The first thing I fell in love with in our house was the cedar-lined ceiling in the living room. That, and the striking red wall over the fireplace. I just loved those two things, so much that I felt like I didn’t even care what the rest of the house looked like.

Over the years, we’ve put a lot of work into this place. We tore it apart at both ends and added a living room, an office, expanded a master bedroom and added a master bath. We added the two-car garage which has become the Man Shop. We expanded and updated the tiny kitchen. We replaced the carpeting with hardwood floors.

Was it worth the expense? I’m not entirely sure. We thought it was a great investment at the time, and for a while our market value soared. Then, of course, it crashed, like everyone else’s.

The renovations have made this a wonderful home to live in, though, and for that reason I don’t regret the effort and money. I hope we can get a fair price when it comes time to sell. I’m worried that we won’t. I’m worried because there are plenty of houses nearby that aren’t selling, whose FOR SALE signs have gathered dust over the months they’ve been on the market.

We had some realtors—from an agency that touts their quick sales and aggressive marketing—come through and look at our house, and the first thing they told us to do was paint the ceiling. Paint the red wall, too. People want neutral tones, they said. Oh, and you’ll need to price your house 40K below what you were thinking.

It’s the weirdest thing, I don’t know why that bothered me so much. They’re just doing their job, right? Telling us what, statistically, helps sell a house. It’s advice we can take or leave. And yet I thought, fuck these guys. Fuck ’em right in the ear. The fuck if I’m going to cover up the very things I fell in love with, years ago. The fuck if we’re going to give up on our asking price without even trying.

Everything about this is hard, right now. Hard choices and scary possibilities and people telling us we’re making bad decisions. Money worries, god. I don’t know what the right answers are.

So what else is there to do, but go forward with hope? Hope that someone else falls in love.

house_wall

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Stephanie B
Stephanie B
12 years ago

Painting that ceiling would be a mistake. A big mistake.

Betsy
12 years ago

I just researched and wrote no fewer than 5 articles on paint colors to sell your home, and as long as the colors are in keeping with your home’s style, they’re fine. Don’t bother painting. And neutrals don’t necessarily sell either, so ignore that advice always.

Jae
Jae
12 years ago

If I’ve learned anything from realtors is that they don’t know much. We had a realtor come through our house and swore up and down we could sell it for $20K more than we thought.

We later decided not to sell and he said it was a good thing, that he didn’t think we’d be able to sell it without taking a loss. The fuck??

Do it your way, try it. If it doesn’t work, at least you have jumping off points. But I agree with the above commenters, don’t paint that ceiling!

I wish we were still in the market for moving to Seattle. We’d buy your house so fast. Your location, the size of the house, etc. is everything we’re looking for. Makes me sad.

Jae
Jae
12 years ago

Oh, duh, and I forgot to say that I wish you the best of luck.

Jessi
12 years ago

I’m at a loss as to why they’d tell you to paint the ceiling. You’re supposed to enhance the house features, not hide them!

I just bought my house and I was able to look past paint colors. I think most people now can. But honestly, I wouldn’t change anything about that room, it’s beautiful!

Best of luck.

Amy
Amy
12 years ago

FWIW, I’d consider painting the red wall (maybe a shade or two darker of the same color on the other walls) but NO WAY would I paint that ceiling. Also, there is such thing as pricing a house too low also – look at the search engines people will be using and see what the price ranges are. When changing a price, the most momentum you’ll get is moving out of one search criteria and into another, so maybe that can help you decide. I see no reason not to start higher and drop if necessary, especially if there is no sell-by date. When does school start out there? Around here most people want to move by the start of the school year, so it might be better to get it on the market faster rather than take the time to paint too. All things to ponder and I’m not sure there’s one right choice. It’ll all work out in the end.

Anonymous
Anonymous
12 years ago

Realtors will always tell you to paint shit. They are not always right. Please PLEASE do not paint that ceiling!! It’s gorgeous; it’s the most beautiful thing about your house (from what I can tell in the pictures you post). And don’t bother with the red wall, either. I LOVE a red wall, and it will help your house be memorable.

Be true to yourself and your own design sensibilities. The house will shine BECAUSE of what you’ve done to it, not despite it.

