Staging & Decorating a Luxury Home in Morgan Acres (How to deal with tan walls when painting isn’t an option)

Morgan Acres is a more recently developed pocket of luxury homes just south of Morgan Creek in South Surrey BC.

Morgan Acres - Entry Sign on 160th St. & 30th Ave. South Surrey BC.

Morgan Acres – Entry Sign on 160th St. & 30th Ave. South Surrey BC.

When I staged a beautiful $2 million dollar executive home in Morgan Acres about a year ago, every time I drove into the area I wanted to be the invisible fly on the wall and peek inside more of these two to five million dollar high end homes.

Well, wouldn’t you know, I got my chance to see another Morgan Acres home when I was called to stage it recently.  It was a huge vacant mansion on 30th Avenue going up for sale and I was brought in to work my magic.  

What I’ve discovered over the years in the Real Estate Home Staging business is that no matter how beautiful & expensive a home can be, it too can present some very familiar colour & design challenges.

Morgan Acres - 30th Ave. Family Room BEFORE staging.

Morgan Acres – 30th Ave. Family Room BEFORE staging.

Morgan Acres 30th Ave Living Room - BEFORE Staging

Morgan Acres 30th Ave Living Room – BEFORE Staging

Upon entering this stately home, I was greeted by yet another interior painted in tan.  Quite a dark tan.  This $2.8 million dollar home was spacious and beautiful, yet the challenge was to lighten up the tan walls and chocolate brown cabinets and brown floors without paint.  Even after I recommended new paint colours to give it a new fresh lighter look, I was told painting was not an option, so I had to work with it.

So many homes painted tan cause me to wonder:  Why ALWAYS tan?  Has there been a clearance sale on tan paint for the last 20 years or what?  What is this unending fixation with tan?

The beige-tan-brown trend has been going – going – GONE for 4 – 5 years already.  The challenge with decorating a house this colour is that tan lacks life & personality at a time when colour trends are going in a different, more creative direction.  Although the tans & browns have enjoyed an exceptionally long ride, tan’s earthiness is also the colour of sun scorched grass, cardboard, dirt, brown paper bags… you get the picture.  Prairie grain fields have a little more life being sun-kissed with touches of gold, so when you’re trying to look for real life examples of tan as a colour, think cardboard or brown paper bags.

Morgan Acres 30th Ave. Dining Room Before Staging

Morgan Acres 30th Ave. Dining Room Before Staging

When a colour trend is already gone or has peaked and is on a downward slide heading out, a professional colour & trends expert would avoid specifying this colour.  Some clients don’t care about colour & style longevity, so if they absolutely love tan and have furnishings to complement the look, by all means, the client should have the colours they love, especially if they’re not planning to sell & move for a long time.  Builders tend to stick with colours that have worked for them for many years and are reluctant to switch colours, even if it means continuing to use outdated colours.  After all, they’re construction-savvy, not trend-hungry.  One of my shirt-tail relatives is a real estate agent and investor/property manager.  He admitted to me that once he lands on a basic neutral colour that works reasonably well, he paints every house & apartment he buys in that exact same colour.  It’s not a matter of aesthetics, it’s all about economy.  From a colour & design perspective, this is robbing a house of its full potential, personality, & flair.  It’s such a shame that more builders, developers, and real estate investors don’t seek out the expertise of colour & trend stylists like me.  For a very reasonable investment in expert advise, they can have a colour consultation that will give them colours with longevity, that stand the test of time and look as wonderful many years down the road as they did when they were first chosen.  I see so many brand new developments that have chosen YESTERDAY’S colours.  This can easily be remedied with a colour expert on their side before they build.

