Before and After: A Home Stager Leaned Into the ’80s Vibes of This NYC Apartment

published Oct 5, 2020
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Credit: Courtesy of Red Cap Productions Inc.

From the outside, 714 Broadway in Manhattan’s Greenwich Village looks to be an incredible building, offering views straight down Washington Place through Washington Square Park and all the way past New Jersey to the horizon.

But inside? One particular unit, number 6, needed some help to be sold. The owner tapped Andrew Stewart, founder and chief creative stylist of Red Cap Productions Inc., a home staging company in New York City, to work his magic on the apartment, which is a full-floor loft.

“I’ve staged a couple of apartments in here,” Stewart says. “This one was creatively carved up with curved walls to fashion individual rooms and added interior windows and glass blocks to filter light into the interior spaces. To say the least, it was dated and past its prime.”

His task? To make the two-bedroom, two-bathroom home look as appealing as possible to owners who might want to renovate. 

“To stay competitive with pricing, we wanted it to be so whimsical that you’d want to move in as-is for a little bit while you decided what to do,” he said. “We always stage to have an emotional positive response to a home. This home was going to be a blank canvas, so it was really about letting the current good energy foster all those new possibilities.”

Stewart decided that one room, which was being used as a bedroom and for storage, needed to be repurposed since the home already had enough bedrooms.

“As you can see in the before pictures, this room was living an entirely different life,” he said. “It had a near twin across the hall that we were going to keep as a third bedroom, so I wanted to take advantage of an opportunity for a casual den.”

He decided to play up the 1980s vibe in the space, which has one curved wall and one with glass bricks, when styling it.

“Now, you open a door to reveal this ‘aw yay’ total ’80s moment to punch up this casual den,” Stewart said. “I know by the time a buyer gets to this point of the tour that they will need a palette cleanser to reinvigorate their sense of curiosity and glee, and here was an opportunity to go full tilt. The whole apartment was screaming ’80s, so why not let everyone know you’re in on the fun?”

Although he admits most stagers will “neutralize” a property to make it appealing to any and all buyers, that’s “not really my thing,” he says.

“I like color and personality. I let the home take on its best life. This one nibble back in time was just the twist I needed to complete the whole story of this home.”

Credit: Courtesy of Red Cap Productions Inc.

Proportion and shape were critical concerns as Stewart set out to tackle one of the room’s biggest challenges: that curved wall. He found a large three-seater sofa from Wayfair that perfectly fit against the wall.

“It has curved arms, so even with its straight back, the overall shape can fit a little more flush to the wall than if it had squared corners poking out. It’s light gray to tie into the gray hardware on the client’s media console and floating bookcase that I had taken from another room.”

The client’s art also fit on the curved wall because it was narrow and had thin frames, so it didn’t seem out of place, he says. “It also was a nice start to a color scheme.”

At the far end of the room, an Eames-inspired accent chair that matches the floor was placed to provide “a nice destination spot,” Stewart explains. “This not only tells a guest to go there and experience the room from another perspective, but also tells your eyes to read the room from corner to corner in person and in the photograph.”

That same effect is also achieved with the pillows, Stewart notes: There’s a pink pillow on the far left of the sofa and a matching pink stripe on the far right of the pillow on the chair, which keeps the eyes moving.

The coffee table was one of two he brought in to try, he says. “Normally I’d be looking to something oval-shaped for ease of navigating around, but that didn’t check all my boxes. This one does. The wood matches the floor; the white matches the console; and the depth, width, and height were perfectly proportioned to walk around.”

Plus, the square glass top speaks to the glass bricks, while the angled legs add a final dash of quirkiness. Every detail was carefully thought out, Stewart says.

“Nothing is left for chance. The green plant height to the green book at the top of the bookcase to the height of the art to the same green in another sofa pillow—it’s all been orchestrated so you see the complete picture end to end, floor to ceiling, back to front, left to right, and you have this same experience in person.”