When a home has a lot of character to begin with, it can be tricky to stage it in a way that will appeal to the most buyers. Husband and wife duo Akhil and Pramiti Bhargava of San Diego-based BlueGrape Staging knew they had that challenge on their hands when staging a one-bedroom, two-bath loft in downtown San Diego.
To make the 1,506-square-foot home look like a boutique hotel, the owners chose bold wallpapers, colorful built-ins and paneling, dramatic light fixtures, and modern textures. That means the Bhargavas had to walk a fine line between neutralizing and complementing those eclectic elements during the staging process.
“The home was exciting and had a blend of fun and color but personalized to the owners,” the stagers explain. “This worked perfectly while living in it, but selling it was a different story. [We] wanted to highlight and complement it when staging it for potential buyers.”
But first, they had to map out what the large main living area was going to look like. “Defining the functionality of the living space was the key goal,” note the Bhargavas. “To allow the buyers to move across seamlessly and define this room with furniture and pieces to scale was a key element of the staging plan.”
The space had two walls of floor-to-ceiling windows and built-in window seating with storage, as well as a full-height built-in blue hutch on one end. So that put some limitations on furniture configurations.
The BlueGrape team took a cue from the rustic two-tiered chandelier and placed a sizable seating arrangement beneath it, facing the wall of windows. They selected neutral furniture pieces — a white sofa, a tan lounger, two tan arm chairs, and a two-piece gold-tone coffee table — so as not to compete with the more colorful elements in the space.
“At the same time, we wanted to be innovative and complement the character of the house,” say the duo. “We chose colors, textures, and fabrics that would complement the space and add to the overall aesthetic without distracting from the loft’s design.”
An area rug and pillows with a mix of patterns add pizzazz to the seating arrangement but remain cohesive with the other pieces, thanks to their tonal hues of coffee and cream. Additional pillows on the window seats invite guests to kick back and relax.
Next to the seating area and aligned with the blue hutch, the team created a dining area with seating for four — an ideal spot for enjoying a cup of coffee and morning views of the city. A round blue rug plays up the hue of the hutch while a glass-topped table and modern chrome chairs with woven backs create the illusion of more space in the nook by not breaking up the eye line. Above, a brass light fixture adds even more drama.
Indeed, the Bhargavas had to strike just the right chord in staging this artistic space, and it seems like the result was music to the buyers’ — and owners’ — ears. The home sold at 99 percent of the asking price within 30 days of being on the market.