Proof Real Estate - Beyond Conventional Exceptional Service & Results for SF Bay Area Professionals

Exterior (Before)
The family’s motorhome parking area already had an independent electrical meter, sewer lateral and water hookup. Ideal for a future ADU and we planned to market it that way—without spending much.

Exterior (After)
The first of two renderings we created to show how a potential ADU would fit on the property. Buyers received the spec sheet, floor plan, approximate build-out cost and other architectural details.

Site Conditions

  • No comps in this property’s neighborhood near the $2M price point
  • Entire home was packed with crafts materials the trustee intended to keep
  • Project took place in the middle of the pandemic

Results of Our Work

  • 6 offers on bid date
  • Sold for $2.2M ($405,000 over asking price)
  • 7-day closing, contingent free
  • 350% ROI on $65,700 resurfacing budget, work done in 15 business days 

Busting Through the $2M Barrier

After her husband’s passing, the seller was in a hurry to downsize and move to a retirement community that supported her lifestyle, hobbies and athletic pursuits. 

Her 1950s home had begun small, then they expanded it to five bedrooms, last renovating 30 years ago. Now the large property needed work, but the trust account held limited funds for resurfacing. 

Also unfortunate, a now out-of-business appraiser had performed a cursory drive-by appraisal and overstated the property’s value at $1.925M. This unsubstantiated amount, with no nearby homes in that range, sat on the estate’s financials as a minimum expectation for its sale. Oh boy.

Craig contacted the architect-builder from the ‘90s remodel and learned of system and mechanical improvements they had made, which were featured in our marketing. 

To boost the perceived value of the home, we used every tool at our disposal. It sold it for $2.2M—well above its lazy appraisal and highest in the area. Six months later, the senior admitted to Craig she still hadn’t fully unpacked her boxes. She was too busy with her newfound friends. Nothing could make us happier.

Looking past the red cabinets and the ornate silhouettes Craig saw opportunity, scale, lifestyle.

Oak floors stained a cool matte gray gave the entire upper level a contemporary feel. Sometimes our most effective tactics are subliminal … buyers wanted this home but they’re not entirely sure why. 

The formal dining room required imagination to get beyond the ornate, dark and heavy.

A true showstopper. Buyers gravitated to this dining room after the resurfacing.

Only light modifications needed to project a clean, inviting appearance here.

We accomplished this new look for less than $2,000.

The elder’s cozy craft area was very important to her. We had to demonstrate that her future destination would allow her to pursue the hobbies that kept her young and happy.

Once the senior’s personal property was inventoried, packed and sorted, she was hopeful and satisfied that all would be well. She lined up a rental home before this property went on the market.

The old, dried-out wood was an unnecessary blemish on the lovely outdoor space.

 With a newly applied satin finish and the nails were reset, the deck was barefoot-ready.

The cabana had promise, but dry rot, mildew, non-operable lights and rusty finishes stood in the way.

Haven! Retreat! Another lifestyle vignette we photographed and promoted.

We’ve learned to speak of resurfacing rather than painting over—especially wood finishes. It causes less anxiety. Besides, brown makes the price go down.

Lovely, fresh sitting room with the fireplace and mantel in creamy white. Instant updating!

The old, cracked brown wood needed restoration. But would today’s buyers care? They aren’t looking for dated wood finishes.

Clean, white and modern. That’s how you project confidence in the marketplace.

Beautiful, vaulted ceilings and a fireplace focal point. A little work could make this space memorable.

White and more white brings a feel of spaciousness and ease.

The pool, the brick oven, the Marin hills in the background. Lovely, but not outstanding.

Refurbished and staged to present a sense of relaxed luxury.

Developer Resurfacing Plan

We created a birds-eye view of the property to give buyers context.
 This says so much about what to expect and the lifestyle promised by the property.

Master Bath (Before)
A small, unimpressive bath accompanied the main bedroom.

Master Bath (After)
Combined two rooms into luxurious master bath with new view window above soaking tub. Spa-like room now has muted tile with matching grout, expansive counters, dual under-mount sinks, recessed lighting, separate glass shower and private toilet closet.

Site Conditions

  • Large family home-turned-rental was dated, dark, and dingy
  • Current tenants had a long time remaining on their lease
  • Senior sellers skeptical and focused on ROI analysis, but with limited funds for resurfacing

Results of Our Work

  • 5 offers, winning bid was contingent free
  • Sold $2.33M ($331,000 over asking price)
  • 400% ROI on $40,750 resurfacing budget, done in 12 business days

Sometimes You Have to See for Yourself

The sellers had known Craig for years. Even so, they were uncomfortable hiring and trusting the professionals he recommended, and they insisted on being part of every decision and inspection. They also resisted advice at every turn.

The couple suggested hiring their friend who moonlights as a stager, so Craig checked out her website. Her furniture was dark, the pictures amateurish, and the couple finally accepted she was not the one.

Because the sellers were used to doing everything themselves, they deemed many of our solutions too expensive or inappropriate.

Then everything changed. Craig invited them to visit one of our neighborhood homes in the final resurfacing phase and they fell in love. Despite having seen a dozen videos explaining our process, it only clicked when they witnessed the transformation in person.

After that, convincing them to stick with one, not six different floor materials, was easier. They understood the value of our work and how a consistent design, including a single floor material throughout, elevated the home.

The street view was in fairly good shape and complemented by mature landscaping.

We changed rusty, faded light fixtures, added a new street number placard, lightly washed the cedar shakes and power washed the brick to brighten up the first impression.

Painting the brick, replacing the hardwood floor and removing window coverings were all part of the plan. Originally, the scale and symmetry of this room was lost among visually distressing elements.

A style compromise – wood beams and shelves contrasted against fresh creamy walls. A small horizontal painting over the couch highlights the dramatic ceiling height.

Ooh whee, a relic of an earlier era.

Crisp white paint, stone countertops and a single-stem brushed nickel faucet change the whole kitchen landscape. For consistency with the family room, we kept the wooden ceiling beams.

