Before and After: See How a Bright Home Staging Job Helped a Place Sell in 3 Days

published Aug 12, 2020
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For one California couple, the chance to build their dream home was about to become a reality in 2019. The only problem? They had to unload several of their other properties first, including a Nevada City home that they only used as a crash pad between frequent trips.

While most of their properties sold well, the three-bedroom, two-bath crash pad lingered—and they couldn’t figure out why. So, they tapped Lisa Quinn, a professional stager and the owner of Lisa Quinn Home, who specializes in the Nevada County and San Francisco Bay markets.

“Not much had been changed or updated since the early ’90s when the home was built,” Quinn says. “It wasn’t their primary residence, and they would often loan it to friends when they were out of town.”

The main issue with the 2,534-square-foot home was that it appeared dark and dated, she recalls, with certain design choices obscuring its natural assets.

“They needed to paint every surface in that house—even the Douglas Fir paneling. The property was not standing out in photos. A person can sit on Zillow and look at a dozen houses in as many minutes. You have to stand out from the rest to make it in our area.”

One room in particular that needed help was the kitchen, which was extremely busy, Quinn recalls.

“There was way too much going on in there. The texture of the cabinets against the marbled tile, against the granite, against the speckled pendant lights, against the sponge-paint, against the pine column, against the mottled floor. Even the drawer pulls were hammered metal. There’s no place to rest the eye, and it made the whole space feel smaller and darker than it really was.”

By paring down some of those other textures and elements, she wanted to let the “gorgeous wood grains” of the space to pop, including the trim on the ceiling and flooring, the cabinets, and the adjacent pine column.

“All the great things going on in this kitchen were hidden,” Quinn notes.

Her three-pronged approach to brighten up and simplify the space included new paint, hardware, and lighting.

“Those are three of the least expensive, most dramatic changes you can make when you are on a budget, and you can do it all yourself,” Quinn notes.

The sponge-painted ketchup-and-mustard-colored walls were changed to a crisp white (Chantilly Lace by Benjamin Moore), while three contemporary-style pendant lights over the counter were exchanged for a trio with modern farmhouse appeal and Edison light bulbs. Streamlined drawer pulls replaced hammered metal ones to help finish off the more sophisticated look.

Although the listing had been on the market for a year before Quinn worked her magic, it sold in three days after she had staged it—with a full-cash, full-price offer.