Chloe
Chloe
12 years ago

The house we bought had an orange living room, a lavender bedroom, and a hideous olive green/ dark gray bedroom (that was the first to go). The kitchen is a dark sage green, and the bathroom is yellow. And we loved the colors… though we painted the olive green room (it was like a pit, and it’s the smallest room in the house) and we just painted the lavender room too. The orange is not something we would have picked, but it looks great!

I like color, and I like seeing it in houses, because I will paint over any boring nude colored walls! Also, love the ceiling. Don’t cover up selling features! Cedar is gorgeous!

Jen
Jen
12 years ago

I just went through this here in Vancouver BC area. I found a realtor I really liked, who was comfortable doing things our way and plus, seemed a bit like us – new baby, young guy, etc. We wanted to develop a relationship, not just some dude who dispensed advice on how to sell. We also priced high, and were patient. My only true piece of advice is trust your gut. Oh, and when you get lowballed – and you will – don’t get offended. Your home is just a house to them.

Audrey
Audrey
12 years ago

Oh, my, we’re going through this same thing! Other people’s opinions are so hard, even when they think they are helping. Make the decisions that are best for you and your family – you do still have to live in that house.

Ashleas
Ashleas
12 years ago

LEAVE. THAT. CEILING. I LOVE IT.

I love wood in a house. unpainted, pretty wood. It’s a beautiful wood.

Sure paint the red wall.. but go with a rich, warm, brown taupe or ocher to keep the same feeling. :D Just some tips from someone who watches WAY too much HGTV.

adequatemom
12 years ago

I love those two things as well. Don’t change a thing, baby, you’re gorgeous!

If people want a neutral colour, THEY can paint it. GAWD.

Artemisia
12 years ago

Oh, do not paint that ceiling. That would be such a shame. It is such a wonderful transition into the yard in the back, and is warm and gives the room so much character. Fuck the realtors. Do not paint that. Nope.

Therese
Therese
12 years ago

Wow, what tough decisions. I think selling a house is one of the most painful experiencies and not just because of the poor market conditions of late. Complete strangers come in and judge a place that you have made your home. Even if you’re pretty decided that you’re leaving it, it’s so hard to hear someone else say they don’t like or would change something about YOUR HOME!

I would suggest interviewing, getting info from a few different realtors. My experience has been that they all have their own “gimmick” that makes them successful. Figure out what that is and then decide if you can go with that. For instance if the “gimmick” is low pricing for a quick sell, decide how quickly you need to sell. If the “gimmick” is complete staging/neutralizing of the home’s personality, decide if you can live in your house with all the “personal” removed.

I think it all comes down to how quickly you want out and a whole lot of chance…

Good Luck!

MichelleH
MichelleH
12 years ago

Paint the ceiling…?!?! No. It’s beautiful. You don’t need me to tell you that.

I’ve heard that advice about the wall paint and don’t really get it….when house hunting I’ve never paid much attention to paint. I can always paint over it, if I don’t like it.

As others have said, I don’t see the harm in trying it your way first. And yeah, you obviously have to go for the price you want, otherwise what’s the point in trying to sell it?? That’s what this whole home ownership thing is supposed to be about, right? A stepping stone to your dream house (I am SOOOOOO upside down right now it’s tragic, but I will live vicariously through you).

Someone will fall in love with it like you did.

MRW
MRW
12 years ago

Oh paint the ceiling is just bullshit. That ceiling is lovely. I tend to think that the advice to paint everything bland is kind of a crock. We’ve bought several houses over the years and have been well able to imagine rooms in colors other than the ones they were at the time we looked at the place. Painting is nothing. Hell I’ve even removed wallpaper and although that SUCKED, I’d do it again if the house it was in was one I loved.

Ashley
Ashley
12 years ago

I wouldn’t paint that ceiling, but I would suck it up and paint neutrals. Dress your house to sell. It’s just a little paint. Seems a pretty small concession in an attempt to move to your dream home. The person who buys your home may redo it all in dusty rose carpeting for all you know!

Victoria
12 years ago

I’m sure someone will fall in love just like you did!

