Quantcast

before and after

Before & After: Stepping Back in Time in California

by Garrett Fleming

DIY’ers Karen Nepacena and John Shum knew they wanted to raise their growing family in a modern home. When it came time to move, prefabricated options seemed to be the best bet. They figured it would let them get exactly what they wanted from their new space. “We first began to research pre-fab modern homes, but finding available land to purchase for a pre-fab or custom-build home was proving to be difficult (and costly),” Karen explains. Luckily, the couple stumbled upon a mid-century goldmine practically in their backyard — they had no idea that a handful of housing possibilities were tucked away, close to their home at the time.

The 1,660-square-foot home Karen and John ended up purchasing in the Walnut Creek, CA neighborhood had unfortunately seen its fair share of renovations. So many, in fact, that the home’s original look (Joseph Eichler in 1959 and is located in one of the Eichler tracts in Walnut Creek, CA) was nearly unrecognizable. Determined to take the space back to its glory days, the couple bravely tackled a full-home renovation. Throughout the process, they were careful when striking the balance between modern and stark. I couldn’t agree more with Karen when she told us, “Modern [homes] can sometimes be perceived as cold and uninviting.” After taking a look inside, however, I think you’ll agree that the colors she and John have used help to make this home a warm and comfortable spot for their growing family. Follow the jump to see the full renovation. Enjoy! —Garrett

Photography by Karen Nepacena

Before & After: Stepping Back in Time in California, Design*Sponge
1/15
The couple reinstated wood paneling, similar to the home's original design, into the dining room.
Before & After: Stepping Back in Time in California, Design*Sponge
2/15
"When we first purchased the house, the large sliding door to the atrium had been closed up and replaced with a small window. By putting a sliding door back in, we now have direct access to the atrium, which is great for entertaining." The chairs and lighting are from Y Living, and the rest of the decor was picked up on Craigslist and at estate sales.
Before & After: Stepping Back in Time in California, Design*Sponge
3/15
The sleek kitchen cabinetry is from IKEA, but its doors are from Semihandmade. The shell stools from Modernica fit perfectly with the mid-century feel. Lighting by Y Lighting.
Before & After: Stepping Back in Time in California, Design*Sponge
4/15
The kitchen renovation took seven months. "We have an open floor plan now, so the design decisions in the kitchen needed to be cohesive with the rest of the shared spaces. I love cooking and we enjoy entertaining as a family, so now the kitchen is truly the heart of our home and offers a natural flow between indoor and outdoor spaces."
Before & After: Stepping Back in Time in California, Design*Sponge
5/15
The kitchen's new backsplash is by Fireclay Tile.
Before & After: Stepping Back in Time in California, Design*Sponge
6/15
"Initially, I was not too keen on the idea of building our own concrete counters, but John believed it would be a project we could learn from and tackle. After a lot of trial and error, we eventually got the hang of it! By tackling the concrete counters and island ourselves, we could achieve a modern look, using a very cost-friendly material." Plus, the concrete is easy to clean – a must with two young boys at home. The sink is by Miseno and is accompanied by a Grohe faucet. The flooring is Armstrong Vinyl Composite Tile.
Before & After: Stepping Back in Time in California, Design*Sponge
7/15
A before & after shot of the bedroom.
Before & After: Stepping Back in Time in California, Design*Sponge
8/15
Design decisions were a team effort. "We would bounce design ideas off of one another, and when we did not initially agree, usually a bit more consideration, time and research would help one of us sway towards the other person’s design idea," Karen says.
Before & After: Stepping Back in Time in California, Design*Sponge
9/15
"We hadn’t planned on tackling the exterior for several years, but as we started a rolling renovation from room to room, we felt the urge to keep going on to exterior parts of the house."
Before & After: Stepping Back in Time in California, Design*Sponge
10/15
"Fortunately, most of the original wood siding was still intact, so after tearing all the vinyl off, we had the house repainted to make it look more like it would have in the 1950s." The home's exterior is a Kelly-Moore custom blend, and the door is painted in Ace Hardware "Citron."
Before & After: Stepping Back in Time in California, Design*Sponge
11/15
The atrium before & after John and Karen renovated it.
Before & After: Stepping Back in Time in California, Design*Sponge
12/15
Behind the citron door is the home's entrance and atrium. It's decorated with various Craigslist and estate sale finds. "The house is not very large (1,660 square feet), so we have aimed to make the best use of every inch of space; having spans of glass walls also helps make the space feel more expansive. I’m always on the hunt for vintage, mid-century modern pieces that would have originally been used in a home like ours."
Before & After: Stepping Back in Time in California, Design*Sponge
13/15
The family lived in the home during its renovation, and relied on the generosity of friends and family to help them out when they needed anything.
Before & After: Stepping Back in Time in California, Design*Sponge
14/15
A before & after shot of the backyard.
Before & After: Stepping Back in Time in California, Design*Sponge
15/15
The backyard is still in need of some landscape love, but until that happens, the family couldn't be happier with their new sliding doors. The beams were brought back to life by Benjamin Moore "Swiss Coffee."

Suggested For You

Comments

  • This home looks like an Eichler but there’s no mention of that detail? I used to live in an Eichler neighborhood and it’s so great that people stay true to the home’s bones and decorate in Mid Century!

    • Jannie

      I’ll double check with the home owner, but I have a feeling that it may be Eichler-inspired but not an authentic Eichler. People usually tell us those details (and we ask for them).

      Grace

      • Hello Grace & Jannie,
        Yes, we are very proud (and thrilled) to live in a true Eichler home. Our home was built by Joseph Eichler in 1959 and is located in one of the Eichler tracts in Walnut Creek, CA.

        Thank you Jannie for your kind words on our efforts to bring back our home’s roots.

        Best,
        Karen

Leave a Reply

Design*Sponge reserves the right to restrict comments that do not contribute constructively to the conversation at hand, contain profanity, personal attacks, hate speech or seek to promote a personal or unrelated business. Our goal is to create a safe space where everyone (commenters, subjects of posts and moderators) feels comfortable to speak. Please treat others the way you would like to be treated and be willing to take responsibility for the impact your words may have on others. Disagreement, differences of opinion and heated discussion are welcome, but comments that do not seek to have a mature and constructive dialogue will not be published. We moderate all comments with great care and do not delete any lightly. Please note that our team (writers, moderators and guests) deserve the same right to speak and respond as you do, and your comments may be responded to or disagreed with. These guidelines help us maintain a safe space and work toward our goal of connecting with and learning from each other.