Staging a Storybook Cottage - Before and After Photos

Home Stager with Leslie Olson Interiors

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As I transition my business focus from Real Estate Staging to return to Interior Design (there is a difference in the two professions!), I've been going through photos from my recent staging projects here in Marin County, California. I'll be posting some of my favorite before and after photos for you in the coming days.


 Storybook Cottage Exterior - Staging by Leslie Olson Interiors


Of all the houses I've staged the past five years, this charming shingle-style cottage was my daughter's favorite, and I half-think she was trying to persuade me to buy the house! (She still sighs audibly when looking at the pictures.) Alas, this character-filled home was snatched up quickly after staging, and sold right away. While the property and Mill Valley neighborhood had lots going for it...let's just say that the house needed a bit of staging help transform it from an old house into a delightful home appealing to potential buyers.

Here are some photographs taken before and after staging by Leslie Olson Interiors:


Storybook Cottage Living Room Before - Staging by Leslie Olson Interiors

Storybook Cottage Living Room After - Staging by Leslie Olson Interiors


Storybook Cottage Dining Room Before - Staging by Leslie Olson Interiors

Storybook Cottage Dining Room After - Staging by Leslie Olson Interiors


Storybook Cottage Back Porch Before - Staging by Leslie Olson Interiors

Storybook Cottage Back Porch After - Staging by Leslie Olson Interiors


Storybook Cottage Bedroom Before - Staging by Leslie Olson Interiors

Storybook Cottage Girls Bedroom After - Staging by Leslie Olson Interiors


Storybook Cottage Master Bedroom Before - Staging by Leslie Olson Interiors

Storybook Cottage Master Bedroom After - Staging by Leslie Olson Interiors



For more photos from Staging by Leslie Olson Interiors, please visit:


Contemporary Oasis in the Redwoods - Before and After Photos

Historic Wooded Hideaway - Staging Before and After Photos

Contemporary Craftsman Before and After - From Vacant House to Inviting Home

Mill Valley Film Festival - Outdoor Art Club - Before and After Photos

Modern Architecture Staging Photos

Staging for Traditional Home Architecture and Style

Staging Success - Downplaying Tween's Green Wall Paint

Mirror, Mirror on the Wall...Or Not - Staging Small Spaces

Marin Home Staging - What a Difference a Door Makes 



Thank you for stopping by!


Leslie Olson - Leslie Olson Interiors  Leslie Olson, ASID


Leslie Olson Interiors     Marin County, California     415-233-2633

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Leslie Olson Interiors - Austin, Texas


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Comments (18)

Lorraine Sayer
Monument, Black Forest, Falcon, Fountain homes - Colorado Springs, CO
Realtor ABR,CDPE,GRI - Colorado Springs,CO RE/MAX

Amazing changes you made. Well done.  I never tire of looking at a pros before and after photos.  

Feb 18, 2011 10:59 AM
Julea Joseph
Reinventing Space - Chicago, IL
Julea Joseph House Stager - Reinventing Space

Lovely Leslie,
Love your use of color, you're non-matchy matchism, and design aesthetics!  Bravo.  How come you're flipping back?

Feb 19, 2011 12:24 AM
Maria Tobin
Staged For Success - Huntersville, NC

Good luck to you Leslie as you transition to Interior Design.  I look forward to more B&A pictures.

Feb 19, 2011 07:36 AM
Leslie Olson
Leslie Olson Interiors - Austin, TX
Interior Design and Redesign - Moved to Austin!

Lorraine -- Thank so much for your comment! It's always fun looking at before and after transformations, isn't it? I can't resist them myself.

Julea -- It's funny you mention my pet peeve, "matchy-matchy" -- something I've always tried to avoid in interior design, but through the years have grown to use more comfortably in real estate staging. I'd rather strive for harmonizing than matching...though that's hard to define too!

To your question: as much as I've loved staging the past five years (and I genuinely have), I've re-examined the costs of an ever-growing inventory --particularly the costs of storing it -- as well as where I want to be professionally in the next few years. For a multitude of reasons, it's a natural time to move on to the next chapter of my design career. I'm excited about the adventure!  Thanks for your comments, Julea!

Thank you also for your kind words, Maria! I've got a lot more pictures to share of other projects -- the trick is matching up the "before" shots with the "after" ones -- they aren't always easy to coordinate! Active Rain is a great forum for photos though, isn't it?

Feb 19, 2011 10:09 AM
Janice Ankrett
Burlington, ON
Staging Professional

Leslie, I love the porch. I wish I could be out on mine now. All the rooms look so inviting ... well done.

Feb 19, 2011 11:32 AM
Shar Sitter
Rooms With Style - Minneapolis, MN
Home Staging and Redesign Minneapolis/ St. Paul, M

What an adorable house. I can see why it was one of your favorites. You did an amazing job.

