How a stager turned a cluttered home into a $1.6-million showpiece

How a stager turned a cluttered home into a $1.6-million showpiece

The exterior. The exterior.
 Photo by Rob Holowka/Birdhouse Media, courtesy of Geoffrey Grace

Address: 5 Elton Crescent
Listed for: $1,559,800
Sold for: $1,559,800

The property

The sellers bought this Etobicoke home as a bungalow in 2009 and then renovated it beyond recognition. The new house is boxy and modern, and it’s all decked out in ipe wood, steel, stucco, and aluminum, with a central atrium that allows lots of natural light inside. It also has some environmentally friendly features, like a green roof and a grey water system. It went on the market on May 10 and sold two days later.

The stager

Laura Dobell founded Modern Staging in 2010. Today, with a team of five other people based in Leslieville, she stages anywhere between 11 and 15 properties in a month. She likes to shop for staging inventory at SoFA (a trade showroom in Mississauga), Renwil, West Elm, Stylegarage, CB2, and Casalife.

The strategy

One of the home’s sellers was an artist, so Dobell used his original artwork throughout the house. In another nod to the sellers’ taste, she kept some of their existing furniture, mingling it with her own pieces to make the interior look light and spacious. In the living room, she matched a white Gus Modern sofa with some grey occasional chairs from Structube:

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The living room. The living room.
 Photo by Rob Holowka/Birdhouse Media, courtesy of Geoffrey Grace

This small room between the den and the front of the house was a child’s play area, but Dobell thought it would look better as an office. “So many people are working from home these days, or take work home with them. If there’s enough room in the property, it’s important to show a work area,” she says. She removed everything in the room and replaced it with her own inventory, including a smoke-coloured chair from Morba:

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The den. The den.
 Photo by Rob Holowka/Birdhouse Media, courtesy of Geoffrey Grace

In more traditional homes, Dobell tries to create a feeling of coziness. Here, she wanted to show off the distinctive architecture, so she went for clean lines and a palette of whites, greys, and neutral tones. She tends to use mid-century inspired furniture because it can be tailored to a variety of interiors. “So much modern furniture these days is mid-century inspired, because there were so many fantastic designers at that time,” she says.

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The dining room. The dining room.
 Photo by Rob Holowka/Birdhouse Media, courtesy of Geoffrey Grace

Her strategy throughout the staging was to open up the house and create the impression of more space. In the master bedroom, only some small tweaks were required. She removed some window curtains to open up the space, and because their colour wasn’t complementary:

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The master bedroom. The master bedroom.
 Photo by Rob Holowka/Birdhouse Media, courtesy of Geoffrey Grace