real estate agent

Working for the sale: behind the scenes of 400 17th St.

It was such an honor to be a part of the sale of 400 17th St., a gorgeous 60's home filled to the brim with love, fabulous things, and good times.

When I started working with the Fishers, who were selling their mother's home, we had our work cut out for us. This quality-built home was innately beautiful, and very well maintained—with classic lines that make any mid-century lover swoon—but, it had just undergone a highly trafficked estate sale, and it needed a vision, and what I like to call a good "spit shine."

When I took this project on, I knew we had an opportunity—to maximize a sale for a family.

Goal: to create a vision—to help people see how this vintage time capsule home is insanely cool, near move-in-ready, just waiting for modern day entertaining and general lifestyle amazingness. 

I was on-scene almost every day for over a month, helping this busy family manage the preparation. Here's a behind the scenes look at what we did.

First off, the pool needed some help, as it hadn't had a cover on it for about a year. And the fence was looking tired. Since the pool area was visible from nearly every room in the house, this was an immediate focus of our efforts. 

Pool cleaners arrived on-scene multiple times. The fence and pool area were pressure washed. We repaired a few areas of the fence, and replaced top caps. Then, I had a crew of college kids come and give it a fresh, clean coat of paint. 

Meanwhile, inside the home, we focused on repainting a few key rooms that looked dingy: the master bedroom, a main floor bath, and the kitchen ceiling. 

I also had an electrician replace a light fixture/fan combo that didn't honor the era of the home as well as some of the iconic globe fixtures, of which we had extra in the basement. As someone who has produced and managed photoshoots for national brands, I'm trained to always ask myself, "What will photograph the best?"

Landscaping was also key. We did some trimming and pruning, but the area that I knew would make the most visual impact was the front of the home, where these huge and amazing built-in stone beds sat empty. We needed to get this area to "pop," as it's right by the front door. First impressions are everything.

Do I need my own HGTV show or what?

Do I need my own HGTV show or what?

On the landscaping front, the look I was going for was very Southern California. This gorgeous mid-century had a very Joseph Eichler vibe, so we needed to honor that. Palm Springs was on my mind.

Another big first impression opportunity was the front entry light fixture, which was pure Hollywood Regency goodness, but very rusted. Nothing that little paint can't fix, so I spruced it up.

The interior was where my heart sung. This original Nutone pull out record player was in the basement, so we reinstalled it. An old acquaintance of mine—with the patience of a saint—spent over a full day, delicately cleaning and checking every wire and connection to get the intercomm and speaker system singing throughout the entire 4400+ square foot home. Why would we do this? This place was frozen in time, therefore, we were selling more than a house—we were selling a lifestyle.

Then we were about ready to clean and stage. Luckily, my client had a cleaning company in her past. She very successfully took over this area. I've never seen someone clean this well in my entire life. I think she spent over 3 hours on the 1960's stove. By the end, it looked like it had never even baked a bundt cake before, which we all know isn't the case.

I decided to stage this home myself. I'm a huge believer in staging—the photos are much more captivating than a vacant home. It also helps shoppers visualize the space and how they might use it.

I selectively kept a few items that didn't sell at the estate sale, like this AMAZING art deco mirror above. It just needed a new base, as it was sitting on top of a rather silly computer desk. I paired it with a super chic Nate Berkus for Target chair. I love this chair. (When you can get a chair this perfect for this scene, at a Target price, you know you're winning.)

Most of the furniture that we used came from my own arsenal of vintage and mid-century pieces. I painted some pieces from Goodwill to fill in a few holes. It was important that we had a fresh, modern look that still honored the era.

To be fair, that person painting that chair is actually my mom. She is a PRO at refurbishing furniture!

To be fair, that person painting that chair is actually my mom. She is a PRO at refurbishing furniture!

After cleaning and staging, it was show-time. I spent nine hours with an architectural photographer. Nine hours, you ask? Well, I stood behind every frame, moving pillows and plants around to capture just the right composition. We did drone video, interior video, and multiple rooms with different lighting options. And in the end, I really feel like we captured the essence of this home. 

It was a ton of work but definitely worth it. When she sold for $1,000,000, I knew we represented her well. 

I will always have a special place in my heart for this remarkable home.