Most of you reading this blog are probably too young to remember Jose Feliciano's rendition of "C'mon Baby, Light my Fire," but it played nonstop on the radio when I was a kid and became an anthem of sorts. (Yes, I'm from the radio generation!)
I've been humming the song regularly while turning the lights on and off each day at our newest listing at 674 Mandana Blvd. which has reminded me once again just how IMPACTFUL good lighting can be; how it can take an average room and create a "WOW" moment. (It can.)
Not that Mandana is an "average" house by any means; it's not. This extraordinary home has been painstakingly restored from top to bottom by its highly-creative owner with the help of a talented team of individuals that consisted of an architect, designer, builder, and landscaper. Simply put, it's a work of art. Nothing was left untouched; every door, window, and wall was expertly replaced, and the house is now a shining example of what "fixers" can become, given the right vision (and a healthy budget).
What's more, although the house is essentially "new," the property has retained much of its period charm with BIG beefy moldings, several sets of French doors that open out to a sunny patio and garden, and bedroom suites that should make us all envious. It's a much better, hipper version of its former self (which was a rundown, uninhabitable 1920's shack according to the neighbors.)
But apart from the masterful renovation, it's the lighting that sets this stellar home apart - nearly every room has BOLD lighting choices accented by recessed cans, art spots, and downlighting that leave no corner untouched. In fact, the only lamp in the entire house is the one I brought in for staging purposes. The rest of the lighting is all built-in, as are the drawers, TVs, and bookshelves; good design is in the details!
Yet, Sellers often fight us on this simple request to improve their lighting (which is, unfortunately, often of the Home Depot variety).
"That chandelier was here when we bought the place." (That's exactly our point.) "Why would you want to change it?" (Because it's old.)
"We understand," we politely respond, "but we're trying to create a fresher, more updated version of your home that will appeal to a younger audience. Paint, lighting, and new door pulls are the quickest and least expensive way to present a more current version . . . "
And so it goes.
BTW, our project liaison, Jill, has become incredibly adept at identifying and specifying lighting that compliments a room, follows current design trends, and doesn't cost an arm and a leg. And with virtually thousands of attractive lighting options, and nearly all of them available online and delivered within a few days, it's never been easier to update a home's lighting. In other words, "C'mon baby, light my fire."
We promise it will make a difference in how the space feels. However, if you are that attached to the old lighting, you can even keep the fixtures we take down to hang in your new home, or better yet, donate them to Habitat for Humanity. One way or another, let's shed some light on an easily remedied problem.
How can we help you?
(P.S. - if you do love your fixtures and want to take them with you, remove them BEFORE marketing the property, or that favored light will absolutely become a matter of negotiation. Ditto for TV sets, built-in barbecues, and anything else that's attached to the house.)
Julie Gardner, has been writing The Perspective for 17 years and has published more than 650 essays. She is also a frequent contributor to the Sound Off column in the Real Estate section of The San Francisco Chronicle.