Before and After: See How a Home Stager Turned an Office Nook into a Big, Dreamy Bedroom
In this day and age, historic homes are truly something to be treasured. But preserving history doesn’t mean a homeowner can’t update an older home to meet the needs of modern living. It’s all about achieving a balance.
That’s the goal Kara Woods—a professional stager, interior designer, and owner of Stage to Move in Danbury, Conn.—set out to accomplish when the owner of a historic 40-acre estate in Briarcliff Manor, New York, tapped her to renovate and style the home, preparing it to sell.
The 5,897-square-foot country home, built in 1928 and comprising six bedrooms and five bathrooms, had been owned by the same family for four generations. Relics from a bygone age remained when Woods set out to work, such as servants quarters and bells in each room to ring them.
“It was well taken care of, with a full-time butler and staff, but hadn’t been updated in many years,” Woods says. “The son commissioned us to update it and prepare it for the market so he could sell it. It wasn’t like our typical staging jobs.”
Her goal was to “update, neutralize, and modernize” the home while maintaining its historic character and charm.
“It has amazing bones but wasn’t working for today’s buyer pool and needs,” she says. “It felt overwhelming to do all the work if you were a buyer. But to have it completed was to show it in its full grandeur.”
Amid all the changes—updating lighting, sanding and restaining wood floors, removing wallpaper, painting, updating bathrooms—one space desperately needed a functional overhaul. Originally, in the main bedroom suite, a small sleeping area opened onto a large office space.
“It didn’t make sense to have the office in this part of the home,” Woods says.
So she staged something of a switcheroo, putting the sleeping area in the former office, getting rid of the office altogether, and reimagining the original sleeping area as a cozy en-suite sitting room.
“Now it all made sense,” she says. “This helped to sell the home and restore it for modern-day living. That is what staging is truly all about.”
To transform the new, larger sleeping area into a serene sanctuary, the built-ins were removed; the dated green carpet was replaced with a neutral cream carpet; and new light fixtures, including a chandelier over the bed and recessed lights, were installed on the cathedral ceiling. A soft, neutral gray paint on the walls replaced the green and complements the crisp white trim.
The bed was situated to face the focal point of the room: a large arched bank of windows, with a set of French doors in the center, that leads onto a terrace. Abundant natural light floods the space.
Meanwhile, in the sleeping-area-turned-sitting-room, the original wood floors were restained, and the walls and built-ins were painted gray and white to compliment the adjacent room.
Perched atop a fluffy rug, a cozy settee and an upholstered ottoman faced the fireplace, which was painted crisp white. Now, it’s the ideal spot for morning coffee, an evening nightcap, or anything in between.
While the estate took a little time to sell, which isn’t unusual with such high-end properties, the owner was thrilled with Woods’ work.
“It was truly a labor of love for me to work on this project and to help this estate come back to life,” she says.