When you visit our website or our profile on Houzz, you’ll find a huge selection of photos of projects we’ve done and rooms we’ve renovated. We’re proud of the work we do, and we like to share the results to help other homeowners develop ideas for their own space. You might think it’s impossible to update a particular room in your home, but chances are, we’ve done something similar for someone else in Victoria. And we have the photos to show you what your space could look like with help from our professional design team and master craftspeople.
We’re regularly asked if the pics we share are real homes or just mock-ups from our design studio. People don’t believe it because of the way the room is staged, but they’re real homes with real people living in them. You might not see the chipped cookie jar on the counter or the overflowing junk drawer in the hallway, but moments after the photos were snapped, these homes go back to their natural state: keeping everyone warm, dry, and happy. That’s the magic of home staging.
Staging a Home in Victoria
Staging isn’t decorating – it’s depersonalizing. The goal is to remove the customizations that you’ve made so the viewer can imagine how the space might be used, and where they can add their creative touches to make it their own.
“The first thing we do is declutter the space – taking away all of the personal items, so people can imagine what it could be like for them,” explained Azucena Saavedra, Interior Designer/Project Manager at MAC Renovations. “It used to be about making it super-clean and empty – and that’s still a part of it – but now it’s more about making it homey and dreamy. Removing the ‘lived-in’ look and creating a space that stands out and inspires ideas.”
“As the in-house designer at MAC Renovations, I do the staging for all of our projects,” said Azu. “If I’ve designed the home, I’ll have a good idea about what I’d like to focus on, and for projects designed by the rest of the team, I’ll go to HomeSense and find things that I think will work – colours and textures that enhance the room. The funny thing is, sometimes the homeowners like the items I bring for the staging so much that they buy them from us because they fit the space so well. I’m like their personal shopper.”
Capturing the Moment
The staged home is ephemeral – just the briefest moment in time. To effectively preserve that instant, we rely on talented photographers to focus on what’s important and ensure everything else is kept out of the shot.
“Lighting is an important consideration,” said Dasha Armstrong, one of our favourite photographers. “Usually, the homeowners’ first instinct is to turn on every light to make it as bright as possible, and that might work, but I prefer to play around with the light, using a balance of natural lighting and shadows. As a professional photographer, I have the ability to make the light do what I want, using reflectors and different light setups, but using natural lighting often gives the best results. I find it’s best to start with minimal artificial light, then add it where it’s needed.”
“Another thing that can make a big difference is to get creative with your angles and perspectives,” said Dasha. “Look at the shot from different vantage points to find the best way to present the design.”
After the Click
“There are many things that can be fixed by someone skilled with Photoshop,” explained Dasha, “such as removing outlets or vents, but for most things, it’s much easier to remove them before taking the picture. I carry a cleaning cloth with me for every job, because a few seconds of scrubbing can prevent a few hours of touching up in post. In terms of brightness, we’re able to blend different exposures and use brightness from different parts of the room to put the focus where we want it.”
So the next time you see a staged photo, you can rest assured that in the split second of the camera shutter click, the house really did look like that. Shortly after, it went back to the real world, where people live and love the spaces we complete for them.