Marin Home / BACKSTORY
they lost out to more aggressive bidders. “I’m
from the Midwest, so the idea of putting in an
offer above the asking price was hard to wrap
my mind around,” Liza says.
However, when she fell for a San Rafael
Mediterranean charmer within walking distance of town, she knew they would have to up
their game. “We stretched a bit financially,”
Liza says. That entailed offering the sellers
$180,000 over asking. It also meant waiving
the inspections and allowing the sellers to
rent back for as long as necessary.
Oh, and there’s this: “Tony was out of
town at the time, so we put in the offer before
he’d even had a chance to see it,” Liza says.
But when his flight landed at SFO, he headed
straight to the house with just a few hours to
spare before their offer would become binding.
Fortunately, he had no objections, and the
sale moved forward. Prior to moving in, they
refinished the hardwood floors. “We also had
to upgrade the speaker wiring,” Tony says.
“The whole house was wired for sound, but
probably around the era of the first iPod.”
Other changes include adding new West Elm
light fixtures to the lower-level guest bed-
room. And at press time, the couple was poised
to embark on a down-to-the-studs renovation
of the first-floor bathroom.
As for furnishings, they got lucky. Most of
what they owned worked flawlessly in the new
space. “We did end up getting a new sofa for
the living room,” Liza says. Other additions
include two Restoration Hardware dressers
in the master, two barstools for the kitchen,
and an antique Italian sunburst mirror for
the guest bathroom. “The sellers had a mirror
just like it but took it with them,” Liza says. “It
worked so perfectly for the space, so I scoured
the internet to find a replacement.”
And while finding their ideal place wasn’t
easy, the couple couldn’t be happier with
where they landed. And about those homes
that got away? “One of them is right around
the corner,” Liza says. “I pass it all the time
and always feel happy we ended up here.” m
AFTER REN TING IN Tiburon for more than seven years, Liza Siegel and her husband, Tony Guild, agreed it was time to make the leap to become
homeowners. So they bought a town home in
Novato they thought ticked all their boxes. But
almost immediately, they began realizing that
neither the community nor the space fit their
lifestyle. “My commute got longer,” says Tony.
“And no matter what we did, we just couldn’t
get the place to feel homey,” Liza adds.
So 18 months after moving in, they began
casually viewing alternatives. “We saw a
house in Novato that we really liked,” Liza
says. “But it ended up in contract before we
had a chance to seriously consider putting
in an offer.” It did, however, solidify their
decision to move.
They then began looking in earnest.
Unfortunately, market conditions had changed
since their earlier foray into house-hunting.
And despite identifying t wo potential homes,