My Latest Design Addiction

Ever since winning the furniture makeover challenge at the it seems I’ve become addicted to making things over, re-purposing stuff and generally just trying to keep things out of landfill. I thought our projects for the challenge were really good…

old, broken rake

old, broken rake to

funky wine glass holder

funky wine glass holder Our fellow stagers loved our addition to the bar area of our deck.

design Hiawatha 297 and our wedding table and chair took first place!

As a home stager, I often see elements that need updating and the most common is lighting fixtures. Nothing dates a space more than shiny brass fixtures! New fixtures can be expensive so if you’re on a tight budget, up-dating the look of your fixtures might be all you need.

Nothing up-dates a fixture quicker than spray paint, to see a great example head to now this blogger used Rustoleum spray paint and if you head to their website you’ll find lots of ideas and tutorials you can also have a look at

One thing that I found really exciting though was the fact that you can actually paint fabric. Thrifty Chair Makeover Annie Sloan Chalk Paint - #chalkpaintThis chair looks awesome and if you head over to you’ll discover how to do this and look at dozens of other transformations with paint.

I love staging houses so that they can sell faster and sell for the most money possible and I really love the challenge of helping people create amazing transformations using their own furniture and accessories (occupied staging). Researching painted furniture and accessories has given me a ton of new ideas that I can share with clients to help them stay within their budget but still create that “WOW” factor that home buyers are looking for.

If you know of any great DIY sites why not share them with me.

Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Making the most of what you have to work with

The Hiawatha Cottages  design challenge really made the Access Home Staging design team think creatively: the budget was tiny, the cottage was pretty big and we hand limited time.

The TV room in our cottage was added to the original cottage at some time in the past and the addition was at a lower level requiring a small set of stairs that really cut into the usable space, there was also strange circle of plywood on the wall.

4004 Hiawatha Lane Battersea-small-020-Living Room-666x444-72dpi

The large chair was out of scale for the space and the circle just looked a little weird. We changed out the over-sized chair to a smaller one and by doing so actually allowed  us to use two chairs in the space which, in turn, added more seating to the space,

The circle couldn’t be removed so rather than try to blend it in we decided to actually create a focal point with it.

design Hiawatha 327  As you can see, we added a piece of art to our circle which had the same tones as the furniture in the space. We found our art in an unused “bunkie” on the property and it fit in our space beautifully.

So, when you are faced with a design challenge; put your creativity cap on and you just may come up with an idea that turns the challenge into something awesome!

Posted in Ottawa Home Staging | Tagged , , , , , | Leave a comment

Staying on budget

While more and more realtors and home-sellers are seeing the huge benefit of staging a home prior to listing, everyone has a budget.  I have always prided myself on my ability to stay within budget on a project which is why I love doing occupied stagings. Working with what is already in the home, re-purposing, re-arranging, selecting items the home owner already owns and adding only a few on-trend decor items to create that “wow” factor in a home is a challenge that I truly enjoy. Given this information, you can understand how thrilled I was to be awarded 1st. Place Budget in the Hiawatha Cottage designs Challenge.

on budget award

One of the ways we stayed on budget was re-purposing items that were already in or around the cottage.

design Hiawatha 352 This photo shows how we turned an old wagon wheel hub into a one-of-a-kind (OK, we actually had two) solar light on the huge cottage deck. Not only did these cost us under $20 for the pair, we did not damage the hubs in anyway.

design Hiawatha 278design Hiawatha 331

Here you can see how 3 discount store canvases and a metre of fabric created a large piece of art that was used on a dark wall that we were unable to paint. The little bit of color you can see was accomplished with some colored pencils.

Having a budget doesn’t have to mean that you get less!

Posted in Ottawa Home Staging | Tagged , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Staying on budget

Our week at  Hiawatha Cottages  was a lot of fun and a lot of work,  with each cottage having  it’s own set of goals and restrictions it was a challenge for everyone. Access Home Staging  won the Chippewa cottage which  was the owner’s original family cottage which has been used as the wedding/family reunion location  due to it’s large size and beautiful lake views. Our challenges were:

  • do not paint the original pine walls or beams
  • do not do anything to the floors
  • change out the bunk beds to a queen bed
  • create more space for large funcutions
  • make all designs easy to clean as there is only a 3-hour period between guests
  • keep in mind that all designs will need to stand up to 12 weeks of rentals
  • complete the challenge with $300 and a gallon of free paint of your color choice

To this long list we added:

  • all painting must be done properly (clean, sand,prime,paint)
  • all projects must keep client safety a priority
  • all work must be done in a manor that allowed for very easy cleaning and very little, if any, up-keep

What a tall order for three people! OK, one day we actually had 4.