Aunt Linda
12 years ago

The idea of painting that wall and ceiling just breaks my heart. No kidding … tears here and I don’t see all that well to begin with. I remember viewing your home for the first time and feeling so proud of you and JB for buying such a lovely place in such a terrific area, so close to a wonderful-looking elementary school. It seemed such a GROWN UP thing to do … I guess I’d thought of you as kids before that. Linda, I feel so very sad that ‘The American Dream’ is unstuck in time for you right now, and for some time to come. Real estate was supposed to be so safe. Another belief shattered, just like that. One thing for sure … you two make good, thoughtful decisions. That’s more than most of us can claim. PS> Please provide the address so I can hunt that colorphobic realtor to earth and share with him/her a piece of what mind I have left.

jen
jen
12 years ago

We recently sold our house. It had a red kitchen and we debated painting it SO MANY TIMES but it was one of the reasons I loved our house and if we couldn’t get it sold, I didn’t want to give it up. We ended up selling at a loss, which totally sucks, and we now have nothing to show for the house, the improvements, all the work. And yet, we are all so much happier now. I had to tell myself many times that selling our house was NOT a financial decision. It just wasn’t and we would not have sold it if it were. Good luck!

Rachel
Rachel
12 years ago

Those realtors were high on too many paint fumes if they think paining that gorgeous ceiling is a good idea. There are many, many hungry realtors out there willing to work hard for you to sell your house. Shop around for realtors, ask for recommendations from friends and co-workers (and ask them why they liked their realtor). Find someone who will sell your house like a home.

Over your years of posting photos of your renovations I have coveted your house. If I had any hope of scraping together a down payment (and could convince my wife to move north) I would buy your house in a hearbeat. Hell, I’d buy your furniture, too. I cannot imagine that I am alone in this. If it does not sell quick as is, you can re-evaluate, don’t let some slimeballs looking for a quick commision discourage you this early in the process.

Cass
12 years ago

I know you’ve had enough comments telling you not to paint that beautiful ceiling so I’m not even going to go there.

But as someone who’s been looking for a house since October in the Seattle-ish area I have to say that having a red accent wall is no biggie. The key is to check out what similar houses are going for and to price appropriately. If you house is priced right, someone will snag it in a heartbeat. We found one last week that just accepted our offer because it was fair. Unlike the other house we’ve been keeping an eye on because their asking price is at least 40K over what everyone else’s was.

Emily
Emily
12 years ago

The realtors are wrongwrongwrong. I can sort of understand about the red wall, but that’s the sort of thing that, if someone loves the rest of the house and hates the wall, they’ll think, “Well, that’s easy enough to paint.” Covering up that beautiful ceiling is just a crime. Hmph. You’re exactly right.

Anonymous
Anonymous
12 years ago

The buyers who would be interested in your house will find it even if their realtor doesn’t bring it to their attention! That’s the power of the internet…and that’s what happened to us. The buyer insisted on seeing our house even though her realtor had rejected it because it wasn’t neutral enough. Turns out, the buyer loved our use of color. We had an offer we could live with in less than two weeks.

I suggest you find a realtor who specializes in homes that aren’t all neutral, homes that may have some unique features. Good luck!

michelle
michelle
12 years ago

Sorry, I didn’t mean to leave an anonymous comment. That’s me at 11:03 am. :-)

Anne
12 years ago

I agree with all above: DON’T paint the ceiling!!!! Painting is cheap and easy, and if people are philistines who want to paint over beautiful cedar beams, then they can easily do it themselves.

Also? One entire wall of our kitchen is RED. Some people like it, others hate it. I figure it would be the same if we had beige walls.

(I, personally, HATE neutral colors and if I ever bought a house with neutral colors it would be a rainbow by the following month).

Jae
Jae
12 years ago

One other thing I thought of re: realtors.

If they’re a good realtor working for YOU (a sellers realtor, not a buyer), they’ll do their best to encourage people to look past paint since that’s easy to change. When we bought our house, our realtor told us over and over to not get hung up on paint since if we hated it, we can do something about it.

Lori
12 years ago

Do not paint that gorgeous ceiling! F’em, I say! If my husband and I walked into your home, I can tell you that we’d say, “Why on earth did they paint that gorgeous wood ceiling with those lovely beams?”

Also, red walls are funny… we have a family friend who is a successful artist. She says that in the art world, red is actually a neutral color that many artists use to hang their paintings on. So, go figure! We have a red wall, and I don’t know if I could be persuaded to paint over it.

