How a stager made a dark Tudor (relatively) light and airy
The Kingsway doesn’t have the same cachet as Rosedale or High Park, but the affluent Etobicoke neighbourhood has some impressive homes. The sellers of this property, who put the house on the market in mid-October because they’re moving overseas, renovated the 100-year-old Tudor six years ago. It now spans 3,939 square feet, not including a 1,632-square-foot basement with a nanny suite.
When Lori Howard left a 20-year career in social work to start Hope Designs in 2007, staging was less common than it is today, and convincing sellers of the value of a temporary interior overhaul wasn’t easy. Ten years later, she’s got more business than she can manage. She and her 11 employees spend most of their time in homes in the city’s west end. This job was a joint effort with agent Luisa Piccirilli.
Howard and Piccirilli’s goal was to maintain the Tudor charm that makes the house and neighbourhood unique, while adding modern touches for a “transitional” look. The major obstacle was overcoming the dated colour scheme and stucco walls. The first step? “De-beigeing” the house by painting the interior in shades of soft grey and blue, which they were able to do in less than a week. The colour change brightened up the interior’s dark wood trim.
The transitional approach started in the living room. Howard replaced the heavy wood furniture with lighter linen pieces to emphasize the size of the space and its brightness. To ensure the interior retained its upper-crust appeal, she also added several unique mirrors and crystal objects:
The family room was built as an addition to the house during the renovation six years ago, but Howard felt that the decor was still somewhat dated. Post-staging, the newly painted walls, lighter furniture, and grey area rug create a bright and modern look. Howard removed the owners’ sectional couch because, she said, “It cut off conversation into the kitchen.”
The dining room was fairly bare by the time Howard got to work on it. In any case, the goal was simple: play off the traditional look by leaving the old brass chandelier—but add some light, modern furniture to show how the room could comfortably fit eight or more people.
The kitchen had been redone with the rest of the house, but there was plenty of room for subtle improvement. Howard painted the walls to match the cabinets, added a new chandelier, and swapped in some new furniture upholstered with light linen to brighten up the room and match the new cabinetry:
In the master bedroom, Howard added some mirrors and crystal pieces, which she hoped would catch natural light. She thought the sellers’ four-post bed was crowding the room, so she went with a more understated headboard. She chose the artwork on the walls to match the linens: