Give the Home's Architecture a Voice When Selling Your Home

Home Stager with EXIT STAGE RIGHT

Give the Home's Architecture a Voice When Selling Your Home

Home Staging North Vancouver-Before & After PhotosOur particular area in North Vancouver has a fair number of west coast contemporary homes.  These homes were built with specific criteria in mind.  One element of west coast contemporaries is to blend in with nature.  Therefore, many of these homes are built with cedar paneling, and large windows that overlook gardens with huge, evergreen cedars.  There is a coziness about these houses.  You can smell the warm aroma of the cedar paneling, and feel enveloped in the atmosphere, as if you were wrapped up in a warm, cozy blanket.  Although this style of home is not everyone's cup of tea, there is certainly a fan base out there. 

The problem in this particular west coast contemporary living room, was that a huge, taste specific painting was hung over the fireplace, doing it's best to hide much of the cedar paneling.  It was important to give this paneling a voice, and let it speak for itself.  Also, the painting wasn't centred over the fireplace (that just drives me crazy!).  In my opinion, the target buyer is more inclined to buy this home because of the cedar paneling, not in spite of the paneling.  Therefore, it was imperative to remove the large painting, and replace it with a smaller, brighter painting that would compliment the paneling, not compete with it. 

There were other challenges with this room also.  The room was very dark, and needed lightening up.  Taking inspiration from the owner's existing cushions, Home Staging North Vancouver-Before & After Photoswhich I thought worked great in the space, we added more light coloured cushions and a cream coloured throw to break up the dark brown of the sofa.  The Christmas lights had to go, but we added lighting with table and floor lamps.  A little editing of personal items, and this living room became a very inviting room.  It was also the first room you saw upon entering the house, so it was crucial to create a great first impression, to keep the potential home buyer wanting to see more.  

When selling your home, have a good look at the original architecture, no matter what year the home was built.  What are the features?  Don't hide them; play them up!

Comments (20)

Donna Malone
Waterfront, Luxury, Family, Affordable, Cottage, Deals - Bridgewater, NS
Homes and Property for Sale Nova Scotia

Sally, I lived in North Vancouver many years ago. I like the West Coast style, it has a lot of appeal.

May 24, 2011 01:30 AM
Julia Maher
Nestings: Connecticut Home Staging and Model Homes - Fairfield, CT
Connecticut Home Stager

OMG, Sally - I just did a consult on a house YESTERDAY that has a very similar space!!!  In Connecticut!!!  The walls around the paneling are painted a dark green - we're changing it to a very, very pale blue with a touch of grey to highlight the paneling and tall stone fireplace, brighten the room, and give the "solarioum" a spa-like feel.  Julie

May 24, 2011 02:37 AM
Peg Barcelo
Fluff My House! Home Staging Inc. 250.486.6369 - Summerland, BC
The FlufftasticStager from Summerland, BC

Sally, you're so right, panelling is very taste specific, but they are warm and cozy. I don't understand why people put such dark furniture in dark rooms though! Great call on the light coloured accents! It looks 100% better! :D

May 24, 2011 02:54 AM
Anna Dovger
Add Value Home Staging LLC, 281-704-6607 - The Woodlands, TX
Home Staging -The Woodlands, TX

Sally, that picture had too much matching to the wood paneling colors and you did a great job taking the eye away form that paneling by bring your art piece and other light color lamps and accessories. And huge difference made professionally taken photo. I also like that you gave an explanation that there are buyers who are looking for this particular style homes in your area. Over here those panneling are last century.

May 24, 2011 03:47 AM
Malcolm Johnston
Century 21 Lanthorn Real Estate LTD., Trenton, Ontario - Trenton, ON
Trenton Real Estate

Sally, that's funny, I was looking at the photo of the off-centre picture before I read what you wrote and it really bugged me. I would be irritated by that if I had to see it every time I walked down that flight of stairs.

May 24, 2011 03:52 AM
Sharon Tara
Sharon Tara Transformations - Portsmouth, NH
New Hampshire Home Stager

That painting is the first thing I noticed before reading the post!  Well done on transforming this room!!

May 24, 2011 09:23 AM
Maureen Bray Portland OR Home Stager ~ Room Solutions Staging
Room Solutions Staging, Portland OR - Portland, OR
"Staging Consultations that Sell Portland Homes"

Sally ~ what an improvement after your staging!  That art above the fireplace was dismal and dreary ... your replacement art adds energy and movement and helps to highlight the fireplace as well as the soaring ceilings.  I so agree that when staging we have to work with and enhance the existing architecture!  To do anything else is shortchanging the property as well as the client.

May 24, 2011 02:12 PM
Kathy Nielsen - Marietta, GA
Atlanta Georgia Home Stager

The art in the before certainly has caught the eye of many of those looking at it. The same was true, I'm sure, when buyers came to view the home. I agree with Maureen - there's definitely improvement. Your accessories are fresh and totally change the appearance. You "played" this up nicely.