One of our projects added 35 feet of bench seating and a bar to the large deck

design Hiawatha 312

ready for it's first party!

ready for it’s first party!

Cost of this project, $18.00! We scavenged all the wood so our only cost was the stain, which was also used for the bench seating.

Posted in Ottawa Home Staging | Tagged , , , , , | Leave a comment

Hiawatha Cottage Retreat ReDesign Challenge

For the past week Access Home Staging has been known only as TEAM ORANGE in the Hiawatha Redesign challenge. One tired, dated cottage, 4 team members and a $300 budget to pull off a new look. In addition to sleeping and working at our cottage, we were challenged on morning number one to create something to use in our cottage out of something we might normally throw away.

Here is our first challenge, we found an old rake under our cottage and with some steel wool, a touch of used paint and 4 plastic wine glasses we created the perfect accessory  for

the new bar we were building on the deck.

trash to treasure challenge, beforetrash to treasure, after

Posted in Ottawa Home Staging | Tagged , , , | Leave a comment

Hiawatha Cottage Staging Challenge

A tired, dated cottage, a budget of $300, a team of 4 people and a timeline of one week – what a challenge! Access Home Staging is thrilled to have been chosen as one of only 6 teams participating in this challenge and we know we have our work cut out for us. Our team (orange) will be arriving at this small family-owned business on Saturday, September 6 and we won’t be leaving until the 13th. We’re donating our time, supplies and creativity to up-date one of the 6 cottages that are rented out from May to October of each year 

The rules, according to our fearless organizer, Angela Brooks-Osbourne;.1…you don’t know which one ( of the cottages) you are going to get. 2. There are some restrictions. MAINLY….any real pine wood…..has to stay. The wood paneling, DOES NOT. 3. Each cottage has a target market, we are aiming to attract in the years to come. In addition to this rules we must also have at least two people stay at the cottage for the entire week, there will be daily challenges that, if we win, could find us getting extra paint, fabric, etc. and, we must be on-site in the early evening to let our judges know what we are planning and get approval.

So, when you think of renting a cottage, what do you look for? Are you concerned about style? Do you want everything included or is bringing your own bedding OK.? If you have a young family, is water frontage a concern? Are you more likely to go as a family, a group of friends, with another couple or, just as a couple? What amenities are you likely to be most interested in?

While we’re at the cottage we’ll be posting regularly on  I hope you’ll follow along and see what great things we’re up to.

Cottage challenge




Posted in Ottawa Home Staging | Leave a comment

Home Staging Trends

Modern Staging

Home staging has evolved from designing spaces that appeal to the broadest possible buyer base to understanding and using target buyer appeal and focusing on what these buyers want.

Target marketing is about knowing the answers to these questions;
• Who is your buyer?
• Why would they buy this home?
• What is their demographic?
• What is their psychographic?
• What is the demographic and psychographic of the neighborhood?
Lifestyle Staging is telling the story that the target buyer wants to hear.
Once we have defined who the target market is we can zero in on their lifestyle and then translate this knowledge into a successful and meaningful design plan. Every choice we make addresses the dreams, goals and preferred lifestyle of the target buyer rather than simply presenting a neutralized, de-cluttered, clean and sterile-looking design. We understand that home-buyers are buying a lifestyle not just a property.

Outdoor spaces

When buyers purchase a property they are buying space and professional stagers are encouraging sellers to not only prepare their indoor space but their outdoor space as well. While curb appeal has been a key selling feature for many years, not as much importance was placed on creating outdoor spaces that appealed to the lifestyle of the target buyer. We now understand that outdoor living space is an extension of the properties interior and it critical that we create appealing and functional spaces even if it is only a small balcony in a high-rise building.

Even the smallest outdoor spaces need to be staged.

Even the smallest outdoor spaces need to be staged.

Posted in Ottawa Home Staging, Staging tips | Tagged , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment