The passing of another year makes us reflect on the last. While it might be cliché, making lists that highlight events of the previous year is a chance to reflect, and with reflection comes growth. In 2019, we staged more than 60 homes in the GTA. From downtown condos to Etobicoke mini-mansions and just about everything in between, the BREL team kept us busy and we couldn’t be more thankful. No two properties are the same and they’re memorable for different reasons. Some are beautiful to begin with while others reveal themselves as swans in the end.

Here is our list of our most memorable transformations of 2019 and the stories behind them.

203 Leslie – All Hands On Deck

Some homes are stunning from the beginning, but that doesn’t mean they sell themselves. The house on Leslie was one of those properties. From the painted front door to the covered porch, this place was oozing with character and in great condition. It had been previously listed and didn’t sell so when our agents were hired to sell it, the pressure was on. We saw pictures of how it looked when it was staged before and they looked good so we knew we had to do something different. Superstar agents Halina and Kristin spearheaded some changes to the home in the form of paint and wallpaper on a few choice walls and we got to work putting together a staging plan. The result was a vibrant and memorable home whose interior now rivaled the character of the exterior. We swapped the living room and dining room to improve flow and used a combination of new and vintage pieces to make the home feel ‘lived in with style’ instead of simply ‘staged’. The home sold in a matter of weeks and everyone went home feeling like a winner. See all the pictures here

407 Annette – No Pain No Gain


Depending on who you ask, certain ‘celebrities’ are considered famous or infamous. The same is true of homes in real estate. Lisa’s listing at Annette was stressful from the beginning. It was a top-to-bottom gut renovation that was being quickly completed so it could be listed at a prime time in the market. The property was big, empty, and on a busy street, and the Sellers had high price aspirations. We were all feeling the pressure. We went into it thinking that a growing family would end up there and we staged it as if they already did. The bedrooms upstairs went from forgettable to memorable and the living and dining rooms on the main floor were begging to be entertained in. Highlighting the master bedroom fireplace and creating a sitting area helped overshadow the small closet and lack of an ensuite bathroom, and the creation of a nanny suite in the rec room helped make the space shine. When the listing sold, we all breathed a sigh of relief, and then swiftly poured tall drinks. See it here

100 Quebec – The Heartwarmer


This property was the feel good property of the year without a doubt. It’s the kind of story that would make a perfect Hallmark movie. It was an enormous condo unit in one of the original condo buildings in the city near High Park. It also hadn’t been touched since its long-time owners moved in decades before. We ripped out all of the carpet after realizing the parquet was in pretty good shape, had the entire unit painted, and changed all the light fixtures. The kitchen and bathrooms still needed renovating, but we had made the place look move-in ready with our efforts. After a full stage that used more furniture than most houses do, we were all really pleased with the transformation and eager for the house to hit the market. It sold quickly for a price we were all thrilled with.  We had pulled off a result better than anyone expected and our hearts were warmed. Click here to see the staging transformation

125 Western Battery – Not All Brokerages are Equal

Western Battery

Stages are memorable for different reasons. In the case of Western Battery, not only did we love the finished product, but we also proved that our real estate model works. This condo had been listed before with a no-frills brokerage and failed to sell. Contrary to what some believe, condos don’t just sell themselves, and this perfectly lovely two-bedroom unit with sweeping views of Exhibition Place and the waterfront was no exception. Agent Brendan took over the listing and went to work strategizing the best way to market and sell the property quickly while we went to work on a staging plan. We highlighted the view by placing a large mirror where a T.V. would go and kept the place feeling young and bohemian like the demographics of so many in the area. We used translucent chairs around the dining table and focused the space around what we thought was its best feature, the view. We knew the place would sell quickly and sure enough, we scheduled the de-stage within a week of it going on the market. The sale justified the way we do business by investing in staging and marketing and relying on skilled agents to get the job done. See it here

Gladstone- An Unlikely Covergirl


Some homes don’t get staged for a variety of reasons. In the case of Gladstone, we weren’t sure we should stay it, as the agent believed the target buyer would likely renovate it.  After some debate, we decided that whoever bought it would likely live in it for a while before renovating, so we wanted to make it an inviting space.  If you’ve ever wondered how powerful a coat of paint can look no further than Gladstone. By the time the walls, ceilings, and bannister had been painted, we knew we could make a difference. We installed our favorite lights from Ikea in every room and set to work staging our hearts out. It may still be our biggest and best transformation to date. We weren’t afraid to take chances and add in some quirkiness and the finished product had more personality than we ever could have imagined. The outdated eat-in kitchen and basement looked inviting; the front office and living room were my favorite and reminded me of the perfect home of young professionals who spend their weekends antiquing. It sold fast and we were all thrilled. See it here

2019 was another year of tremendous growth and our best year yet at UPStaging, but we’re betting that 2020 will be even better. People respond to stories, and staging helps tell the story of a home better than any other piece of marketing could ever hope to. We hope you’ll join us next year to tell the story of your home and see for yourself what staging can do for you.

Written by: Kiel Storms. To read more about him, press here. 


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