How a stager turned an old High Park home into a millennial-approved abode

How a stager turned an old High Park home into a millennial-approved abode

Neighbourhood: High Park
Listed for: $1,399,000
Sold for: $1,475,000

The stager

Becky Freeman ran a residential interior design and decorating business for a decade before launching her staging company in 2015. “I found that I was looking for a job with faster turnaround and greater creative control,” she says. “The transformations are a lot of fun.” She stages everything from one-bedroom condos to large Lawrence Park homes, and imprints them all with her signature style, which she describes as Scandinavian-inspired minimalism with boho accents. She’s a collector of vintage pieces, and her inventory is overflowing with all kinds of eclectic furniture and decor.

The property

The house is a classic detached home in High Park, with four bedrooms and lots of dark wood. It was owned by a family with three kids, so it had acquired some wear and tear. But there was lots of potential. “The essentials of the space were the kind that people love,” says Freeman, referring to details like the hardwood flooring and coffered ceilings. The owners moved out before she staged it, so she was able to start with a blank slate. It sold for well above asking after eight days on the market in March 2018.

The strategy

Before staging, Freeman paints all her properties white. Then, she styles each space with minimalist furniture. “A lot of stagers use pops of colour,” she says. “I like to stick to black, white and grey since they appeal to everybody.”

She always changes the lighting and hardware (kitchen cabinet knobs, for instance). “I find they make the most impact for the least investment,” she says. In the front hall, she swapped out a round pendant light for a more geometric fixture, and added a mirror and greenery. Her policy is to put at least one piece of greenery in every room:

In the living room, she painted the brick surrounding the fireplace, and, instead of a dark TV, placed another mirror above the mantel. “Mirrors are a simple way to add more space and light to a room,” she says. She used natural elements like birch trunks in the fireplace and an antler on the coffee table to add character. Even though the colour scheme is mostly black and white, it’s far from boring. Patterned rugs, interesting tchotchkes and plush pillows in a variety of different textures make the space inviting and exciting. Since the room didn’t have overhead lighting, she added two floor lamps and two table lamps:

Freeman thought the original chandelier in the dining room was beautiful, so she kept it. She swapped out the owner’s patterned drapes for plain white panels and brightened up the space with art prints of Palm Springs. “I try and find fun, quirky art that gives people a giggle,” she says. “It lightens the mood when people walk in.” The dining room chairs are mid-century finds from her collection:

Upstairs, she kept the nursery’s playful vibe, and even kept the owner’s red bureau. She swapped out the patterned shades for all-white blinds, though, and replaced the nursing chair with something a little more stylish. Freeman made sure any books and toys were displayed artfully: