See How a Home Stager Turned This Ultra-Traditional Home into a Relaxed, Airy Space

published Nov 4, 2022
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Credit: Courtesy of JSquared

When homes linger on the market for a while, real estate agents are faced with a few options. They can drastically drop the price, extensively renovate, or revisit the staging. This 6,700-square-foot traditional brick home had been on and off the market for over two years by the time Laura Peery with the Steele Group Sotheby’s took on the listing. 

Peery educated the previous owners on the importance of staging and brought in Johnathan Miller of JSquared, a luxury real estate design and marketing firm, to take on the property’s styling. With its massive scale, the home needed to appeal to a specific buyer, and without staging, the space felt depersonalized and a bit too traditional. For a buyer to make this level of investment in a home, they need to see themselves living in it. 

First, the first-floor living spaces needed updates. The home had multiple living spaces all adjacent to the formal living room, and it was difficult for buyers to imagine how each room might look in their day-to-day life. One of those spaces was a formal library that didn’t seem practical to many buyers, particularly those who fit the buyer persona that Miller envisioned. 

“Every home we stage, I create the persona of the potential buyer who’s going to be living there and how they’re going to function in that space,” Miller says. “I think about what lifestyle options a buyer is going to have when they move into that area. Are they moving only for the schools? Is it going to be an empty nest situation? By creating the story, I am creating a product that appeals to multiple buyers and something that actually involves them in the home where they visualize living there.”

In this particular house, Miller explains, “I wanted the buyer to be able to feel like they had multiple options in utilizing the space versus being limited to only using the room for one specific purpose.”

Credit: Courtesy of JSquared

The first step was neutralizing the home’s faux finishes and dark colors. “The design should focus less on the decor and more on highlighting the actual architectural features that a buyer is going to be purchasing,” Miller says. “In staging, the end goal should always be to get the buyers excited about purchasing the home, not the furniture.”

In this space, the room needed to feel fresh, and it needed to show the library as an approachable sitting area that felt like somewhere you’d want to hang out and entertain. “I focused on bringing in multiple pieces that had a heavy texture and added warmth, while at the same time also adding in other key pieces that modernized the space in a way to appeal to both a traditional buyer and a modern buyer,” he says.

Credit: Courtesy of JSquared

Where the room was previously an imposing and aggressively faux finished brown and gold palette, it became light and airy, with organic textures, black accents, and light wood. This is now a place the buyer can imagine lounging with a glass of wine in the evening with a friend, or reading a magazine with a cup of coffee on a relaxing weekend morning. It’s not just a library, it’s a living space. And it’s a living space that appealed to the type of buyer Peery and Miller envisioned in this home. 

What difference did this styling make? After unsuccessfully sitting on the market for over two years, the expansive house sold for cash in the first three weeks.