A true South Orange gem, this is a traditional center hall, brick colonial that is grand and quite beautiful. Unfortunately buyers were struggling to see its true beauty because the decor made it feel stuck in the 1980’s. And, while it might be fun to go to an “80’s” theme party, home buyers don’t respond well to decor that is a throwback to that era. It’s hard for home owners (especially Baby Boomers ) to understand, but it has a subliminal impact that makes buyers feel like the home needs more work than is actually necessary and it scares them off. My challenge was to maintain the home’s character and charm yet make it feel more fresh and modern so it would be more appealing to Millenial aged buyers (30-35 year olds), while staying within a specified budget.
The final phase of staging included adding new light fixtures in several key spots, new hardware on some built-ins, a new rug and console table with bold accessories for the entry to create more drama, and a few other secrets touches. They are all detailed below in the photos. So… drum roll please:
Curb Appeal Before
Curb Appeal After
Believe it or not much of the feedback I received was very negative about the home’s curb appeal. Both buyers and Realtors said that the scrolling iron work on the front of the house was not appealing and distracted them from the overall look and feel of the home. The fact that it was white, made it protrude against the red brick background. So, I painted it and the shutters black to make them blend in more and I think it makes the house look more luxurious. The painters did not need to scrape the white paint off. They used a spray gun and went right over the existing paint.
The light gray paint creates a cooler feeling, ties in with the gray int he marble tile and is just different enough to create a distinction with the molding. I used a dark rug to ground the space and then purchased a console style table with shelves so that I could accessorize it. I replaced the heavy crystal chandelier with a modern semi flush fixture with a barrel shaped shade. I added a modern lamp both as an accessory and because the space could use additional lighting. All of the remaining accessories are from my own home. I mixed ethnicities with modern and some colorful pieces.
Living Room Before
Living Room After
Like many colonial style homes, this living room is a long rectangular shape which makes it a challenge to lay out. First we painted a deeper gray than the entry (previously it was a yellowish beige). I switched the couches to form more of a conversational setting, re-purposed the mirror from the dining room to add a focal point on the mantle and added additional accessories to the mantle to draw the eye up. To bring home the color scheme and to add some pop I bought silk gray and plum pillows for the couches. I accessorized the coffee table sparingly with a lacquer tray a book and an orchid for some height.
Dining Room Before
Dining Room After
The dining room was painted the deepest shade of gray which really brought out the architectural detail of the room. We removed the area rug, window treatments, replaced the light fixture with something bold and modern and added 1 big accessory to the middle of the table.
The kitchen is the most updated room in the house and needed very little help. The counter stools with arms were too heavy for the space around the island and it needed a pop of color. So I replaced 2 of the stools with something sleeker and added a white milk glass cake stand (something I personally collect) and accented it with pears for a pop of color.
Family Room Before
Family Room After
Though not very large, this family room is a very important space to a buyer. Its where the kids can play or friends and family can watch the game while entertaining. It is located right off the beautiful new kitchen, but felt forgotten. So we took down all the golf trophies and awards and painted the panelling and built-ins a very soft white/gray. We also took up the black floral rug and replaced it with a cow hide rug which I thought went well with the brown leather couch. We removed the window treatments and added the beautiful black and white photography and a chrome and glass table with a black lacquer box. I also sparingly accessorized the built ins with pops of color.
Master Bedroom Before
Master Bedroom After
I removed the heavy window treatments and replaced them with ready-made white linen panels with grommets, changed out all of the bedding, replaced the brass table lamps on the nights stands with crystal globe lamps with a barrel shade and replaced the overhead light fixture with a modern fixture in a shiny nickel finish.
I used a variety of resources and tried to stay within budget. The only extra expense was the amount of labor required to paint the entry, upstairs hall, living room and dining room. Even with the Benjamin Moore’s Regal Select line – which has the primer in the paint, it required 2 coats in every room because the new colors were so different from what was on the walls they bled through after the first coat.
The result is the home received an offer above list price within weeks of finishing the staging.
Here are the resources I used:
Benjamin Moore Regal Select in
Available at Riccardi Brothers on Springfield Ave in Maplewood – they will mix custom colors and they are great to work with
Entry Furniture and Accessories
8×12 Area Rug Home Goods – no online shopping- must go to the store. There’s on on Route 10 in Whippany and one on Route 22 in Union – but Route 10 has better inventory
Black Wood Console table with Shelves – Home Goods – they don’t carry any inventory, so hunt whats on the floor- I found this table hidden away
Gray Gourd Table Lamp and Barrel Shade – Home Goods
Artwork, Vases, Buddha, Chinese Red Box, and Chinese Antique Basket – personal items of mine
Mirror Over Mantle – repurposed from the dining room – brings the eye up and makes the room feel wider
2 Jonathan Adler Cream and White Vases on Mantle – my personal items purchased at Barney’s New York- they really bring out the wall color
2 Black Iron and Wood Urns – my personal items – handed down from my mom
Green Lacquer Tray – my personal item from CB2.com – a great resource for modern furnishings and accessories
Orchid – Pier One Imports – you can order on line or buy in store. They are located on Route 10 in Livingston and Route 22 in Springfield
Light Fixture – Capital Lighting on Route 10 in Livingston
Stainless Sphere – my own personal item
Saddle Style Kitchen Stools – Overstock.com – always free shipping and great assortment
White Milk Glass Cake Stand – my own personal item from an antique store
Pears – Home Goods
Cow Hide Rug – Overstock.com
Chrome Table – Target on Springfield Avenue in Union
Black Lacquer Box – my own personal item – bought on Onekingslane.com
For more information on resources, inspiration and how to make your own home more appealing to today’s buyers, contact Amy Harris