Oftentimes, when businesses move to a new building, they may paint some walls and bring in new furniture. For the folks at Miserlian Baker Real Estate, starting creating a home for their business — and for themselves — meant starting from the ground up.
Miserlian Baker, owned by Anne Baker and Michael Miserlian, stands out. When driving down North Cloverdale Boulevard, you can’t miss it — its bright teal exterior is reminiscent of the “eXperience Cloverdale” colors. The decision to make the building so tied to the town was deliberate.
“I wanted the house to be like it was dressed in a formal gown,” Baker said. “I just think of it as the happy house, and because I’ve always liked working from home, this is perfect.”
“The colors were actually the ‘eXperience Cloverdale’ colors from the flag,” Miserlian added. “At one point that emblem (in the center of the house) was that crazy green, but nobody got it. I finally just said, ‘it’s back to white.’”
The front of the house is the Miserlian Baker Real Estate office — two desks blocked off from the rest of the house, which serves as the couple’s home.
Baker moved to Cloverdale in 2011, but until recently, she worked for Ukiah-based Timothy Toye & Associates in an office in downtown Cloverdale. However in March, she and Miserlian filed as their own broker/agent housing duo. Baker serves in a “project manager” role, and Miserlian does more of the on-site work, like taking photos and doing inspections.
“I like it all,” Baker said, explaining what draws her to real estate. “I like figuring it out and getting the job done. I really started my personal business of real estate in 2009 after I went to Timothy Toye & Associates, and that’s when short sales started happening. I was really, really good at solving those problems. I like complicated transactions. The main point is that the person who’s buying or selling doesn’t feel the friction of the transactions.”
While the ability to put puzzle pieces together and problem solve is at the core of what pushes Baker, she also said that she strives to learn more.
“I went and interviewed other agencies outside of Cloverdale and what I found was that in all cases, except when I went down to Rohnert Park, the broker wasn’t in direct connection with the agent. So there was nothing new for me, I wasn’t going to learn anything special,” Baker said.
That was one of the catalysts in creating Miserlian Baker Real Estate — building a business that fit her interests.
When they began entertaining the idea of branching out on their own, the duo had their sights set on a house downtown.
“We had seen this one come up as a gas station, it still had the pumps and everything and I didn’t want to have that liability,” Baker said. Then when we finally started to settle on the fact that we needed to be on the boulevard, we looked and it was back,” Baker said.
While they initially thought the property was zoned in a way that would prevent them from having a house there, they soon found out that that wasn’t the case.
So, they made the move.
During the week, a whiteboard on the deck shows passersby their schedule for the day, or if they’re out of the area.
“Our main goal was to be accessible, and we are,” Baker said. “The accessibility part is our mission — to be accessible to our clients. I think that when we picked these bright colors that are inviting, we were picking ‘we’re accessible and we want you to understand that.’”
When it came to making the old property usable, they had to tear down walls and structure the building in a way that would allow them to have both their work lives and their home lives under one roof. As such, the spaces are all but separate from each other, allowing them to drift between work and home.
The house is now a mix of old and new. Miserlian Baker Real Estate is a new business, mixed with Baker’s own real estate history — the house itself is renovated with a new exterior, but with the floors and bones of the original Victorian.