It seems like just the other day that I posted a little rant about the real estate market in our part of the world. I was quite frustrated, just like a lot of other people.
Recently, we had the idea that it was time to put our home up for sale. Staying home for the last year and a half during this pandemic gave us lots of time to finish up most of our projects, and our University kids were once again heading back out into the world. We were empty nesters again, suddenly – so it seemed like the right thing to do. After a week, we decided not to sell and took our home off of the market.
We did receive some offers, but when we were looking at what to buy next, we realized that the market was CRAZY and we weren’t inspired to trade in our house for something that wasn’t as nice, and we like our neighbourhood.
In the meantime we had our house staged. I found this to be an enlightening experience. It’s not that I agree with everything that a homestager does, but seeing our home and possessions through someone else’s eyes can really help.
The Evolution of Homestaging
28 years ago when we sold our home, we painted the walls off-white, stuffed some things in the closetsand under the beds, and the real estate agent put some tulip pots on a few counters. That was it. Our enormous Bouvier even sat on the couch through each of the showings.
3 years ago, when we listed our country home, we again painted the walls off-white, packed some things into boxes downstairs, and the real estate agent brought throw pillows, fake tiny plants, and a few doodads. This time around, our boys took the dog to the dog park for each house showing appointment. We were evolving.
When we listed my late mother’s home for sale in February of this year, the real estate agent asked us to almost completely empty the house out. Many pieces of art and furniture ended up at my house, some went to a consignment store, and sadly many things were disposed of.
The home stager decided to use what she called the latest style – “Granny Chic”. She kept a few pieces and brought in some MDF style furniture from Pottery Barn. My mom would have found it funny to see her collection of Canadian art replaced by teal and white paintings, and her solid furniture replaced by disposable pieces.
A quick google reveals that Granny Chic looks a bit like “Shabby Chic”. I feel a bit encouraged, as I have loved Shabby Chic since the ’80s. Granny Chic is meant to capture the younger buyer’s imagination.
The main thing that I noticed for the homes that were staged in my mother’s neighbourhood is that they all had the same upholstered dining room chairs, and tiny white sofas. I wondered how long the same pieces got to stay in each house before they moved to another.
Finally, in our home we packed up ALOT of things and rented a storage unit for a month or so. This was a really good thing to do, as we began enjoying areas of our house that were too cluttered. Now that our house is not for sale, I am gradually bringing things back home, but trying not to bring back the clutter. Perhaps it”s time for a yard sale.
With the staging, we got the same tiny plants, lots of white flower arrangements and fluffy white pillows and rugs. Our dog really loved the rugs and throw pillows.
This time he just went for a car ride with us during the showings.
We made sure that all of the beds had bedskirts properly pleated, headboards – evenly arranged, and white bolster pillows, and white matelasse bed throws over all of the bedding that was already there. I couldn’t figure out why I loved a pair of floral pillows so much, until I realized that I had a sweater in the same fabric.
My sofas are already white, but larger in scale, so there was no need to remove them.
I can’t say that I liked the little fake plants, but I see that they are uniform in size and have little white pots. I now have my herbs inside in little pots, but no artificial plants.
I didn”t enjoy the white silk flowers, but I do see how they provide a light “focus” for a room. I miss those tulips from way back when.
Our house stager liked my mom’s furniture and art, and let me keep my antique dining room chairs, but maybe she was just flattering me.
A good house stager knows when to do a bit of give and take, and our stager was a great one. I have definitely learned a lot from our various house staging experiences, and will definitely try to keep clutter at bay. I also know that I have to be me, and stage the house for me and my family to enjoy.