See How a Home Stager Brought French Touches into a DC Row House

published Jul 10, 2023
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clutter, fireplace, track lighting, wood floors, guitar, picture frames, recess bookshelf, beige couch
Credit: Amir Stoudamire for HomeVisit

The location couldn’t have been more all-American — Washington, DC’s vibrant Capitol Hill neighborhood — but when interior design expert Tiffany Hardgrave took on the job of freshening and staging the three-bedroom, 1,900-square foot Victorian rowhouse there, her goal was to inject a bit of international flair. 

“The home’s owner was French and I spend summers near Nice, so French inspiration had a lot of influence on this design plan,” she says. “I wanted to open up the space with a French coastal vibe.” Using fresh paint, natural elements, and a variety of textures, Hardgrave successfully took the space from uninspiring to undeniably chic.

Although the row home’s owner had initially lived there herself, she later used it as a rental unit. After 10 years of renters, the home was left with a fair amount of wear and tear. But once the clutter and hodgepodge of furniture were cleared out, the home’s many assets were apparent. “It had fabulous bones including a large kitchen, a light-filled dining room, and a gorgeous original fireplace,” says Hardgrave, the owner of Masterpiece Staging and Design

In the living room, Hardgrave chose a new wall color — Benjamin Moore’s White Dove — to brighten and update the space. “It has a cool undertone but still reads as a warm white,” she notes. The beautiful dark fireplace popped against the freshly painted walls, making it an instant focal point. In alcoves on either side of the fireplace, Hardgrave added a light-colored botanical print wallpaper for interest. The wallpaper provided a subtly stylish backdrop for carefully chosen furnishings including a textured console, a pair of white ceramic garden stools, and a dark wood box with a vase of dramatic greenery. 

Credit: Amir Stoudamire for HomeVisit

Above the console, Hardgrave placed a modern round mirror to reflect the light from the adjacent windows. Other stylish additions to the room included a tailored sofa, layered area rugs, a hammered metal coffee table, and raw-edge wood shelving. “I chose light, unfussy casual furniture with lots of wood accents. The decor items were all natural and inspired by the casual French lifestyle,” she says. 

Throughout the rest of the home, Hardgrave was careful to give every room a defined identity. When preparing a home for potential buyers, I think it’s important to give each space a purpose that makes sense, she says. “The dining room was being used as an office by the renters and the eat-in kitchen wasn’t taking advantage of its generous space. We changed the flow by returning each space to its original purpose and added seating in the kitchen,” says Hardgrave. The kitchen also got new wood shelving to display cookbooks and decorative items. Overall, keeping furnishings neutral, simple, and contemporary helped to highlight the spaciousness of the home.

With its freshened-up French coastal vibe and prime location across the street from an elementary school within a family-friendly neighborhood, the row house was an instant hit with buyers. It went under contract to a young family within 48 hours for more than list price.