Dark wallpaper, tiled countertops, damaged mirror, old-style light fixtures and a vinyl floor were all on the update list.

Wood flooring carried throughout, including under the toilets, for a sleek and clean, designed look.Our challenge was to spend less than $3,000 and give an appearance of upgrades in the $10,000 range.

Why remove the built-in master bedroom furniture? “We love it so much. Won’t buyers love it?”

 Look how much space we revealed by removing the built-in headboard and cabinets. As the project progressed, the sellers grew more confident and agreed to let go of the steering wheel a bit.

Three bathrooms in all, each one with similarly aged surfaces.

See the importance of choosing one flooring to install throughout? Even in walk-in closets, under toilets—consistency pulls everything together and creates a higher-end look.

This corner of the kitchen was stale and stuffy. Just as food is energy, the kitchen should be energizing

 Brightened and taking full advantage of the view. And although hesitant, the sellers finally understood the parquet flooring, once thought an advantage, did not offer any value in their home.

Federal law requires a fence around the pool and with its previous use as a rental, the wire fence endured.

We could remove the unsightly fencing because the entire property was gated. We trimmed trees to create more entertainment space and a much better view of Mount Tamalpais.

Restored Hot Tub Highlights the Good Life

Patio at dusk (After)
Ahhh, who wouldn’t want to live here?

Exterior (before)
Too much hidden by plants and untrimmed trees. Walls and railings by staircase were damaged by repeated tenant move-ins. Front entry was peeling and beat up, glass covered in carbon soot.  

Exterior (after)
Thoroughly cleaned surfaces, including stained glass, light fixture and windows. Repainted railings and gate. Gave this old beauty more impact with meticulously painting of components and sophisticated blue front door. 

Site Conditions

  • Was rented at $12K/mo., but rents decreased in recent years
  • Built as duplex, market as single family home to benefit sellers
  • Old-style, dim recessed lights made the home feel dark and oppressive
  • Paint colors too disjointed and dated—yellow, gold and brown 
  • Attic bedroom was dark, claustrophobic and unappealing

Results of Our Work

  • Easier to appreciate Victorian architecture with a clean finish
  • Consistent fresh colors throughout made design feel deliberate and unified
  • Just $15,000 in upgrades, including lighting, polishing finishes, extensive cleaning, made home sparkle 

The Numbers

  • Listed: $3.9M
  • Sold: $1.24M
  • Offers: 2
  • Days on market: 7

Small Resurfacing Budget, Big Difference

This large rental home, 3,210 square feet, was badly thrashed. But we created a very strategic resurfacing plan, allowing the family to spend only $15,000 to make major improvements in the home’s attractiveness.

The owners lived in Boston and we took care of everything, so they didn’t need to make the trip to San Francisco. For decision making, the family relied on Craig’s 88 photos of the home’s surfaces, finishes and fixtures. Like most landlords, they were surprised to see the level of deterioration caused by many years of tenant occupancy. 

This is one of our most dramatic and economical resurfacing outcomes. The property sold after just 7 days on the market for $1,308 per square foot, a record for the neighborhood.

Entryway (before)
Front door arches were wasted in such a dark, dreary setting. Our design team was unanimously negative about burnt orange wall color and lack of pizzazz. 

Entryway (after)
Original glory restored. Welcoming blue door opens to refined tone-on-tone design, highlighting home’s rich Victorian heritage. Beautiful hardwood  floor did not require refinishing.

Front parlor (before)
A color palette rescue needed for at least four sources of outdated orange and brown—floors, walls, curtains, and main staircase banister. Curtains overpowered impressive large glass panes and prevented light from dancing on interior surfaces.

Front parlor (after)
Owners had removed fireplace, so we staged a spacious seating scheme uncommon in traditional front parlors. Slight wall and picture rail contrast visually heightened ceiling. Neutral furniture, carpet and textiles downplayed orangeish oak floors and saved sellers from restaining.

Second parlor (before)
Dark walls, wall-mounted TV competed with original design intent of this room.

Second parlor (after)
Continuation of our two-tone paint plan. Removed TV and distractions to focus on elegant room for family gatherings, reading and elevated lifestyle. Changed recessed lights to high-output LEDs for brighter, uplifting environment.

Upper family room (before)
Sandstone fireplace took on a pinkish hue against gold-orange wall. Owners loved their paint color, insisting it should stay. Used as an office, Craig was anxious about how room’s purpose fit into floor plan and how buyers would react.  

Upper family room (after)
We used soft white for a cohesive, simplifying finish. Fireplace remained centerpiece,  a large artwork provided color and scale to stress enormous ceiling heights. Visitors clamored to sit and enjoy unobstructed SF skyline views.

Duplex living space (before)
Three gas meters revealed building was originally a duplex. This dark home office had a separate entry off front entry foyer, a level below main entrance. To get top selling price, we had to persuade buyers it would work as a bedroom.

Duplex living space (after)
Light plays a critical role throughout the house. Converting to a bedroom and upgrading recessed lighting to LED made the room inviting and felt natural. Buyers responded to the space.

Attic bedroom (before)
Reaching this converted attic bedroom required some physical effort, traversing a metal standalone circular staircase. To justify the trek, we had to make the destination more satisfying.

Attic bedroom (after)
Fresh paint, a view desk and a nice seating area convinced buyers this perch was worth the effort. Buyer response was overwhelmingly positive.

Back yard (before)
Untended and overgrown plantings were visible through a wall of glass off the kitchen. All the right elements were present, but some TLC and a color splash were in order.  

Back yard (after)
Removed unshaped, low-lying shrubs to reveal graceful bamboo stalks. Our patio staging introduced colors to accent indoor design, and results were dramatic for very little expense.

