Did you know in this media-induced hyper-stylized day-and-age of real estate most residences, no matter how recently renovated, decorated or furnished, still require some aspect of modification or ‘packaging’ before coming to market ‘For Sale’? It’s crazy but true. With hundreds of shelter magazines, websites, plus the 24/7 rotating loop of ‘house porn’ television programs constantly bombarding us with images of dream homes dripping in stainless steel appliances, stone counters and the latest home furnishings, our consumer behavior has been subconsciously influenced into elevating our expectations.
Do you find this as fascinating as I do?
Go figure, we live in a time where a culture of consumption cultivates our desires, shapes our wants and needs, and then subliminally coerces us to manufacture our sense of self through the location, type, style, size, condition, and presentation of our residence. Today, the what, where, how, why and when of your real estate purchase serves as one of the ultimate status markers, not to mention topics of conversation, in Canada today. And as anyone who has ever taken the leap into the world of real estate soon discovers, buying property brings with it a socially-conscripted dynamic rife with pressures and expectations. Seriously. Whether you live in a penthouse, a shack, a cottage, a mansion or a trailor, you are instantly defining who you are by the your residence. As a result, it’s no wonder most buyers can’t help but covet ‘showcase worthy’ homes as their next (or first!) purchase.
Does this bother me? Not in the slightest.
Why? Because I’m a victim of it.
As a kid growing up in the 70s/80s there were very few shelter magazines available. One I particularly coveted was the Lindal Cedar Homes brochure, where most every house looked like some variation of this;
I also satisfied my housing desires with Sunset Magazine’s ‘How To Sections’;
Plus I got my fix reading the one or two page girly decorating story featured in each month’s Women’s Day Magazine.
What can I say? Back in my youth the consumption of housing was in its infancy, relegated mostly to the affluent and yet to be capitalized on as a commodity for the massive cohort of trend-setting Baby Boomers. So imagine my delight today where, as an adult-version of the truly Housing Obsessed, I now have unlimited access to everything Housing. As far as I’m concerned, the cultural evolution of Housing as a Symbol of Self not only satiates my passion but, as one of the Nation’s favourite past times, continues to present expanding career opportunities for me.
Which takes me to urbaneer.com’s newest offering, our Style Enhancement service. This is a realtor-slash-designer’s dream come true.
Just as I was pondering calling the movers to return all the urbaneer.com bits and pieces used for the Style Enhancement at our Trinity-Bellwood Mini-Manse listing, the call came to list this Tony Riverdale Towne! Occupied for the same owners these past ten years, this multi-level townhouse in a former sausage factory was only recently painted and decorated. Featuring rich earth tones, darker furnishings, and warm parquet floors, this residence has been every bit the cocooning refuge my Sellers desired, and currently enjoy. In fact, had an unexpected opportunity not presented itself my Sellers would be quite content to stay!
Even though the space was perfect for everyday living, our sellers understood the importance of preparing and styling their place for sale in order to realize the highest dollar. This included paring down and eliminating everything that won’t be moving with them to their next residence, placing pre-packed items and extraneous furnishings into storage, and granting urbaneer.com access for a mini Style Enhancement. At this property, our two principal challenges were to improve the flow and consciously feature the 9.5′ ceiling height on the entertainment level, and convert the open concept third floor home gym into a study which could more easily translate as an optional third bedroom. Remember, if your objective is to maximize the sale price of your property, invest your time, energy and, if necessary, some capital to create a decor that appeals to all your target markets (in this case a professional urban couple who may or may not be family focused) while elevating your dwelling’s features!
Case in point. Here’s the former gym (with wall of mirrors) now presented as an airy third floor study. The loveseat, coffee table and area rug belong to the Sellers and were formerly in the living room. Urbaneer.com brought in the paintings, the hot-rolled steel desk and chairs. Previously, the visual clutter of all the gym equipment made it difficult to gauge the size of the room. Now buyers can see two distinct zones for sitting and writing which, for those potentially requiring a third bedroom, translates as optional zones for sleeping and dressing:
To emphasize the high ceilings, we placed some of the owners china with artist Dan Nuttall’s “Birch” and “Bird” pieces above the cabinets to draw the eye up. And to create a little contrast, we put the trilogy of resin-coated paintings by artist Jay Hodgins on the countertop to soften the functionality of the space while adding a little shimmer against the flat matt of the laminate countertops. Here’s another style enhancement tip. Place what you might otherwise hang in your living or dining room in your kitchen. The use of Fine Art will bring the style statement of your living area into the kitchen, create visual cohesion, unify the rooms, and fool the buyers into interpreting the entire living level as one entertainment zone even if it comprises separate rooms. Incorporating this subtle cue will subconsciously increase the perception of space, which may translate into a faster and more profitable sale:
Here’s the entertainment area:
To maintain visual harmony while brightening the abundance of earth tones, we added lots of creamy white pieces and shiny metal bits. To emphasize the high ceilings we stacked two watercolours (note the cream mats and silvery frames), added the old steel letters on the shelving unit, and aligned the sellers’ two pairs of cattle horns. To pop the predominantly neutral space and make it more memorable, we hung two pow wow punchy oil paintings in the space’s two most prominent sight lines. The piece over the couch, which is where your eyes land when you walk through the front door, is called “Exploding Olive”. The piece on the stair landing is called “Crazy”. Both are by artist Greg Laviolette.
Sometimes one doesn’t have to do too much to make your space a ‘real estate showcase’. But incorporating simple tricks and clever solutions are easy ways to enhance the value of your property. We’re super excited to be representing this new Tony Riverdale Towne listing. Could it be perfect for you, or someone you know?
Style Enhancement Staging