Friday, August 21, 2009

Get Here, Mom

Goodbye, orange walls. Goodbye, dark kitchen cabinets. Goodbye, lotus-shaped light fixture.

Refreshing the condo has begun. After I agreed to let Pete the Painter brighten up the entry way, the long hall and the dining room, by the end of the first day, I had signed him up to paint the living room too. And all the woodwork. And the doors.

Two years ago, I am told, home buyers wanted something interesting to fix up, personalize with their own color preferences. Today, I am told, home buyers want to move their stuff into a place with cream-colored walls, woodwork and carpeting.


“You don’t have to like how it looks,” the realtor tells me repeatedly. “The first impression will be light and fresh. You’ll be glad you did it.”

Perhaps this is a much-needed step of separation, prying me loose from my beloved condo, where almost 11 years ago Pete painted everything variations on a color best described as poached salmon. The Salmon Sanctuary, I called it.

Maybe as the new color – a creamy hue called Posy – goes on the walls, I will start thinking of the condo as belonging to someone else, that new owner who likes everything pale.

On the other hand, Pete just told me a story about a job he did for a realtor. When the would-be sellers saw the place transformed, they fell in love with their place all over again and decided not to move. The realtor was annoyed, but surely she got over it.

Has everyone who has come through (24 people in three months) hated the salmon walls, woodwork and carpeting?

No. A few said outright it was not to their taste. Some had no comment. Three potential customers admired the color and commented how nicely it acts as a neutral. One adored it. That woman also liked my art, and said if she moved in, she would leave everything just the way it was.

She didn’t, however, offer a contract, and that’s what we’re after.

I’m paying Pete with money I’d saved to make the move. I’ve learned to think of the expense as an investment that may actually lead to a move. My son and his wife are in San Francisco, waiting for me to arrive. When he called last week, he said, “Lots of cool things happen in San Francisco in October. Get here, Mom.”

I’m working on it. First, I am saying goodbye to the condo as I knew it.


  1. "Look at what you've done,
    Then at what you want,
    Not at where you are,
    What you'll be...

    Just keep moving on."

    --Stephen Sondheim, SUNDAY IN THE PARK WITH GEORGE

  2. work done to get your house ready to sell comes off your taxes
    I am an HGTV addict, and Designed to Sell homes (which do sell very quickly) all look like rooms in model homes or upscale hotels, so that it the look...for example, they always take out ceiling fans, and the first thing I do when I buy a house in install ceiling fans in every room