Good luck, I know how frustrating it can be! I love the picture of your living room… we have a wall of windows just like yours… I had to do a double take!

kristi
12 years ago

I am a long-time lurker here to share a small piece of assvice concerning pricing your home. We just sold our house last year. One of the first things our realtor told us was that the price has to be absolutely right when the house hits the market. The reason is because of the whole “You never get a second chance to make a first impression” idea. If the house is priced too high and it sits on the market too long, your house, no matter how beautiful (and it is beautiful) will lose its “wow” factor. People will beging to wonder what’s wrong with it, and why it hasn’t sold. A new house hits the MLS and people immediately jump on it if it fits what they’re looking for. If it’s not priced correctly right out of the gate, you won’t get the buzz factor, and in a down economy, the buzz factor is huge. Okay, assvice over.

agirlandaboy
12 years ago

I worry about this when it comes time to sell our house too. This place is…unique to put it mildly. The previous owners did all kinds of kooky stuff to it, and although a lot of the features are the things that we fell in love with, that’s also why the house sat on the market for five months and we got it for a comparative steal. We actually ran into the realtor a year or so later, and she told us she’d made the owners paint the walls white and tried her best to make him take out the hot tub. We told her we painted the walls purple and dark gray and dark blue and dark red and that we spend as much time in the hot tub as we can. When the old homeowner stopped by to see the place a few months ago, he was tickled that the place had passed down into the right hands–ours.

Eva
Eva
12 years ago

The people who bought our last house saw it at the worst possible time — when it was full of moving boxes and half packed and strewn with crap, wall to wall. They’d been just driving through the neighborhood with their realtor and impulse-stopped to ask if they could see it. They walked through the horribly messy orange-painted living room, yellow kitchen (with yellow and white checked tile floor), red bathroom, blue bedroom, purple bathroom etc etc and the next day made a full price offer. People want neutral tones my ASS. Don’t change a thing.

Shawna
Shawna
12 years ago

I would list as-is and maybe paint the red wall if too much time passes or you get negative feedback on it.

The selling price though… ask for a list of comparables to see what they’re basing the asking price on. The fact is that most people think their house is worth more than it is. Any appraiser will tell you that people almost always over-estimate the value of their home. BTW, I’m not saying you’re automatically one of those people because your home is beautiful and you may be right and the realtor may be wrong. Also, a realtor that trades on a reputation of selling fast may have earned that reputation by repeatedly pricing on the low side.

Have you considered trying to sell it yourself first? You can list at a little bit less if you’re not paying commission on the sale price and still walk away with more in your pocket. Here it’s standard for the realtor to get 5% and here’s a tip: if you offer to co-operate with realtors who represent buyers at 2.75% it gives buyers’ agents motivation to deal with you before you list with an agent who will only give them 2.5.

Of course, I don’t know what your timeframe is like, which could make a lot of this moot.

Remember, it only takes one buyer. The key is finding that buyer. My fingers are crossed for you!

Kriss
12 years ago

Realtors like that are the reason I’m no longer a realtor. Smug, smarmy, sanctimonious, self-righteous assholes. Go on Zillow and find other properties in the price range you’re thinking, and *you* will find a price you’re confident with.

Also, if you do list with a realtor, ask for some references from past sellers before you sign and don’t agree to a listing contract that’s longer than 120 days. They’ll probably try and bully you into a 1-year contract, but 4 months should give them plenty of time to market your home.

FWIW, without the red wall, I think the red rug will look odd & the whole room will be thrown out of balance. As it is now, the huge windows, warm colors, and cedar ceiling are dreamy.

Laura M
Laura M
12 years ago

Four adults are sitting her saying “Fucking hell!!! Don’t paint over the cedar ceiling!!!!!!!!!!! Please. :)” And keep the red wall too. ‘Cause red kicks ass.

Sending you most excellent house selling vibes.

Laura M
Laura M
12 years ago

My boyfriend adds… You’re house has a chunky ceiling. http://www.ted.com/talks/malcolm_gladwell_on_spaghetti_sauce.html

Cara
12 years ago

We’re house shopping right now (unfortunately not in Seattle) and the houses that appeal to us are those that feel like home and have interesting details. Its so much easier to envision what you’d do when the house isn’t blah. We can always decide what color we want to paint a wall.

