Karen Varholick, AIA

Project Manager II
“I enjoy getting to know people and their backgrounds. I’m interested in designing spaces that help people tell their unique stories and create moments that inspire them in their daily lives.”


Karen was born in the Bay Area but grew up in Taiwan, where her family traveled throughout Asia. She fell in love with all things Japanese, from its art, graphic novels, language, and ceramics, to its traditional architecture. As a senior in high school, Karen was instantly captivated by how ideas on paper transform into physical objects and space that people can inhabit. It was there she found her passion for the profession through drawing and building architectural models.

Karen is interested in designing spaces that help people tell their unique stories while creating moments that inspire their daily lives. She loves using natural materials and incorporating daylight in her designs.

Before joining Abramson Architects, Karen worked on Hospitality and Single-Family Residence projects at her previous design firms. The most notable project is the Nobu Hotel in Palo Alto which Karen led from Schematic Design to Project Closeout. She is also passionate about giving back to her community and looks forward to participating in Abramson Architects’ Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Committee.



  • Bachelor of Architecture – Cal Poly San Luis Obispo


  • Architecture for Humanity, Build-Day Organizer, 2019


Karen is an avid baker and owns over 50 cookbooks about all things related to baking and pastry; she finds the process very relaxing and rewarding, especially when the baked goods are shared with friends, family, and coworkers. She also enjoys swimming and running; she was part of a swim team and swam in the Charles River while she lived in Boston and participated in the San Francisco half-marathon multiple times.