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Shaken, not stirred: local couple adds eclectic style to Claremont home

Visitors to John and Karen Neiuber’s Indian Hill home may have trouble knowing where to look.

Built in 1908, the Craftsman-style home features furniture from the Arts and Crafts period that flourished locally between 1860 and 1910. It is also brimming with mementos from the couple’s travels to China and Mexico as well as original artwork and installations, much of which has been created by the Neiubers themselves. 

Both Mr. and Ms. Neiuber are retired educators. He still keeps busy, serving as president of Claremont Heritage and as CEO of Trinity Youth Services, an organization devoted to providing education and support for abused, neglected and at-risk children.

When he’s not working, he joins Ms. Neiuber—an artist specializing in mono-prints and mixed-media assemblages—in their backyard studio, which is decorated in a funky and crayon-bright, Mexican-inspired style. Mr. Neiuber, who repurposes items like old instruments and discarded globes into light fixtures, is an embodiment of the phrase, “One man’s trash is another man’s treasure.”

Their work has been displayed at a number of shows, including exhibits at the dA Center for the Arts in the Pomona Arts Colony and Loft 204 in the Packing House in Claremont’s Village West area. Most recently, the couple’s works were on display for the month of May at the local shop Heirloom. Some of their art is still available for purchase there.  

When the couple isn’t creating, they are collecting. Like many husbands, Mr. Neiuber has found his favorite collection relegated to the basement. It’s not really a case of ostracism; the entire bottom of the house has been transformed into a fantastic lounge space, complete with disco lights and a karaoke system and centered around Mr. Neiuber’s collection of dozens of cocktail shakers.

Mr. Neiuber has a few favorites, including a silver-plated 1930’s-style Napier cocktail shaker in the shape of a penguin. He has many other whimsical sets, including a bell-shaped shaker you can actually ring to signal the need for more alcoholic provisions.

Mr. Neiuber, who is fond of a good martini, and Ms. Neiuber, who can’t stand the taste, preside over many a party and fundraising event in the room, which is a wonderland of mid-century décor.

With so many similarities, including a shared passion for art and community involvement, the couple—who have one daughter and 2 grandchildren—are still enjoying their time together.

“We like the same things, and we go and do fun things together,” Mr. Niuber said.

Ms. Neiuber feels like kismet has played a hand in a life that brings her a lot of satisfaction. The couple moved to Claremont after spotting the Craftsman house, which they toured on a whim.

As soon as she saw the space, whose many windows flood it with a welcoming light, Ms. Neiuber said, “That’s my house.”

She had a similar epiphany when she met her husband at a Halloween costume party years ago. She was dressed as a ballerina. He was Gene Kelly.

“We figured it was just fate,” she said.

—Sarah Torribio

storribio@claremont-courier.com

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