See How a Home Stager Warmed Up a Bland Cambridge Condo
“The home always tells me how it should look,” says designer and home stager Kate Breslin of her process. In the case of this two-bedroom condo in Cambridge, she knew the space was begging for a timeless makeover. The idea was to appeal to a wide range of buyers, yet also bring in a fun and youthful vibe.
Plus, with its location by a bustling square and close to public transportation, Breslin, owner of Kate & Company Interiors in Topsfield, Massachusetts, knew she should target a specific group of buyers: young professionals. With that in mind, she set out to design a space where buyers could see themselves living, working, and entertaining.
The condo, owned by a well-known documentarian, was a rental for many years and had its fair share of wear and tear. Because the owner was retiring, he decided it was time to sell. Once the renters’ belongings were out, Breslin was left with a blank slate — as well as a few issues and needed repairs to contend with.
“The chopped-up flooring and odd lighting layout presented problems,” she recalls. “The sliders had condensation between the panes and needed to be replaced, and a portion of the hardwood flooring was tiled where an old coal stove once stood.”
Once those repairs were complete, Breslin’s biggest challenge was configuring the open space in a way that flowed and incorporated areas for dining, relaxing, hosting friends, and working from home.
“This space had a unique layout,” she says. “I felt it was a situation where we needed to show buyers how they could use the space.” Case in point: There was an alcove with a pretty exposed brick wall but no obvious purpose. Breslin made the brick wall a focal point and created a cozy place to gather with a book or a cocktail. She added a dark mantel surround (a Facebook Marketplace find she worked a little paint magic on) and styled it with neutral-toned accessories. She then added two high-backed chairs and a stylish ottoman that could do double duty as a coffee table and a comfy place to put up your feet. A patterned rug and large urn anchored the space and fun details like a tic-tac-toe board and petite drink table added personality.
Continuing with a predominantly black-and-white color scheme, Breslin divided the remaining space into living and dining zones. A wide light-colored sofa and glass coffee table kept the seating area airy, while brown leather chairs echoed the warmth of the exposed brick across the room. For other pieces — including a console, secretary desk, dining table, and four chairs — Breslin went dark to add a little drama and contrast with the light floor and walls. A stylish desk placed between the window and sliding glass doors showed buyers that the room offered a bright spot for remote work.
In the end, the finished space also spoke to Breslin. “This was a great project to work on,” she says. “When I walked away from it, I thought, ‘I could live here,’ and I’m pretty fussy!” Many others could picture themselves there, too, and the condo sold within a few days with multiple offers all over asking price.