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Real Estate

How a stager refreshed a well-loved Riverdale home

By Jean Grant| Photography by Birdhouse Media
How a stager refreshed a well-loved Riverdale home

Address: 33 Langley Avenue List price: $2,050,000 Sold price: $2,050,000

The stager

Mary Helen Thompson launched her staging business, MH Thompson Home, a decade ago—but, as a real estate agent, she had already been styling her colleagues’ properties for years. “This was before staging was staging,” she says. Now, she and her team work on hundreds of Toronto properties a year. “We’re able to do anything from a total mid-century modern overhaul, to a more traditional Rosedale house where it just needs that layer of linens, pillows and accessories,” she says.

The property

A spacious, five-bedroom detached home in Riverdale that had been owned by the same family for over 50 years. (They bought it in 1966 for $22,000.) “It was an original, much-loved home,” Thompson says. “But not many upgrades had been done.”

The strategy

The house needed renovations, and so the goal was to make sure potential buyers could envision the space’s potential. Thompson kept the furnishings and decor relatively simple. She didn’t overload on window dressing (literally: she left the windows bare) and she went with inexpensive poster-style art instead of recruiting her art stylist. “I gave it the bare minimum to show what you could do in each room,” she says.

The front facade originally had ‘70s-style brown, aluminum trim. Thompson painted the exterior black and charcoal, hoping potential buyers would imagine how great it would look with new windows. She also jazzed up the front porch with trendy outdoor furniture, a funky area rug and a pot of fresh yellow mums:

How a stager refreshed a well-loved Riverdale home
How a stager refreshed a well-loved Riverdale home

After clearing the house of all its furniture and giving it a deep clean, Thompson painted the interior walls white and got rid of all of the sheer curtains. Thankfully, there were beautiful hardwood floors underneath it all. In the dining room, she swapped out the home’s original light fixture with something a little more modern, and added understated mid-century furniture. She replaced the dark oriental rug with a lighter carpet:

How a stager refreshed a well-loved Riverdale home
How a stager refreshed a well-loved Riverdale home

The family room was originally set up as an eating area. Thompson had a hunch new buyers would want to knock down the adjoining wall to the kitchen to create a family room, so she added a large area rug to cover the linoleum flooring and brought in some playful, family-friendly furniture:

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How a stager refreshed a well-loved Riverdale home
How a stager refreshed a well-loved Riverdale home

Thompson only staged one of the upstairs bedrooms. She chose the largest one, with a fireplace and bay windows overlooking the street. “We used bright colours to make it fun,” she says:

How a stager refreshed a well-loved Riverdale home
How a stager refreshed a well-loved Riverdale home

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