[This spare room formerly served as a place for storage, and was staged as a dining room.]
If you are wondering why our blog post output had been a little lean lately, it is because I (Rhonda) and my partner, Andrew, decided to sell our house and the move has pretty much taken over our lives.
Why are we moving? One of the hazards of touring so many inspirational spaces and meeting so many creative folks is that you want to work on your own interior expression. And while we loved our house and everything in it, we were also finding that it was just too much for two people, and the extra areas were just filling up with stuff. For all of our square footage we didn't feel like we had a lot of space.
So we decided to downsize to a co-op. While I was already purging (inspired by our Lynda's Square Foot project), I really got in the spirit of downsizing when we staged our house for selling. Staging seems like a relatively recent phenomenon in the world of real estate, but results show that it works. In fancier neighbourhoods, the listings will sometimes namedrop the designers who staged the home as a selling point!
But we're not like everybody else. After spending 13 years writing the story of our lives through our art and furnishings in this home, we now found ourselves in what felt like an exercise in erasing our history. I'd be lying if I didn't say the process brought on a bit of an identity crisis. But while we advocate feathering your nest creatively, we needed some extra help to get our home ready to appeal to as many prospective buyers as possible, and I'm certain that staging our home helped us get the best possible price for it.
Andrew and I enlisted Covet Garden's Jessica and our friend Iza (whose spaces we featured in Issues 49 and 23) of Make Good Design to help us out with the staging. The hardest part was that we had to essentially pack-up our place months before moving to get it listed in time. At first it was strange living in a place that was so spare and unfamiliar (even though Jessica and Iza tried to use as much of our own stuff as possible). But over time, the stripped-down aesthetic has grown on us.
[What was formerly Andrew's home office was set up as a kid's room.]
I want to make clear that this was not a standard staging job. Our agent told us flat-out that prospective buyers in our area would most likely want to knock down walls and redo the kitchen and bathroom, so we needed to showcase the good bones of the home without sinking a lot of money into renos or elaborate staging. Says Jessica, "Many buyers today want to make their mark on a home and plan to do extensive renos once they buy, and when staging a home, this needs to be taken into account. Our goal here was to highlight the great light in the space and suggest some more standard uses for the rooms, while using some fun, but spare furniture and accessories to appeal to creative types". Iza and Jessica pride themselves on working with all kinds of budgets and coming up with creative solutions to design problems and we were extremely pleased with what they did with very little time or money. I'd recommend contacting them if you are planning on selling your home or need some interior design help in your current space!
We were inspired by the staging process in many ways. It helped us to visualize how our treasured things could work in a different context, and, by selling off or giving away much of our furniture, clothing and bric-a-brac, we definitely feel more free to explore the future in our new home.
[The master bedroom now looks airy, bright and peaceful.]
[The paired-down living room.]
All Photos by Jessica Reid.