Feb 19, 2011 03:40 PM
Maureen Bray Portland OR Home Stager ~ Room Solutions Staging
Room Solutions Staging, Portland OR - Portland, OR
"Staging Consultations that Sell Portland Homes"

Leslie -- this home is chock full of charm and character and your staging made it memorable!  I want to move in!!

Feb 19, 2011 07:26 PM
Wanda Richards
Shows Great Home Staging and Web Solutions - Roanoke, VA
Shows Great Home Staging

I love what you did with this space and I love your color choices.  Good luck with this new chapter in your life.  I hope you will continue to share your photos with us.

Feb 19, 2011 11:42 PM
Kathy Nielsen - Marietta, GA
Atlanta Georgia Home Stager

I've missed you, Leslie. Glad to see you posting some before and afters before you head over into the world of interior design.

Congratulations. Your home staging is being featured in the group Staging Before and After Pictures.


Feb 19, 2011 11:53 PM
Amy Bly
Great Impressions Home Staging/Interiors - Montville, NJ
Styling Homes for Selling and Staying


Love this house, too, just like your daughter -- I absolutely love the charm of the woodwork, the built-ins, the fireplace, the hardwood floors in that giant sunroom (?I think that's what it is). I'd also be interested in why you're going into interior design -- something I often think about as well. I'm guessing more money might be one reason! Can you fill us in? 

Feb 20, 2011 07:13 AM
Michelle Finnamore
Toronto GTA, Alliston, Newmarket - Vaughan, ON
Preparing your property for sale

HI Leslie, I love this character house as well. I am looking to get moved by June and just can't seem to find a house like this one where I am looking. Of course I want to find it before a stager has staged it so that I get to buy it for less! 

I love your work and try to harmonize the colour palette throughout a home instead of matchy matchy as you say. Best of  luck in your turn in the road. I know you will be doing what makes your heart sing.

Feb 21, 2011 09:55 AM
Chrissie Sutherland
Ready Set Stage - Greensboro, NC

I want to live there!!  Love what you've done to really show off the great character of this home.  Beautiful job.  

Feb 24, 2011 09:39 AM
Leslie Olson
Leslie Olson Interiors - Austin, TX
Interior Design and Redesign - Moved to Austin!

Janice - Thanks for writing! I'd love to be out on that porch right now too -- but it'd be a bit chilly today, with rain (even possible snow!) forecasted. Actually that room was a bit of a head-scratcher at first, because it was originally used as a child's play-room, complete with tumbling mats. It was fun watching the personality of the room transform with staging.

Thanks for your kind words, Char, Maureen, and Wanda! It definitely helps to work with a home that's already filled with character and charm.

Great to hear from you again, Kathy! And congratulations on your much-deserved award! I'm honored to be featured in your group -- thank you so much!

Best of luck in your search for your character-filled home, Michelle -- what an exciting prospect! I'll keep positive thoughts going for you...

Thanks for commenting, Chrissie! More project before and after photos are soon to come...

Feb 24, 2011 02:11 PM
Allegra Dioguardi
Styled and Sold Home Staging and Staging Training - Westhampton Beach, NY
Home Staging & Training, Suffolk Co. Long Island

I agree with your daughter.What a charming home!  Would you look at the size of that crown molding! As always, your work is just lovely. Thank you for sharing.

Feb 25, 2011 03:31 AM
Leslie Olson
Leslie Olson Interiors - Austin, TX
Interior Design and Redesign - Moved to Austin!

Great to hear from you again, Allegra! I appreciate your comments, they mean a lot to me!

Feb 25, 2011 06:04 AM
Tori Toth
Tori Toth, International - Howard Beach, NY
888.667.6643 NYC & Beyond, HSR, SAR, RESA, LIBOR

such a big difference, what kind of furniture placement was that in the living room people are clueless.

Feb 25, 2011 07:50 AM
Leslie Olson
Leslie Olson Interiors - Austin, TX
Interior Design and Redesign - Moved to Austin!

Tori -- I think the previous renters (from the Before pictures) were more focused on having a home that their little girl could frolic through than having adult space -- almost every room was arranged as a wonderland for her (to include the master bedroom and the porch area below).

Storybook Cottage Master Bdr Before

Master Bedroom Before Staging


Storybook Cottage Porch Before

Porch Before Staging

It all depends on what chapter we're living in our lives as to how we furnish our homes -- they were just celebrating the early years with their daughter. Of course that shows all the more need for staging to better define spaces for potential homebuyers. Thanks for your comments!

Feb 25, 2011 08:40 AM
Michelle Pimentel
Empire Home Staging Solutions - Upland, CA
ASP, IAHSP Empire Home Staging


This home has so much charm & your staging has really allowed for potential buyers to see its true potential! Great transformation...the Sun Room looks like a comfortable place to sit & read!

Apr 17, 2011 08:06 PM