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



May 25, 2011 02:22 AM
Sally Weatherley
Vancouver Home Staging, Home Stager Vancouver, B.C

Valerie - The art is certainly "taste specific", and the Tuscan subject really didn't match with the west coast contemporary vibe.  Fine for living, not fine when selling.

Donna - That's funny.  Many years ago I lived in Halifax, and love the turn-of-the-century homes there. 

Julie - That style of architecture really got around, didn't it?  I can't imagine dark green walls with the dark panelling.  Oh, you'll have to post some before & afters!  I like the sound of your new plan to lighten and brighten with paint.

Peg - There is a real warmth to the panelling, and since we're wedged on a mountain, this style of home works very well with all our big firs and cedars.  Yes, lighter furniture to contrast the dark panelling would have been a great option.

Anna - This style of home doesn't appeal to everyone, for sure, although in some ways I think these homes, built in the 60's and 70's are less dated than some of the homes built in the 80's and 90's with their pastel colours, and white sprayed metals. 

Malcolm - I know - it's like when you see a painting that is hanging crooked, and you have to straighten it and make it level, or it will drive you crazy.

Sharon - The painting did tend to dominate.  Thanks!

Maureen - You sumarized perfectly!  I agree, it's always better to enhance a particular architectural style, rather than fight with it.  In this case, enhancing won, and the home sold very quickly.

Kathy - Thanks so much for the feature - always a pleasure!  Luckily, these smart sellers called us in to stage the property before the house went on the market, so no buyers actually saw the giant artwork.  Thanks, and we had fun "playing"!

May 25, 2011 03:42 AM
Michelle Finnamore
Toronto GTA, Alliston, Newmarket - Vaughan, ON
Preparing your property for sale

Hi Sally, beautiful work as always. I liked the accent cushions as well. In my part of the world we paint out the cedar if at all possible as buyers no longer find it a feature. Don't know that I would have done that large a wall though. Would have to be in the space to decide. Off centre art is deal breaker for me as well.

May 26, 2011 12:12 AM
Sally Weatherley
Vancouver Home Staging, Home Stager Vancouver, B.C

Michelle - I see where you're going with painting out the panelling.  I know that's done a lot back east - gives it a Muskoka cottage or Eastern seaboard vibe.  This house is situated in the forest - the demographic are nature loving people - lots of mountain biking, hiking, soaking up the outdoors, so painting the panelling wouldn't work in this particular situation.  That said, IMO, knotty pine panelling has to be painted, no matter what!

May 26, 2011 03:37 AM
Janet Jones
Just Your Style Interiors, LLC - Kihei, HI
Home Staging, Interior Redesign Kihei, Maui, Hawaii

Hi Sally--Could you imagine if they put that first photo on the MLS?   Of course your work is always amazing and the room is so much better after your staging. 

May 26, 2011 05:02 AM
Sally Weatherley
Vancouver Home Staging, Home Stager Vancouver, B.C

Janet - The first photo placed on the MLS would have been a bit of a disaster.  You're always so kind and supportive - thank you so much!

May 26, 2011 05:35 AM
Cathy Lee
CL Design Services Home Staging - Danville, CA

Let there be light!! and of course an award winning stager to make this home a showcase! WA LA!! Gorgeous!

May 26, 2011 01:25 PM
Sally Weatherley
Vancouver Home Staging, Home Stager Vancouver, B.C

Cathy Lee!  Where have you been hiding?  Ha ha!  Thank you so much! 

May 26, 2011 01:32 PM
Michelle Drewry
Signature Real Estate Group - Henderson, NV
Realtor - Signature Real Estate Group

Dismal indeed!  You sure brought life into this room - they must have thought their fairy god mother landed with her magic.  :-)   Looks great!

May 29, 2011 04:37 AM
Sally Weatherley
Vancouver Home Staging, Home Stager Vancouver, B.C

Michelle - Oh, do you think my pale blue gossamar ball gown and tiara gave me away?  Yes, just a flick of my wand and some new art and accessories, and we indeed improved the look!

May 29, 2011 10:12 AM
Wendy Tomm
Beyond the Walls - East St Paul, MB
CCSP, RESA-PRO, BBB - Wpg Realtors

I love the style of home but without your 'creativeness' this home was dark and dated. You did a really great job with the artwork and accessory choices. The lighting you added also is a great feature for the space.  Well done. I just love seeing your projects.

Sep 29, 2011 03:00 AM
Sally Weatherley
Vancouver Home Staging, Home Stager Vancouver, B.C

Wendy - This home really did have a "cabin in the woods", warm and cozy feel, but it was very dark.  Buyers want space and light, bright rooms, so lightening up the space was key.  I love your projects, too!

Sep 30, 2011 03:41 AM