760 Dolores St., Resurfacing Plan

Task Cost Description
Exterior Landscaping $1,100 Add ground cover, trim front trees, sweep and rake.
Interior Painting $6,400 Remove shutters and large curtain rods throughout home. Selected room painted neutral white. Remove wallpaper from bathroom, smooth and repaint. Designer color choice.
Re-grouting showers $800/span> Stained and faded grout was replaced, commercially matched with the existing colorations.
Exterior Painting $1,850 Repaint front railing, front gate and entry iron. Paint entry staircase walls, front door landing and other areas of high impact. Clean and repaint side deck.
Upgrade Interior Lights $1,700 Recessed cans and track lighting upgraded to LED. Install upgraded bathroom lights in brushed nickel finish.
Carpet $1,450 New carpet in upstairs bedrooms.
Professional Cleaning, Power and Window Washing $1,600 Clean all appliances, surfaces, bathrooms, kitchen and lights. Wash windows and skylights. Power wash exterior surfaces, seating areas, side patio, etc.
Total $14,900 Work completed in 15 business days. Advanced planning of 3 weeks to line up all work, secure dates.

*Professional Staging $8,900

Upper family room (after)
Comfy, casual and modern, with a view to remember.

See how we presented the home

Exterior (before)
Landscaping and fence looked unloved. Seller was unhappy with dark color of the building.

Exterior (after)
Seller insisted we lighten exterior paint color before marketing the home, which added substantially to our budget. Was it a mandatory work order? No, but a seller priority and he agreed with our designer’s color choice.

Site Conditions

  • Departing tenants left a lot of interior damage
  • Missing fixtures, only 2 functioning bathrooms, deconstructed down to the studs, seller was out of funding and ideas
  • Craig researched permit records and job card for downstairs remodel was signed but not recorded with City (included expanded square footage, new master suite, updated seismic, electrical and plumbing)
  • Kitchen resurfacing was incomplete, storage areas packed with old furniture

Results of Our Work

  • Our contractor met with inspector, who called for additional refinements to construction and finally approved closure of permits and recorded approved work
  • Moved seller out to allow for $100,000 in work, completed over 2 weeks
  • Designer selected finishes and fixtures to complement existing for cohesive, contemporary appearance
  • Received 6 offers, all well above asking

The Numbers

  • Listed: $1.799M
  • Sold: $2.1M
  • Offers: 6
  • Days on market: 41

A Big-Budget Undertaking

Craig had a listing in the neighborhood many years ago and it caught this seller’s attention. Meticulous, articulate and very assured, he wanted to exit his home, but his life was complicated.

He had made short-term rentals to ‘friends’ who eventually became terrible tenants. And with no immediate need or incentive to sell, he let things go.

Although the homeowner had started many projects, he left the property’s entire lower level demolished to the studs. Craig’s research showed signatures for permit completion on the job cards but they weren’t recorded in the building department records. A lot of work remained—on the home and the cleanup tasks of closing permits, conducting inspections, etc.

Craig was concerned with the sizable $100,000+ budget established to update the home, so he focused on generating the highest possible return for the seller’s investment.

Living room (before)
Appealing space with hardwood floors in good shape. “If only we could get away from the orange color these oak floors have turned over the years, I’d be much happier,” the seller said. Our designer also recommended lighter walls to awaken the room. 

Living room (after)
Fulfilled seller’s wish—found a much cooler floor stain/finish. Removed window coverings for upbeat, sunny vibe. Painted walls and ceiling neutral white to accent open beams and  ceiling seemed to float. New colors complemented fireplace granite which buyers repeatedly noticed.

Dining room (before)
While the interior architecture was not changed, we planned to update floor and wall color and create more visual space.

Dining room (after)
Our new look communicated clean and contemporary, with a sense of comfortable, elegant living. Not stuffiness.

Living room, view 2 (before)
Didn’t show as modern and spacious. 

Living room, view 2 (after)
The redesign carried into the main hall and foyer. The minute buyers walked in they got an immediate sense of the dramatic ceiling height and clean, bright design theme.

Back yard (before)
The outdoor space was wild and ungroomed. However, we could envision its potential.  

Back yard (after)
Polished up and ready for relaxing. Our designer made great use of the seller’s Asian art pieces throughout the yard and home.

Developer Resurfacing Plan

Task Cost Description
Exterior Painting and Landscaping $15,900 Replace damaged decking on 2 sides of home. New exterior paint, designer color selection. Clear yard and haul debris, add bamboo, plantings and landscape materials. Install ground cover, trim trees and shape vegetation.
Interior Painting $14,400 Patch, sand and paint throughout the home, including garage and kitchen cabinets. Designer color choice.
Hardwood Flooring $14,800 Remove existing carpet, sand and stain varying wood tones to one rich, unifying color. Apply finish.
Remodel Master Bathroom $22,200 Finish project started by seller many years ago. Designer material choices.
New Interior Lights $22,200 Install LED recessed cans and track lighting with brushed nickel finish.
2 Bathrooms – Resurfacing $13,900 Install new stone counters, undermount sinks and single stem brushed nickel faucets. Install new wall-mounted mirror and LED brushed nickel light fixture (mounted over glass). Remove existing glass shelves. Install new flooring and paint rooms.
Kitchen Appliances and Resurfacing $17,900 New cabinetry, brushed nickel handles, stone counters, undermount sink, single stem brushed nickel faucet, low-profile stainless steel range hood, new flooring, upgraded mechanicals throughout. All material selections by our designer.
Power Wash, Window, & Interior Cleaning $1,900 Interior cleaning of all appliances, surfaces, bathroom, filters and lights. Wash interior and exterior windows. Power wash exterior brick staircase, around mildew areas, etc.
Total $104,400

Kitchen (after)
Sleek and clean, hard to believe kitchen was same room we encountered on first tour.
Our designer came up with just the right plan, and under budget too.

See how we presented the home

Exterior (before)
Landscaping looking a bit ragged, palm tree blocking the garage door. 

Exterior (after)
Tidied up the front yard, planted new plants where needed, trimmed trees to show the level of care.

