How a stager brightened up a Pape Village home

How a stager brightened up a Pape Village home

Neighbourhood: Pape Village
Listed for: $980,000
Sold for: $1,085,000

The stager

Eight years ago, Nancy Bakuska was working in IT. She had been interested in designing home interiors her whole life. “I would see staging trucks go by and my heart would sink because I wanted to be a stager but didn’t know how,” she says. She took a personal development course and decided to start her staging company, Home Decor Staging and Interior Design, soon afterward.

Bakuska works with her son, Trevor, and prefers to rent the furniture they use rather than amassing her own collection. This way, she says, she can rotate in an unlimited number of pieces, which keeps her style fresh and allows her to get creative. “The houses dictate what they want to do, and I just listen to that,” she says.

The property

This two-storey, three-bedroom house is located in a quiet, family-friendly neighbourhood in East York. “It was a pretty quaint little house that just needed some help,” Bakuska says. The seller was a single mother who had lived in the home with her two adult sons for just over six years, and it was important to Bakuska that the design reflect the family’s personality and style. The property went on the market in May.

The strategy

With its large windows and spacious rooms, the house radiated charm. “My goal for the whole house was, ‘How pretty can I make this?’” Bakuska says. She painted the whole interior (except the master bedroom) a light grey, and then counterbalanced the neutral tone with rich colours and textures. Swapping out some of the more dated furniture for pale coloured, modern pieces helped to create a soft, mellow atmosphere throughout the home.

The only thing Nancy kept in the living room was the couch. She switched out the coffee table and chair for metal and glass pieces, and she added a little Pier 1 artwork above the fireplace for a cheerful, feminine touch:


The kitchen had light and dark features. To work with the existing monochrome elegance, Bakuska added black-and-white artwork and removed appliances from the counters to create the appearance of extra space:


Bakuska turned this room into another living space. She loves using sectional sofas in basements, because they make what could seem like a stuffy, cave-like area appear warm and inviting. “This area is kind of where you go to hide away and relax,” she says.


A light grey paint job made this room appear larger and less crowded than it had originally. Bakuska added some bedding with a more masculine look, for a change of style:


Bakuska kept the master bedroom’s walls turquoise. She matched white and silver bedding with the room’s existing artwork, then replaced the nightstand with a mirrored piece and added white lamps to create a polished, modern look. She also removed a maroon armchair to allow access to the closet:


Bakuska advised the seller to paint the door and frame black, both inside and out. “I often recommend black, and people find it quite shocking,” she says. She thinks a dark front door makes a house look expensive: