Northwest Washington, DC Condo Gets an Urban Update


My job as the stager was to neutralize the setting and take off some of the hard edges of the unit, while broadening its appeal from a narrow K Street lawyer target market to a urban executive target market – an executive that might work anywhere from a law firm to an association to a government agency.  We brought in a modern, but not sleek, sofa and classic sitting chairs to anchor the unit between urban and comfortable. The artwork was intentionally sparse so as not to create too much interest on the walls, which would make the room appear narrow.


All professionals like a challenge. For me, one of the challenges I enjoy is taking a space and turning it into a something unexpected. Condos present some of the best opportunities to be creative. You are forced to be very efficient in your furnishings. Placement options tend to be far fewer than with townhomes or single families, yet you still have to provide that “WOW” factor that will make the unit resonate with the buyer.


The objective of staging is to show the buyer what the possibilities are, to raise the staged property above to others the buyer may be considering – to make the stage property the one all the others are compared to. In that regard, condos are one of the biggest challenges. You need to arrange the furniture in such a way as to maximize seating, while maintaining a light and airy environment. 


One such example is a condo we just staged on 16th Street in Washington, DC. The condo had been listed before – and “staged” by a furniture rental company (note: furniture rental companies offer “staging services”, but none of the employees are certified or accredited stagers.  Their “stager” is also the receptionist and floor sales person. But that’s for another newsletter.).   Needless to say, there was very little response.  The condo was taken off the market.


Luckily I was working with a fabulous team of realtors who really have a great vision of how to update a property.  Working with the owner, they made two significant changes to the condo that made it instantly more functional and appealing.  They removed a wall that enclosed the kitchen and opened it up onto the eat-in area, and they turned a large closet in a large hallway into an office nook.  It’s a clever and very functional use of a lot of unused space, and it avoids having to use the smaller bedroom as an office. 


Another challenge I faced was making sure that buyers would be able to see that the smaller second bedroom could indeed fit a queen bed.  Staging both bedrooms as actual bedrooms, and not one as an office, provided a good balance to a downtown setting.  Chances are that the buyer’s office will be close by (the condo has a walk score of 97!), so there would probably already be a strong association with work.  We wanted to emphasize this condo as “home”. 
For the rest of the photos, see our gallery and click on 1701 16th Street. For the full listing for this property, see the listing page. If you have a tough property that needs a transformation, please give us a call.
All the Best,
Monica, ASP
the art of home preparation

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