Site Conditions

  • A mishmash of flooring—oak, parquet and engineered/laminate—looked disjointed and old
  • Two lower levels had engineered flooring with unsightly gaps
  • Yellow-orange wood floors made everything seem outdated and uninviting
  • New floor colors would create a clash with the banister and stair colors, rug runners on the staircases were dingy

Results of Our Work

  • Handled project for sellers after they moved out of state
  • Brought in inspectors and remediated deficiencies
  • Surfaces, including wood floors, refinished in cool, modern gray tones

The Numbers

  • Listed: $1.999M
  • Sold: $2.3M
  • Offers: 3
  • Days on market: 14

Sellers Left the Details to Us

Craig’s favorite element of this project? The sellers moved out of state and trusted most details to his team, including generating a big return on their resurfacing investment.

Craig looked carefully for spots buyers might see as weak points. The sellers agreed with his recommendations to improve those areas. It was essential to catch up the rest of the home to the wonderful bathroom renovation the sellers had already done.

The team devoted nearly 2 weeks to inspections and remediating nearly every imaginable issue a buyer could raise. A slight leak in the radiant heat plumbing, maintenance on the sewage pump tank, transfer of roof warranty, roof repairs, and a list of other items.

Focusing on finishes and detail, we envisioned how to make components (such as orange-ish wood bannisters) work with the newly refinished cool gray floors.

After marketing the home for a targeted 12 days, we followed with a bid date to aggregate demand and let buyers compete. The top offer was cash, with no inspections or contingencies. Extra prep work had paid off, with a bid date just 9 days after San Francisco began sheltering in place.

Living room (before)
The plusses—dramatic ceilings, crown molding, parquet floors, oversized front window and great fireplace. But dated yellow and brown colors would bring down the price point. Aimed to match design level of sellers’ wonderful hall bathroom renovation.

Living room (after)
Cooler tones register as attractive, modern and approachable. Discovered our flooring specialist can restain a variety of flooring materials to contemporary gray hue. He works wonders, even on engineered wood in lower price point properties.  

Dining room (before)
This room suffered from a dated yellow/orange look. The open-air patio (right, through window door) should be main focal point, but bright flooring competed.

Dining room (after)
Our designer chose wall color to heighten synergy with new lighter, neutral parquet flooring. Grayer and bleached out, it parallels Restoration Hardware and other fine contemporary design.

Bedroom (before):
A single change can affect perception of the entire interior. We make strategic choices, stay on budget and strive for highest return on investment. Needed a neutral color and to restore room’s use to a bedroom. 

Bedroom (after)
Removed carpet runner on stairs and stained floors neutral gray, which made banister color wrong. Since the floor stain wouldn’t absorb on banister wood so we chose a crisp white. 

Downstairs flooring (before)
Engineered wood on lower levels was in poor shape and we weren’t optimistic we could achieve higher-end look on our budget.  

Downstairs flooring (after)
Floor took to the stain fabulously and made all three levels home levels consistent, clean and cohesive.

Deck (before)
Generous outdoor space was big draw as was promise of entertaining , BBQs, family living with expansive views. Rubberized decking was a rusty red that disturbed our design team.  

Deck 1 (after)
Painted stairs and decking material with a specialized paint in a cool, neutral color to complement, not compete with, existing wood elements we couldn’t afford to resurface.  

4th bedroom (before)
The starting point, a blank slate with a glaring orange floor.

4th bedroom (after)
Mission accomplished—a soothing, contemporary haven that buyers could imagine coming home to. 

115 Bella Vista Way, Resurfacing Plan

Task Cost Description
Exterior Work $4,300 Gentle washing of exterior surfaces. Install ground cover, trim tree branches and shape vegetation. Paint exterior decking (from red to gray).
Interior Painting $3,000 Remove stair runner. Prime and paint staircase banister to satin white finish. Designer color choice.
Hardwood Flooring $7,500 Sand and stain varying wood floors to a rich, cohesive gray for a more contemporary finish throughout the home’s levels. Apply finish.
Professional Cleaning, Power Washing $1,300 Power wash exterior surfaces, staircase, walkways and terraces. Clean all appliances, surfaces, bathroom, filters and lights. Wash windows inside and out. 
Total $16,100 Work completed in 7 business days. Advanced planning of 1 week to line up all work, secure dates.

* Professional staging $9,200

Living room (after)
The charming living room, updated and staged to create a sense of space and relaxation. 

See how we presented the home

Exterior (before)
The home and its architectural features were hidden behind overgrown trees. Views from inside were blocked and tree branches poked in when a window was opened.

Exterior (after)
Arborist found balance between restoring views, inviting in more natural light and maintaining privacy in the front. Home was now recognizable and present from the street, as intended.

Site Conditions

  • Rented for many years at $12K/mo., now unable to get $10K
  • Previous property manager attempted but couldn’t sell
  • Craig signed listing, then home fell into litigation, no funds available for improvements
  • Small, 80-year-old elevator could fit only people under 6 feet tall
  • Estate’s attorney went to probate court many times for conflicts between heirs, outcome was very uncertain

Results of Our Work

  • After a year of delays from litigation, we finally marketed the home
  • Got creative on upgrading only the most unattractive components, leaving nearly all counters and floors, remediating surrounding materials and elements
  • Repaired damaged hardwood floors, multiple leaks and more, involving every imaginable tradesperson and discipline

The Numbers

  • Listed: $3.199M
  • Sold: $3.6M
  • Offers: 2
  • Days on market: 21

In It for the Long Haul

Nearly 18 months from when we were introduced, longtime litigation was resolved and the home sold.

To secure a great return for the estate, we presented the property as well maintained, contemporary and livable. The unique spiral staircase was the centerpiece and pleased many visitors. On the downside, it took up an extraordinary amount of space, causing a choke point in the very narrow hallway. A wall of mirrors on every floor was for more than esthetics, they kept the space from tipping into claustrophobic.

Ultimately, the home was snapped up because of the great location, unique architecture and its high-society flavor.

Craig’s favorite aspect of this project was how hard the probate attorney fought for her client. She didn’t take any guff, period. She appeared before the court, battled with opposing counsel and vehemently protected her client. Craig said, “I admire and am just a little afraid of her fierceness. I’ve never seen anyone so confident in her own abilities, yet eager to leave the details to the experts and seek my input. The family was very happy with the result.”

