew they wanted to raise their family in not just any mid-century modern home, but one specifically designed by the renowned real estate developer Joseph Eichler. “We fell in love with Eichler homes and mid-century modern design after seeing a nearby open house for a thoughtfully restored and renovated Eichler,” Karen says. “We decided we wanted to live in an inspiring home like that one, as a place to raise our boys and entertain friends and family.” When they toured this home and saw it’s potential and the dreamy outdoor atrium, they knew it would be a perfect fit.
Shortly after buying the home, Karen and John began showcasing their renovation work on their blog Destination Eichler. The blog gained attention from mid-century lovers, and has since turned into a full-service interior design company. Luckily, in Karen and John’s Walnut Creek neighborhood, there is no shortage of mid-century Eichler homes (there are around 350 in the neighborhood alone), so the couple helps owners uncover the true beauty of each house.
We first caught a glimpse of Karen and John’s home on The Kitchn, and it’s evident that the couple has done a tremendous job highlighting the home’s original features in beautiful vignettes. Not only that, but the couple fills the home with art, furniture and accents that are modern, bright, and colorful — a true complement to the space. “We love the special details that make Eichler homes unique,” Karen says. “We try to balance mid-century modern home restoration with blending in our own style.”
Apartment Therapy Survey:
Our Style: Eclectic Mid-Century Modern
Inspiration: The arts — photography, dance, design and music. Growing up, we were both very involved with the arts: John with classical music and Karen was a professional ballet dancer. In terms of design inspiration, we love the work of Charles and Ray Eames; for architecture, A. Quincy Jones (who designed our home model) and Richard Neutra.
Favorite Element: Our outdoor atrium
Biggest Challenge: Renovating an old house with two young kids, on a budget
What Friends Say: “So what project are you working on now?”
Biggest Embarrassment: Any room that we haven’t yet gotten to renovate yet becomes a junk and storage room.
Proudest DIY: The concrete counters we made for the kitchen and the front landscaping project.
Biggest Indulgence: Fireclay tile backsplash and the vintage Eames lounge chair and ottoman.
Best Advice: Live in your house for awhile before embarking on a big renovation. You get to know what things frustrate you the most on a daily basis.
Dream Sources: Any big antique market, such as the Alameda Point Antiques Faire. Sometimes the best finds are at a local estate sale!