Sunday, April 29, 2012

A Well Staged Home

Revealing Revenue
Retro Style

Agent-initiated home staging reveals the best this home has to offer – hardwood floors, walls of windows, high beamed ceilings, large fireplaces, extensive outdoor living spaces – and sells in less than 2 months.

First things first, this home needs to be decluttered. Lucky for us the home owner’s daughter-in-law is a professional organizer. Unlucky for us, she lives in Maine.

She makes a few trips down and leaves us with the furniture, accessories, and bedding we need to keep staging expenses low.

This 1960s home has the original bathrooms, kitchen, and shag carpet. Now that the home is clutter free, how do we keep from going overboard? Where do we draw the line between adding value and creating a money pit?

We could spend thousands on renovations, updates and new furniture, but that could take months, and we have only weeks.

The location, price and structure of this home are perfect for a buyer looking for a diamond-in-the-rough, a clean slate for their creative vision, a move-in ready home that, over time, will become their own.

We choose to remove the distractions and highlight the home’s best features, unleashing its potential for everyone to see.

As predicted, a creative individual – an architect – purchases the home. Mission accomplished.

The privacy of a grown-up tree house, this home offers a great escape from New York City – or artist’s retreat – in Katonah, NY.

Here is just a sampling of the transformed spaces…

(Click images to enlarge)

Entry – Before Staging 

First impressions start here, standing at the front door. A few things stick out – lights that are too low, shag carpeting, clutter, paneling and no sense of a formal entry. 

 Entry – After Staging

It’s critical that this space feel fresh, new, bright and inviting. Therefore, the bulk of the budget is spent here, setting the stage for what follows. The obstacle course is removed by adding new light fixtures at an appropriate height. A simple Berber rug covers linoleum floors…doors and paneling are neutralized with paint…and use of existing furniture and accessories creates a sense of entry.

“I fought her every step of the way…” 

My favorite part of the project is getting to know the home owner. He is so proud of the results, that on the final staging day he is already escorting neighbors through the home to show off the transformation. 

The neighbors are impressed, noticing all the updates and changes, and as they “ooh” and “ah,” the owner jokes, “I fought Susan every step of the way!”

Bedroom – Before Staging 

Bedroom – After Staging

Furniture, bedding, and a lamp are reused from other spaces. Paneling is painted, wall fixture (not shown here) is updated, and blue shag carpeting is replaced. The same neutral Berber from the entry now extends into this space to visually expand the size of this tiny bedroom. Window treatments are removed for a modern look and to showcase the private setting.

Working with the home seller and agent, AtWell Staged Home’s focus on return-on-investment gets this home ready to sell without breaking the bank. 

Each project is unique.

The amount of staging is based on the starting condition of the home, budget, and willingness of the owner to participate in the process. 

Having the support and trust of the home seller – and agent – are the keys to success.

Basement Bonus Room – Before Staging

What do you do with a room that is long and narrow – like a bowling alley – and the built-in furniture faces a blank wall?

Basement Bonus Room – After Staging

For two days I struggle to make sense of the bonus room. The built-in furniture offers yet another challenge, since removing it could open a can of worms. 

Finally, inspiration. There is a very large flat-screen TV in the adjacent den. This bonus room becomes a theater and the den – with its huge fireplace and wall of windows – becomes a cozy reading room. 

The new theater is now a great room for entertaining as it also leads to a large patio. The home owner’s extensive DVD collection is used to decorate the bookcase and back shelf, helping to reinforce the theme. 

Only items purchased are 2 large pillows for the couches at just $20 each.

View more dramatic before and after pictures below…

Basement Den – Before Staging

Basement Den – After Staging

TV, beds, clothing rack and window treatments are all removed. Paint is considered for the fireplace, but all agree it will be easier for the new owner to add stone or glass tile, if applied directly to the cinder block. So we choose a large, colorful piece of art for less than $75 to warm the cold gray wall. Now this multipurpose room is a cozy den for reading, relaxing, and escaping at the end of the day.

Living Area – Before Staging 

Living Area – After Staging

Since this is the main living area, we need to show a full-size couch. For $450 a couch is purchased. The owner loves it and will take it to his next home. Only other items purchased are the fireplace art, throw and matching pillow all for under $100. Window treatments are eliminated, and the shag carpeting is taken up to reveal hardwood floors.

Dining Area – Before Staging

Dining Area – After Staging

The living room armchair – featured above  inspires the color palette. In addition to the 2 armchairs found in the home, 4 side chairs – in perfect condition – are discovered in the storage shed. Owner’s art coordinates perfectly and replaces the damaged hutch. 

Mirror wall tiles remain to keep expenses low. Not ideal, but they do brighten and enlarge the space. 

Only item purchased is a glass bowl for less than $10.

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