Powder room (before)
Not sure of original intent of this remodel gone wild, but I’d call it an overpowering combination of bamboo, copper, chrome, marble and gold finishes.

Powder room (after)
Our designer called for a clean, contemporary finish while maintaining the deep, rich marble flooring and shower surround. Removing wallpaper and installing new finishes went a long way.

Living room bar (before)
This gold and brown bar space brought down the overall impression of the room. Not only that, the sink bottom and drain were entirely rusted through.

Living room bar (after)
Our designer again chose a clean, bright, classic look in brushed nickel with undermount sink.

Eat-in nook (before)
This corner of the kitchen had potential that wasn’t being used.

Eat-in nook (after)
With no budget to replace the bench cushion, we made do. Letting in more light and view made the difference.

Kitchen (before)
The counters seemed a bit cold, almost commercial bathroom-like in appearance.

Kitchen (after)
Our designer chose a richer color for the walls that accentuated counter tops and brought them to life in a more pleasing contemporary coloration.

Master bedroom (before)
Nothing to get excited about.

Master bedroom (after)
That’s better—staged for relaxation and to highlight the beautiful city view.

Master bathroom (before)
Showing its age and need for a cleaner, brighter look. 

Master bathroom (after)
A whole new look after simple refinishing, grout and caulk replacement, removal of shower glass panel.

Master bath counter (before)
Chipped mirror and outlet, dated countertop

Master bath counter (after)
Fresh, crisp and clean with new mirror, faucets and counter

Family room (before)
Tenant had used the room as an office with electrical and communication wires crisscrossing the floor, creating a commercial feel to it.

Family room (after)
Now a gracious space with beautiful garden outside the French doors.

Stair landing on 4th level (before)
A pleasant space in need of brightening and staging.

Stair landing on 4th level (after)
New lights and decor made the landing a showplace.

Hallway (before)
A bit of a nothingness, insignificant space.

Hallway (after)
We increased the lighting, removed the window covering and trimmed trees. Now we’re talking. 

920 Powell St., Resurfacing Plan

Task Cost Description
Exterior Work $2,900 Arborists trim tree obstructing view. Wash exterior. Paint lower portion of home front and entry gate. Wash front stairs and light fixture. Polish brass components. Clean glass. Apply anti-slip grip to front stairs.
Interior Painting $8,400 Patch and sand, paint select walls. Some just handwashed and touched-up. Clean and paint throughout all 4 floors of the home, including garage floor, laundry room and more. Designer-chosen colors.
Hardwood Flooring $3,200 Remove water-damaged boards from entry level. Surgical replacement throughout home in marked areas. Replace damaged wood at two staircase landings.
Plumbing Repairs $3,200 Investigate leaks along front hall causing floor damage. Replace and repair as needed.
New Interior Lights $2,920 Install LED recessed cans and track lighting with brushed nickel finish.
Master Bathroom $2,900 Install new base cabinet, stone counter, undermount sinks and new faucets. Install wall-mounted mirror and LED brushed nickel light fixture (mounted over glass). Remove existing glass enclosure at shower. Paint room.
Elevator Repairs and Servicing $1,880 During court proceedings, kept service contract for 18 months for initial repairs and ongoing maintenance.
All Bathrooms $3,900 Replace old caulking. Install new vinyl flooring over existing. Replace baseboards as necessary. Polish all finishes, hardware and glass surfaces. Professionally clean. Check for leaks.
Professional Cleaning, Power Washing $1,300 Interior cleaning of all appliances, surfaces, bathroom, filters and lights. Wash windows inside and out. Power wash exterior brick staircase, etc.
Total $30,600 All work completed in 21 business days. Advanced planning of 2 weeks to line-up all work, secure dates.

Spiral Staircase
A stunning feature of this 1913 Nob Hill home.

See how we presented the home

Exterior (before)
Difficult to assess because side walkways were nearly impassable and rear yard was overgrown beyond recognition. Pruning and debris removal was needed to find the rear fence.

Exterior (after)
Without painting, we dramatically improved curb appeal and revived the architecture of this marina style 5-barrel window home. Landscaping, edging and painting the walkway made maximum difference at minimal cost and time.

Site Conditions

  • County records measured the home as 3-bedroom, 1-bath
  • Pest report revealed almost $70,000 in dry rot behind the stucco, a faulty shower pan and unsafe rear decks 
  • Estate had very limited funds, but fiduciary located money for repairs
  • Home next door listed for $1.395M with no offers, trustees to the sale were furious Craig wanted to list at $1.199M

Results of Our Work

  • Confidently marketed the home as a 3 bed, 2.5 bath
  • Property stood out as a fierce competitor in the neighborhood, quickly received multiple offers and went into contract
  • Trustees were very happy and relieved

The Numbers

  • Listed: $1.199M
  • Sold: $1.625M
  • Offers: 9
  • Days on market: 14

When There’s a Collection of Obstacles

Craig’s favorite aspect of this project was how confident the sellers were that they knew more than he did. It seems that they’d watched many seasons of home renovation shows on TV.

The property was unoccupied for several years while the trustees fought between themselves over personal property left in the home.

Craig took the listing with one condition—they were not to return to the home once the resurfacing work orders were signed. The professional fiduciary hired by the estate supported that request.

When the trustees learned we put the home into contract for $1.625 million, their anxiety melted away.

Living room (before)
Torn-off sections of interior wall  revealed old leaks. Hardwood floors were in ruins. Pest inspection confirmed our fears, extensive dry rot behind exterior stucco would have to be disclosed. Critical to apply our limited budget to balance deficiencies with desirable upgrades. 

Living room (after)
Designer offset warm orange floors with cool colors. Two-tone paint scheme was contemporary and highlighted home’s original design intent. Staging complemented paint colors and drew eyes to fireplace focal point.

Kitchen (before)
Appliances weren’t working and we had no budget for replacing. Some cabinet doors were missing. Sink hardware was missing. Two wallpaper patterns competed, neither matched tiled counter tops.

