The Schuller Home: Orchestrating a Balanced Life
Intentional. This term seems to get used a lot these days, and there is a good reason why. As life becomes increasingly busy and as families get pulled in different directions, living each day with intention and purpose is important for a balanced home.
The Schuller family is living proof of this. From the function and use of each room in their home to their childrens’ education, Nick and Delilah Schuller make sure their family lives life with purpose, while also having plenty of fun along the way.
As the Assistant District Attorney in Kings County, you can image the busy and at times stressful life Nick leads, but that has never stopped him from tapping into his more creative and athletic side. Nick is also a talented artist, classical guitarist, triathlon competitor, and not to mention, fantastic husband to his wife and father to his three daughters.
“For me, it all kind of goes together,” said Nick. “With work and family life, of course there has to be a balance, but as long as you stay physically and mentally active with work in the academic world and then with the creative world, there will be balance. If you become too focused on one thing, that is when things can maybe fall apart.”
Originally from Fresno, Nick and Delilah met in a political science class at Fresno State, but after Nick was accepted to the San Francisco Conservatory of Music, they both transferred to schools in the Bay area. While Nick studied classical guitar at the conservatory, Delilah majored in Spanish at UC Berkley, and together they immersed themselves in the art and culture of San Francisco. So how did someone so involved in the arts become an assistant district attorney?
“Even while I was in music school,” said Nick, “I knew that I wanted to do something different, so law was kind of always on the horizon. Just like some people have the opportunity to play sports in college, I had the opportunity to play music, and I’m so glad I did.”
Though they loved their time in San Francisco, both Delilah and Nick always considered the Central Valley their home, so once they were married, moving back to Fresno felt natural.
“As fun as it was to live in San Francisco, the reality of it wasn’t very practical,” said Delilah. “We were wondering if we should move back home, and we were both considering law school. We decided to move back and apply to San Joaquin College of Law. We were the only married couple in law school.”
Once Nick and Delilah graduated from law school and took the bar, they were both hired at the DA’s office in Tulare County, which brought them to Visalia in 1999. It didn’t take long for them to fall in love with the “small town feel” of Visalia, and they have been here ever since.
“After growing up in Fresno, I think what we like about Visalia is that it has a feeling of what Fresno used to be like years ago,” said Delilah. “Fresno is so big now, but it used to have this same small, intimate, and kind of nostalgic feeling.”
Nick and Delilah have also grown to love Visalia through the communities and organizations they are a part of. For Delilah, the homeschooling group she is involved in, Classical Conversations, has been a major part of her and her daughters’ lives. Though Delilah still maintains her bar license, right now she is committed to raising her girls and spending as much time with them as she can.
“It truly is amazing how quickly they grow,” said Delilah. “My twins are 12 now, and if you calculate how many years I have left with them, it’s like, that’s it? That’s all I have left? You have to savor it.”
This is just one of the many reasons why Nick and Delilah chose homeschooling for their daughters. In the beginning, it was a tough decision that required a lot of prayer, but once Delilah started teaching, there was no going back. Delilah has even become the area representative for the Central Valley Classical Conversations communities.
Though at times it can be challenging, Delilah wouldn’t have it any other way. They even have a special room in their home set up as the girls’ classroom, complete with desks, white boards, and plenty of school supplies.
“You really only have a short window of opportunity to help mold them,” said Delilah. “No one is going to love them or care about them spiritually or academically more than us, and it would be hard to entrust that responsibility to anyone else. It is a big commitment, but that is OK. It is 100 percent worth it and we have not regretted it for a second.”
The girls also take after their father musically, as they each play a classical instrument, either the violin or cello, and perform with the Tulare County Youth Orchestra. To bring the family even closer together while the girls practice, Nick and Delilah converted their formal dining room in the center of their home into a functional music room, filled with artistic inspiration.
“For us, we never understood a formal dining room that isn’t used, so that is why we turned it into a music room,” said Nick. “It is just a great spot, it is in the center of the house, and it gets used all the time.”
The colorful music space overlooks the home’s grand room, where family and friends spend a lot of time. As the true centerpiece of the home, the grand room divides the house in two, with the kitchen and family room on one side and the master bedroom on the other. Nick and Delilah say their home, though only 10 years old, is reminiscent of a classic San Francisco flat with a natural flow for entertaining. Every room, piece of furniture, and design element seems to serve some sort of purpose, whether it is functionality or “decorative drama.”
Perhaps the main contribution to that drama comes from the art pieces tastefully scattered throughout the home. While the Schullers display contemporary artwork from some of their close friends, three of the most vibrant pieces were created by Nick himself. His artwork was inspired by abstract expressionism, which he was introduced to in his late teens.
“Growing up in the Central Valley, I became friends with one of the largest art collectors on the west coast,” said Nick. “It was great to see a successful businessman obsessed with art, and I became fascinated with abstract expressionism… mixing that art style with our decor and weaving in family antiques and heirlooms became a natural narrative décor for me and Delilah.”
One of those prized heirlooms is a unique 1940s settee that greets guests as they enter the grand room. The settee, which Delilah had reupholstered with cheetah print, was handed down from Nick’s stepmother, Jane Schuller. Jane also passed down an extensive collection of 1930s J.A. Bauer Pottery, now on display in Nick and Delilah’s kitchen.
“My step-mother’s style influenced us to carry on a similar style of decoration,” said Nick. “We have been fortunate to restore many pieces of furniture from the 1940s and have a large collection of Bauer Pottery handed down from Jane.”
While Nick and Delilah enjoyed many of the homebuilder’s original selections, they decided to make a few updates of their own to give the home a warm, old-world inspired look. They added hand-grooved wooden floors that tied in well with the kitchen cabinets, and
then framed the mirrors in the bathrooms with a custom wooden accent. They also installed dramatic bronze curtains in the grand room that complement the antique pieces throughout the home.
Not only is the home aesthetically pleasant for the Schullers, but it also lends itself to be a comfortable and functional space for family and friends. The grand room and kitchen overlook a “Kennedy-esque” lawn and pool, where the family spends ample time during the spring and summer. “What we love most about the home is the ease with which it avails itself to family life,” said Delilah.
While the inside of the Schuller home has an old- world flair, the exterior transports guests to Cape Cod in New England. When the Schullers first saw the home nearly 10 years ago, they thought the beige colored exterior, steep roof, lush lawn, and set of dormer windows achieved a traditional, East Coast design.
“What I first liked about the home was, even though it was a new house, it felt like it had been existing for a long time,” said Nick. “It felt like an older home, in a good way, from the inside-out. It was not too modern.”
Though the Schuller home has a variety of diverse genres of style and design, everything flows flawlessly from one end of the house to the other, creating an ideal comfortable space for their busy, family-oriented lifestyle.
“When you come into this house, for me, it feels almost like we are in our own little world here,” said Nick. “When I come home after a day at a job like mine, it is like a sanctuary. This is where I’m with my family, my wife, and my kids. It’s almost like a security blanket.”