Learning on The Job: Leah and Joanna Share What They Gleaned From Staging 307 N. Waverly

 

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Photos: Shoot2Sell/Thomas Byers

Editor’s Note: This is Part Four of our five-part series breaking down our free team staging of 307 N. Waverly. Read Part One here, Part Two here, and Part Three here.

While executive editor Joanna England and senior writer Leah Shafer write about homes every day, they had never staged one until the CandysDirt.com team descended upon 307 N. Waverly in North Oak Cliff’s historic L.O. Daniel neighborhood. To say it was a learning experience is quite the understatement.

After the de-staging, Leah and Joanna got together for a brief post-mortem chat to talk about what they learned from the experience, which rooms had the most dramatic before-and-after shots, and what they wish they could have done. Jump to read more and to see the dramatic photography!

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We talk a lot about staging on the blog, but we’ve never personally staged a home until now. What was something you learned about the process?

Leah Shafer: This is really specific, but I learned to move a couch out from the wall a little and put a console table behind it with a lamp. It added so much depth to the room!

Joanna England:  I agree!

Leah Shafer: More generally, I felt amazed by how much manual labor goes into staging a house. We were moving couches, carrying big pots, all stuff that left me sore the next day. This is not for the lazy.

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Joanna England: For me, it was realizing how many little things need to get done before we even move furniture in. All of those “one day” projects need to become “today” projects. Small issues with cabinetry, trim, and windows can turn up in photos as huge issues.

Leah Shafer: It’s all in the details!

Joanna England: But yes, it is physically demanding. As an aside, those delivery guys from CORT are totally beasts. One of them heaved a whole couch on his shoulders BY HIMSELF. No help!

Which finished room do you think had the most dramatic transformation?

Leah Shafer: The transformation of the outdoor spaces was most impressive to me. The backyard had been pretty cluttered with a lot of furniture. We moved that stuff into the garage and added petunias to Mexican pots the owners already had. We also raked the dirt, picked up, and what a difference! In front, adding petunias and moving the large planters to the columns made the curb appeal so friendly.

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Joanna England: Initially, I was put off by the color of the walls in the playroom — all of that bright green paint! But with the rug and some furniture moved in, removing the toys that lined the baseboards, adding some art, and working with what we had really defined the space and allowed us to picture ourselves in it a little more easily. The living room, of course, had the most visual impact in photos because it’s the first room you see upon entering the home, but it was already neutral and easy to dress up.

Leah Shafer: That transformation was so fabulous!

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Did we do everything that you wanted to do when staging this home?

Joanna England: I really wish we could have painted in the hall bath. Those colors made the bath feel a lot smaller than it is. The dark blue vanity and two-tone blue walls kept the space from feeling open. It also limits the accessories you can put in the space. And painting would have been a great way to freshen up the hallway, which isn’t in pictures.

Leah Shafer: I wish we could have trimmed the bushes and manicured the garden by the curb. I did not bring my hedge trimmers, sadly.

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What was your favorite design element?

Joanna England: I bet I can guess your favorite design element: The buffet in the dining room. We took the top off and used it in the living room for a TV Stand.

Leah Shafer: My favorite is the front door! I love love love those curved doors and the purple stained glass was just divine. With the living room staged, it really brought attention to the door. Such an unusual design feature for this cute Tudor.

Joanna England: My favorite is the door, too! But I also loved how much visual impact adding some curtains to the windows framed the spaces and how it added some style to the rooms. Just look at how moving that piano to underneath that bank of windows and adding those sheer gray curtains really made the dining room look put together. It’s a huge impact!

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Any takeaways?

Joanna England: I now have tremendous respect for stagers, who manage these projects, juggling all of these balls in the air, day after day, and sometimes several times a week!

Leah Shafer: I totally agree!

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4 Comment

  • I cannot thank my CandysDirt.com team enough for the sheer enthusiasm, energy and excitement that went into this project! We are pretty dang amazing! And by WE I mean YOU GUYS!

  • While I completely agree that staging can be beneficial to a home sale, I have to say that in this case – although pretty – it’s deceitful. As a potential buyer who actually walked through this particular home prior to this redecoration, I was seriously disturbed by the apparent structural issues lurking beneath the floors and behind the back siding. This is a home with adorable curb appeal – one I was fully ready to make an offer on before I witnessed the problems firsthand. Laying a rug over a cracked/buckled kitchen floor and a chair in front of rotten siding, just hides problems a buyer will surely discover in the inspection report and walk away. I read it, we’re talking serious structural damage, damage I feared would cost tens of thousands of dollars to fix. I’m not scared of repainting, replacing a floor, etc. Trust me, I wanted to like this home, unfinished floors and all. It didn’t need staging – it needs a serious price drop!

    • Hi Vanessa,

      Now, a licensed Realtor can correct me if I’m wrong, but I think that the sellers would have to include any known structural issues in a disclosure, which would come out long before an inspection. Now, I’m not a Realtor, so I can’t speak to that from an expert point of view.

      However, something I did learn from this experience is that buying a home — especially one this old — is equal parts practicality and emotional connection. It’s that feeling of “home” that staging provides, not deception. Could you have imagined yourself in the space before? Could you have looked at the home, even with its issues, and considered living there? Staging isn’t meant to hide a home’s flaws with the intent to trick a potential buyer, but it is meant to show off all of the positives you may look past when focusing on the negatives.

      This home has a lot going for it, with tons of architectural details, but not many potential buyers will see them without staging.

  • Hi Vanessa,
    Every home deserves staging and it does help buyers better assess homes. A home only a few doors away and only 800 sq feet larger, that was staged and had issues addressed, is on the market for 180K more than this home. Even factoring in the foundation repair, painting and other issues, this house is still priced to move. I can assure you staging is not done to deceive anyone. The purpose is exactly what Jo stated, to create a connection and to show space and furniture arrangement. Often vacant homes look deceptively small. The rug was there only for photos so no potential buyer would have thought something was being “covered up” to hide it as it was removed immediately after photography. The house was staged to educate consumers and Realtors as to the importance of the visual impact on buyers and that staging does not have to be expensive. Staging a house is a lot like preparing for a date. Am I going to put makeup on? Yes. Am I going to dress nicely ( and probably wear Spanx lol)? Yes. Is that deceptive? No. I’m putting my best foot forward. Staging helps a home put that best foot forward.
    Sellers must provide a document called a Sellers Disclosure that states all of the issues. This is Texas, so many homes have foundation issues. My 1927 bungalow, that looks a lot like this, had foundation issues and I still purchased it, in 1990, and am still in love with it. My foundation was not that expensive to repair. Often we are scared off by obvious flaws but it’s worthwhile to get an estimate on issues if you really love a home. Best of luck on your house hunting journey.