Kitchen (after)
Credit our designer for this bold, deep blue, inspired by a hue in the countertop. She finished cabinets with new brushed nickel handles. Open kitchen was visible from dining area, rear deck and more, so this refresh had major impact. 

Bedroom #1 (before)
Massive amounts of wallpaper—in the bedroom, as well as the kitchen, halls and beyond. No good could come of it.

Bedroom #1 (after)
Once wallpaper and window coverings were removed, we found a lovely room. Carried same pleasant color theme into hallway and other bedrooms for consistent, breezy feel which buyers fell for.

Bedroom #2 (before)
Dull and drab, this room had been used as a library or sitting area. Required more than a clean-up to shine like rest of the house.  

Bedroom #2 (after)
Converted this room back to its original use as a bedroom. A third bedroom was essential to attracting higher-paying buyers.

Back yard (before)
Choked with foliage, this space was completely unusable. Didn’t know what we’d find after plants were cut back.

Back yard (after)
Concerned an expensive liability like a falling retaining wall was under the foliage. Delighted to find retaining walls were sound and space was wonderful. Replaced deck planks and supports, painted and projected a lovely lifestyle.

Lower level (before)
Rooms were packed with belongings trustees had argued about for years.

Lower level (after)
After weeks, nearly all the items were donated or disposed of. Neither trustee actually wanted the contents.

464 Dewey Blvd., Resurfacing Plan

Task Cost Description
Exterior Landscaping $5,300 Remove several overgrown trees from front, back and sides of home. Weed, edge and apply ground cover. Restore rear decks by replacing rotten wood members.
Interior Painting $5,000 Bleach exterior rear and side surfaces. Caulk, prime and paint where stucco is cracked. Clean, prime and paint decks to a finished grade.
Interior Painting & Lighting $17,700 Repair rot and damaged wall surfaces, patch and sand. Remove wallpaper. Paint entire interior, including kitchen cabinets. Designer color choice. Upgrade lighting throughout the home.
Bathroom Repairs $3,400 Replace missing tiles and grout in both bathrooms. Apply epoxy coating to tile in one bathroom. All three bathrooms resurfaced to an acceptable appearance for marketing the home.
Professional Cleaning, Power Washing $1,300 Clean all appliances, surfaces, bathroom, filters and lights. Wash windows inside and out. Power wash exterior brick staircase, mildew areas.
Total $32,700 Work completed in 15 business days. Advance planning of 3 weeks to line up work, secure dates.

Lovely, open space in this polished 1920s home. No wonder it sold for $426,000 over asking.

See how we presented the home

Entry (Before)
Dramatic ceiling height, marred by old bronze-finish fixture. Unfortunate orange entry doors and carpet, small floor tile with dark grout, outdated stair railings. Craig, our contractor and designer devised a plan.

Entry/Living Room (After)
Two-tone paint theme highlighted lofty ceiling, unique slope and shape. New flooring ran home’s width, complementary silver-gray carpeting on stairs. Painted wood and iron railings match door and baseboards. Hardware and fixtures changed to brushed nickel.

Site Conditions

  • Surfaces were tired, old and unappealing
  • Buyers would perceive property as needing to be gutted
  • Kitchen closed off from dining room
  • Unattractive and overgrown rear patio with a dominating wooden structure
  • Taxes and HOA dues 2 years in arrears, mortgage overdue by several months, foreclosure looming

Results of Our Work

  • Sourced financing to bring debts to current and make improvements possible
  • Made views of the waterway the visual focus
  • Installed new cool-hued floor covering, to draw eyes to dramatic ceiling contours and outside to water views
  • Restored rear yard for relaxing, family gathering and entertaining
  • Opened kitchen to dining area and view

The Numbers

  • Listed: $1.599M
  • Sold: $2.1M
  • Offers: POA (preemptive offer accepted) after 9 showing requests first day on market, buyer offered $2 million contingent-free, negotiated to $2.1M and seller accepted
  • Days on market: 1

Glistening water view promised a special lifestyle

Craig had sold several Foster City properties, but this treasure was right on the water. An attorney Craig had worked with introduced the client.

The home had old and mismatched flooring, hardware, lighting and trim. And an overgrown and dreary back yard. Our designer-contractor team kept it simple and let the glistening water view serve as the focal point and promise of a special lifestyle.

We found additional challenges—the finances. Homeowner’s dues had gone unpaid for several years, several utility bills were delinquent, and foreclosure was looming. Craig intervened with the bank.

Living/Dining Area (Before)
Where is the light and the water view? Room faced overgrowth, and our biggest challenge, a weathered pergola that blocked sightlines. And would buyers object to the popcorn ceiling?

Living/Dining Area (After)
Continued modern flooring and paint theme here. Removed window coverings for more sun. Our landscaper and carpenter removed enormous wooden patio structure to reveal waterway view as soon as buyer entered the front door.   

Living Room/Fireplace (Before)
Varying drape heights gave buyers the sense that the windows were not uniform. And the fireplace surround was a throwaway, dark and unkempt when it could have been a focal point.  

Living Room/Rireplace (After)
Freshness and design consistency helped buyers imagine a cohesive family home. Revived fireplace with paint, no expensive tile needed. Removed hanging kitchen cabinets  to create space, light and open the room for entertaining.  

Kitchen (Before)
The eat-in area off the kitchen was dismal and dated, with an unfortunate light fixture. Here’s a better view of the hanging cabinets that obstruct light and isolate whoever’s cooking.

Kitchen (After)
A more functional arrangement without the hanging cabinets. Also updated flooring, light fixture and furniture for buyers who value entertainment ease and open spaces.

Kitchen/Dining (Before)
Dark and closed off, the dining area faced hanging cabinets and old-fashioned floor to ceiling drapes. 

Kitchen/Dining (After)
The new configuration—more open, light and clean. New appliances give the perception of updatedness. Buyers could imagine interacting easily with family and friends across the room.

Bathroom (Before)
Dated wallpaper, handicapped bars and blackening mirror edges. Luckily, our team knows how to update bathrooms affordably and effectively.  

