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Updating Lighting and Color Scheme For a Big Return on Investment: 7 Balboa Ave.

Updating Lighting and Color Scheme For a Big Return on Investment: 7 Balboa Ave.

We just sold 7 Balboa Avenue in San Rafael’s Villa Real neighborhood. We represented the seller, who had lived in the home for 33 years!

When we first met her in June, she was feeling overwhelmed by the process. Mainly, how to get 33 years of her personal things — antiques, collections, books, etc . — pared down and moved to a smaller home.

We helped her with a plan and a timeline, and we recommended packers and movers and then helped her organize an estate sale. After her move, we coordinated the painter, handyman and gardener to spruce up the house for sale.

The home sold quickly and for full price, $1,495,000, in a challenging market. Updating the home’s paint color scheme was crucial to maximizing the sale price, plus adding contemporary light fixtures. The return on investment was an estimated 500% (calculated considering the aforementioned property prep, plus the seller moving out and having the house professionally staged by us, plus some minor repairs after the home inspections).

The home already had hardwood floors in a classic medium brown tone, and the bathrooms had been remodeled several years ago, so we didn’t need to do any work there.

Here are the ‘before’ and ‘after’ photos, with a guide to what paint colors we used and where to buy the light fixtures. The ‘before’ photos were taken after she moved out; the ‘after’ photos showcase our staging, which we provide to all sellers at no additional cost — a huge value!

Living Room

BEFORE: Yellow and green walls

Light neutrals are on trend, so we picked a cream that related to the fireplace stone. (Benjamin Moore White Down OC-131)

Nesting coffee tables


Family Room

BEFORE: Yellow walls


We needed a warm neutral to relate to the fireplace brick and mortar, so we chose a warm gray. (Benjamin Moore Gray Mist OC-30)

Coffee tables

Ceiling light



BEFORE: Red accent wall

We chose the perfect neutral that matched the undertone in the countertops and backsplash (Benjamin Moore Maritime White 963). It’s a pale beige with red/pink undertones that are found in so many natural stones and ceramic tiles.

We had the tile floors steam cleaned and the grout was like new! We also changed out all the cabinet pulls and replaced the chandelier.




BEFORE: Green walls

Lighter walls brightened the room. We used Benjamin Moore White Down in the hallway and three of the bedrooms, which is the same cream color as in the living room and entry hall. All the ceilings and woodwork are Benjamin Moore Chantilly Lace OC-65, a true white.

BEFORE: Green walls

We stayed with the green theme a little, but a much paler version. The adjoining primary bathroom has blue-green tile, and we wanted the bedroom and bathroom colors to relate to each other. We chose Benjamin Moore Titanium, which is gray with blue-green undertone.

End tables


Front Door

BEFORE: Orange-red door and porch that needed paint

I love the way the door turned out with Benjamin Moore Night Train 1567, a muddy blue-green gray that works well with the orange bricks. The porch was painted gray (with green undertone) to match the concrete walkway (Benjamin Moore Sandyhook Gray HC-108, though it appears they changed the name to Jockey Hollow Gray).

Are you condiering selling and wondering what projects to undertake at your house? Our advice is to meet with us sooner rather than later so we can guide you. Please call us today!

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