Nora
Nora
12 years ago

We just sold our first home in Seattle. Our house was only on the market for a month, sold to a woman who had been driving by and saw the For Sale sign, this was after 3 open houses, and one price reduction. We cleaned up the yard and fixed paint in the bathroom that we had messed up a few years ago. We kept the red wall upstairs, and blue and orange in the living room and kitchen. I’d say the overall effect was the house was well cared for, and unique to the other 500 townhomes on the market in Seattle. You can try to please the masses in every way but it just takes the right person walking by to want it to get it sold.

Melissa
12 years ago

Dear GOD if you paint that ceiling I’ll… well, I don’t know what I’ll do, but please, for the love, Do Not Paint That Ceiling.

bobbi
bobbi
12 years ago

While I agree with you that painting the ceiling and the wall is just plain sinful, as a former realtor I just want to say that if you don’t make all the adjustments they ask of you, then if the house doesn’t sell you really can’t argue with them about it. Kind of like breech of contract; you hire a professional realtor and then say no to their professional advice… why pay the money for a realtor if you’re not going to let them do their job?

Sundry
Sundry
12 years ago

Bobbi: yeah, we’re not hiring that agency.

Bobbie
Bobbie
12 years ago

Follow your gut–It has always lead you to where you were meant to be…..

gg
gg
12 years ago

Do not paint that gorgeous ceiling! We have a cedar 4 season room, it is the best part of the entire 3400 sq ft…. your room is gorgeous,,, just wait for the right person..
They can decide about painting the red wall.:)

Liz
Liz
12 years ago

I’ve been keeping an eye on houses in my neighborhood (we still can’t afford to buy, but we’re getting closer gradually). The range is all over the place, from showstoppers to places that need gut renos and have title issues. They are selling at all levels, but the thing that appears to be key is to actually price the house right and forget about things like accent walls.

I adore your ceiling and the huge windows, which remind me of the house I grew up in. I can’t say I’m into red walls, but it certainly wouldn’t keep me from buying your house if I loved it otherwise.

Wood ceilings do keep light from bouncing off into the room, though, and so sometimes the room can read as dark even when there is good natural light. You could probably compensate for that pretty easily with an additional floor lamp or two.

Emily
Emily
12 years ago

Please please please do not paint that ceiling, or the wall. The ceiling is gorgeous and the red wall plays off it well. I rent and I am so incredibly sick of neutral, for the love of god realtors and landlords, color is okay!

sarah
12 years ago

I say screw the realtor also. I really doubt that people would choose not to buy your home simply because of a wall color. I personally love the shots of your house and the red wall. Good luck!

katie
katie
12 years ago

just a thought–ranch houses are appealling for a lot of reasons..older people looking for a home to retire in (no stairs). my parents purchased a ranch for that reason. it may also appeal to those with small kids. good luck!

shygirl
shygirl
12 years ago

OMG. Who the HELL would paint that ceiling? Don’t paint that ceiling! Seems to me that doing so would actually devalue the house, because anybody who appreciates the wood is now going to have a ton of refinishing work ahead of them. There are plenty of people with good taste (like yours, as far as I can tell from the photos you’ve posted) and who would CRY to see that ceiling get painted. Don’t do it!!

(I love the red wall, too!)

Brenna
12 years ago

Leave that ceiling. It might be regional, but here in New England that’s a selling point, I think it’s beautiful. I also don’t understand the HGTV/realtor bull about painting neutral colors. I mean sure if your entire house is an ode to Tiffany blue, but it’s paint people. It’s not fecking Sharpie.

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Jenny
Jenny
12 years ago

Holy crap—I wish I had the money to buy your house :) I love it!

I agree about not painting the ceiling. That’s stupid.

I’m neutral (ha!) on painting the wall. I just bought a townhouse and I was turned off from places with paint colors I didn’t like. I know it’s just paint, but I’m single and don’t have the time or the expirence to do a lot of painting. So I steered clear of houses that required any work. But your house won’t be bought by a single, first time home buyer most likely, so they won’t be as intimidated as me.