Bathroom (After)
New flooring, wallpaper removal, paint and seamless mirrors brought this room a long way. We’re always balancing perception of the space with resurfacing costs.

Yard (Before)
The large pergola blocked sunlight, obstructed the view and had deteriorated beyond its useful life, and most tragically, broke up the space.

Yard (After)
With some landscaping, power washing and touch-up painting, buyers could envision enjoying this outdoor space as a haven for entertaining, boat watching and BBQs.

744 Coronado Ln., Resurfacing Plan

Task Cost Description
Interior Painting $12,400 Includes patching and sanding, front entry railings, replacing some doors and window trim. Replace several closet doors with mirrored, frameless glass style. Designer chose colors and materials.
Flooring Replacement $9,800 Remove existing floor coverings (including carpet, tack strips, padding, hard tile and vinyl tile. Replace with engineered wood hard surface flooring throughout both lower and upper levels.
New Interior Lights $2,500 Replace existing light fixtures with LED where possible, in a brushed nickel finish throughout the home. Material selections made by designer.
Resurface 3 Bathrooms $6,800 Resurface base cabinets, add new light fixtures, paint interiors. Replace shower doors, faucets and hardware throughout. Replace toilets and seats with new. Install wall-mounted mirrors and LED brushed nickel light fixture (mounted over glass). Paint. All materials designer selected.
Kitchen Resurfacing $7,900 New brushed nickel handles, resurfacing of existing countertop, undermount sink, single stem brushed nickel faucet, low profile stainless steel range hood, replace kitchen cabinet doors and paint in cool gray.
Exterior Landscaping $1,400 Remove wooden overhang in rear yard, patch and paint to a commercial match where required at fascia and trim. Dump furniture and debris. Edge and weed planter areas. Install ground cover and new plants. Trim tree and hedge branches.
Professional Cleaning, Power Washing $1,800 Power wash exterior surfaces around entry, walkways, rear patio surfaces and storage areas. Clean interior – all appliances, surfaces, bathroom, filter, and lights. Wash windows inside and out. 
Total $41,900 All work completed in 9 business days. Advance planning of 1.5 weeks to line up all work, secure dates.

*Staging required one day and cost $9,050 

Spectacular waterway view, exactly why the home was built.  We prepped property so buyers could imagine moving right in and scheduling additional upgrades without urgency. Our resurfacing plan restored home to its highest and best use, with minimal cost and maximum return.

See how we presented the home

Exterior (Before)
Faded, dreary and unattractive. While lines of the home (windows, roofline and arches) were appealing, it looked neglected. 

Exterior (After)
We contrast-painted charming details—window sashes, emblems in the arches and front door—for sophistication and elegance. Rather than grass, we opted for ground cover.

Site Conditions

  • Weathered exterior
  • Dark, dated interior
  • Finish colors and materials old and dreary 

Results of Our Work

  • ROI of 350% on resurfacing budget
  • Vast improvement of curb appeal via simple landscaping and strategic painting
  • Transformed 4-bedroom/2-bath 1920s home to a fresh, charming and sought-after property

The Numbers

  • Listed: $1.199M
  • Sold: $1.879M
  • Offers: 12
  • Days on market: 12

“You Can’t List This Home at $1.2 Million!”

The resident had moved in with her son to recover from a fall and left us to prep and market the home. The family agreed to list it at $1.2 million and expected to sell for about $1.5. We were delighted by 12 offers, with a winning bid of $1.879 million, which secured the elder’s future standard of living.

Later, Craig was at the house picking up his signs when a neighbor approached. He said, “You can’t list this home at $1.2 million! I live next door and I know it should sell for at least $1.4 million.” 

When Craig invited him in to see the home, the neighbor said, “Wow, the place looks great!” Told it was in contract for more than $1.8 million, he asked Craig to stop by his house. If he could get anywhere near that price for his property, he was interested in selling.

Dining Room (Before)
While the structural members in the dining room had been stripped to the wood, the room still lacked pizzazz. Chandelier and light bulb shape added to dated appearance.

Dining Room (After)
Replaced the light fixture with a clean-lined, modern alternative. After painting-out baseboards, walls and crown moldings, the contrasting paneling sizzled. Parquet flooring needed no refinishing. 

Kitchen (Before)
The dark grout lines and orangeish tile looked old and unclean. Note how the 1970s warm hues dominated the kitchen and floor— brown, red, dark orange, tan, taupe.

Kitchen (After)
Upgraded to a cooler, crisper color family (green-gray, silver and white). Added a brushed nickel single-stem faucet with a classic marble-like quartz counter. Installed contemporary surface-mounted bright LED light to compensate for lack of recessed can lights.

Bedroom 1 (Before)
Everything about the bedroom was dull and dated. The silhouettes, from the light fixture to the furniture, was a challenge.

Bedroom 1 (After)
The designer selected two-tone paint, and the dark trim really made a statement. No floor refinishing needed and we opted not to address fogged window panes since appealing elements carried the room. 

Bedroom 2 (Before)
Another dark room featuring three or four shades of orange.

Bedroom 2 (After)
Newly bright, fresh and relaxing.

Master Bedroom (Before)
The downstairs room with en suite bath suffered from warm hues and dated light fixtures.   

Master Bedroom (After)
Cleaned and oiled, the wooden walls and floors glowed. Modern light fixtures and brighter lights brought the room into the 21st century.  

Breakfast Room (Before)
Ornate wallpaper did nothing to perk up this sweet nook. 

Breakfast Room (After)
A continuation of our design principles—bright, simplified and spacious.

Bathroom (Before)
A tired-looking bathroom, including a pedestal sink like my grandparents had.

Bathroom (After)
New sink with storage cabinet, mirror for reflected light, resurfaced tile. Not perfect, but this bathroom is a lot cleaner, fresher and more attractive. 

