September 27, 2018
By Walnut Creek Magazine
What brings them here? New residents share their stories
about how Walnut Creek became home.
It wasn’t too long ago that Walnut Creek drew people primarily for its top-notch schools, pastoral hills and suburban homes with private pools and two-car garages. While this residential landscape retains its rich appeal, a new population has emerged—the city dwellers. These urbanites are inhabiting the apartments and condominiums cropping up all over town, lured by walkability to shopping and dining, plus the host of smart and stylish amenities many new residential communities offer.
THE GOLDEN YEARS
Curt and Jane Blomstrand are the definition of downsizing baby boomers—people who left large suburban residences for an urban lifestyle. Yet, the charming couple prefers to call their new way of life something else. “Reinvention is a better word,” says Curt, a retired home builder and father of three who lived with his wife Jane for over 40 years in a large Lafayette rancher before moving into their Cole Avenue condo. “I was tired of the honey-do list. Every weekend, there were chores and the little burdens of having a well-maintained home. I knew it would be an adjustment, especially for Jane who loves to garden, but our lives are so much fun now!”
After reading The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying up, Jane was inspired to de-clutter her Burton Valley home and keep only items that were useful and meaningful. She also held on to a few family treasures and artwork curated from years of travel. “Going through decades’ worth of things was so freeing.” Curt and Jane gave the rest away then used an estate company to clear out the remainder. “We didn’t want to bring very much with us.”
The Blomstrand’s efficiently designed, 2000-square-foot condo is simply stunning. Part of a 12-unit building constructed by Lenox Homes, the couple purchased the two-bedroom-plus-den residence last year for a cool $1.2 million. Panoramic views of Mt. Diablo provide the backdrop for a dazzling downtown city-scape, endlessly enjoyed from the outdoor patio and floor to ceiling windows. Attention to detail is evident throughout the spacious interior in everything from the concealed European hinges to the Bosch appliances. It’s not just the opulent materials but also the functionality of the space that impresses. “The layout of the rooms is just so practical,” says Jane.
While the chic condo is within easy walking distance to BART, food, and entertainment, a state-of-the-art car lift system provides residents with ample parking. “Every morning I walk to Starbucks, stroll through Broadway Plaza before the shops open and make a big 7-mile circle back home,” says Curt.
Friends and family love to visit. For the Blomstrand’s four grandkids, their downtown home feels like Disneyland. “We take them to the movies, dinner at the Cheesecake factory then hit S.F. Creamery on the way home. Our granddaughter Olivia laid back on the couch overlooking the city lights the other night and said, ‘I love this place, it’s so relaxing.’”
*The Lenox team is taking the concept one block over to Trinity Avenue and building a similar condominium community.