453 Colon Ave., Resurfacing Plan

Task Cost Description
Exterior Painting $15,000 Prep, sand, wash, spot prime and final paint coat. Designer-chosen colors.
Interior Painting $15,800 Patch and sand, paint walls and kitchen cabinets. Designer-chosen colors.
Light Fixtures  $3,700 Replace lighting throughout home. Designer chosen materials.
Kitchen $6,250 Install new countertop, sink and single-stem brushed nickel faucet, designer chosen.
Landscaping $1,500 Upgrade yard, trim, edge, weed, add ground cover.
Bathroom #1 Resurfacing $4,500 Install new base cabinet, recaulk, new paint, lighting and hardware. Resurface tile.
Bathroom #2 Resurfacing $7,050 Resurface bathroom, paint, caulk, clean, upgrade.
Electrical Trim $1,550 Replace trim, upgrade to white color throughout the home.
Professional Cleaning, Power Washing $1,545 Power wash exterior surfaces, clean interior, wash windows.
Total $56,895 All work completed in 15 business days. Three weeks of advance planning to line up vendors, secure dates.

*Professional staging – one day to move in and arrange furniture and accessories ~ $6,650

Living Room (After)
Retained the upper wooden trim to draw visitors’ eyes to the unique ceiling shape.
Plenty of light and gleaming white made a frayed home look new. 

See how we presented the home

Front Yard (Before)
No flat, grassy area for children to play. All that brown dirt and bark was a turn-off. Our idea—create a large flat lawn for little cost and no required permits.

Front Yard (After)
Added a railing and flattened soil to create an attractive lawn for about $7,000. A perfect cover shot for the listing. Six large windows brought the outside in and gave parents a nice vantage point to watch children playing outside. No permits and our team transformed the spot in 3 days.

Site Conditions

  • 3-bedroom home in a neglected state
  • Old, drab finishes throughout the home
  • Yard was uninviting and unusable

Results of Our Work

  • Required 2 to 3 weeks for upgrades
  • ROI on $33,000 investment: 400% to 500%
  • Signed listing agreement at $1.199M
  • Marketed home at $1.399M after strategic resurfacing

The Numbers

  • Listed: $1.399M
  • Sold: $1.455M
  • Offers: 3
  • Days on market: 14

After Resurfacing, a 17% Higher Listing Price

This home looked so good after the resurfacing projects, Craig advocated for the rare step of boosting the listing price by $200,000. This was nearly 17% more than agreed at signing of the listing agreement.

Part of the higher value was converting the dark, barren hillside in front of the home to a coveted flat lawn for children to play, creating a lovely green view outside the living and dining rooms. The lawn was especially important for new families and younger couples, the buyers we were targeting.

The seller was very helpful and did a lot of the work himself. Yet he realized it was in his interest to leave the design, color and accessory decisions to the pros. It certainly paid off.

Kitchen (Before)
Tiled counters, wooden edges, missing cabinet doors, old enamel appliances and brown everywhere. Today’s buyers prefer cooler hues like steel gray and ice blue. Market for homes perceived as needing lots of work is limited and this one looked the part.

Kitchen (After)
Bright, symmetrical and inviting, with cool hues buyers loved. Resurfaced rather than replaced countertops. New recessed LED lights, flooring and stainless appliances, all to today’s buyer preferences. Discovered missing cabinet doors in crawl space and updated from gold to brushed nickel hardware. Transformation, ~$11,000.

Hall Bathroom (Before)
The seller was proud of the remodeled bathroom but I was concerned. Glass surfaces and lack of counter space wouldn’t appeal to the family buyers we were targeting. The dark, older base cabinet with an Asian silhouette registered as fussy.

 Hall Bathroom (After):
New, neutral-toned base cabinet and stone top yielded much more counter space and a simplified appeal, ~$4,000.

Living Room (Before)
Older shag carpet, darkness, heaviness and view of the drab yard were depressing.

Living Room (After)
Although the wood under the carpet was of varying types, we had the entire floor sanded and finished in a single rich stain. The view of the refurbished yard became an asset. $6,100 for floor refinishing.

Master Bathroom (Before)
We all remember when this peachy-colored wood was everywhere. In this application, it did nothing for the room. 

Master Bathroom (After)
LED lighting, new drawer pulls, new faucets and paint made the existing granite tiled counter come to life. $1,550

Bathroom Faucets
All fixture and faucet upgrades were selected by our stager. Our photo shoots for the property website capture the home’s best attributes, including details that show the home as fresh, modern and move-in ready.

203 Tiburon Blvd., Resurfacing Plan

Task Cost Description
Exterior Landscaping $7,000 Install new retaining wall at downslope edge and flatten elevated landscape to create a flat base for grass. Sod lawn, edge planter areas, install ground cover, trim tree branches and shape vegetation.
Interior Painting $3,400 Includes patching, sanding and painting walls and kitchen cabinets. No ceilings. Designer’s color choice.
Hardwood Flooring $6,100 Remove existing carpet, sand and stain varying wood to a single, rich color. Apply finish.
New Vinyl Flooring $1,200 Replace entire kitchen flooring in a color chosen by designer.
New Interior Lights $2,100 Install LED recessInstall LED recessed cans and track lighting in brushed nickel finish. Cost includes materials and installation.ed cans and track lighting in brushed nickel finish.
Bathroom $4,000 Install new base cabinet, stone counter, undermount sink and new faucet. Install new wall-mounted mirror and LED brushed nickel light fixture (mounted over glass). Remove existing glass shelves. Paint room.
Kitchen Resurfacing $7,900 Includes new brushed nickel handles, resurfacing of existing countertop, undermount sink, single-stem brushed nickel faucet, low-profile stainless steel range hood, replace kitchen cabinet doors and paint cool gray.
Professional Cleaning, Power Washing $1,300 Interior cleaning of all appliances, surfaces, bathroom, filters and lights. Windows washed inside and out. Power washing of exterior brick staircase, around mildew areas, etc.
Total $33,000 15 business days required to complete all work. Advance planning of 3 weeks to line up vendors, secure dates.
 * Professional staging $7,800

Hot Tub
Craig personally choreographs the photoshoot, provided at no cost to our listing clients, as part of his best practices. That’s how we communicate directly with the buyer we’re envisioning and present what matters most to them.

See how we presented the home

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