Morgan Acres 30th Ave.  Kitchen with tan walls, dark brown cabinets & brown floors

Morgan Acres 30th Ave. Kitchen with tan walls, dark brown cabinets & brown floors

OK, back to my staging dilemma.  After being greeted with tan walls everywhere I looked, I wandered around the home deep in thought, trying to “FEEL” the home and not just SEE the home.  What was it telling me?  Once I had a good feel for the home, I hatched my plan.  It needed to ”feel” lighter and “read” brighter.  This home was begging to be more light-hearted and softer, balancing the masculine domination with some feminine “curve appeal”.  I knew that my interior styling had to include an abundance of light coloured, ivory-cream furnishings with light gray/silver shiny & reflective accessories.  It also needed some accent colours, but nothing too bold or hard hitting since the tan & dark wood already felt hard.  It needed a softer feel with light pastel accent colours in the formal dining room and living room to balance the hardness of the tan.  Once I was convinced that my design plan was the right none, I felt like a “Home Whisperer!”

Then it was time to work on the specifics of my design plan and select every piece of furniture & accessory that would go into the home.  I knew I needed some larger area rugs to accommodate the spaceous rooms, so I bought 2 large ivory shag carpets exactly the same.  They had a slight reflective sheen to them, subtle yet noticeable when the light shone in certain directions.  Great!  Done with rugs.  I was visualizing my design plan and could hardly wait to see the actual results.

Morgan Acres - 30th Ave. Living Room Corner Vignette:  Cream sofa, coffee table, ivory shag rug, original art by Ellie Hanson, spiral tree in cream urn.

Morgan Acres – 30th Ave. Living Room Corner Vignette: Cream sofa, coffee table, ivory shag rug, original art by Ellie Hanson, spiral tree in cream urn.

 

Morgan Acres 30th Ave. Living Room Corner Vignette - cream sofa, ivory shag rug, light gray/silver lamp and end table, floral design by Ellie Hanson, silver and glass tabletop accessories.

Morgan Acres 30th Ave. Living Room Corner Vignette – cream sofa, ivory shag rug, light gray/silver lamp and end table, floral design by Ellie Hanson, silver and glass tabletop accessories.

 

Morgan Acres - 30th Ave. Living Room Corner Vignette: Soft turquoise pillar, 2 original art by Ellie Hanson, calla lily florals.

Morgan Acres – 30th Ave. Living Room Corner Vignette: Soft turquoise pillar, 2 original art by Ellie Hanson, calla lily florals.

I had everything else I needed for this home, so I started selecting & packing every piece.  We got everything moved into the home over 2 days and then spent another 2 days installing, hanging art, & placing everything in the best spot.  Cleaning & tweaking was the last phase of the staging process.

Morgan Acres - 30th Ave. Dining Room AFTER Staging:  Dining Table,  Silver crushed velvet dining chairs, 2 silver "bubble" mirrors in corner, accessories.

Morgan Acres – 30th Ave. Dining Room AFTER Staging: Dining Table, Silver crushed velvet dining chairs, 2 silver “bubble” mirrors in corner, accessories.

 

Morgan Acres - 30th Ave. Dining Room Corner Vignette AFTER Staging: 2 Bubble Mirrors, floral design by Ellie Hanson in large Mercury Glass Urn.

Morgan Acres – 30th Ave. Dining Room Corner Vignette AFTER Staging: 2 silver “bubble” mirrors, floral design by Ellie Hanson in large Mercury Glass Urn.

In luxury homes, it’s not enough to have a large living room, there has to be a family room for relaxing & watching TV, so I needed to make this family room look captivating & inviting.  Some zebra lamps & a zebra upholstered bench added intrigue along with a unique clock collage, my large ivory-white shag rug, ivory leather couch set, & accessories to give this room plenty of pizzazz.  It had to be more casual than the living room, yet still classy & high end looking.  Voila!..

BEFORE & AFTER 
Morgan Acres - 30th Ave. Family Room BEFORE staging.

Morgan Acres – 30th Ave. Family Room BEFORE staging.

 

Morgan Acres - 30th Ave. Family Room AFTER Staging: Ivory Leather sofa, ivory/white shag rug, clock collage, zebra upholstered bench/coffee table, zebra lamps, accessories.

Morgan Acres – 30th Ave. Family Room AFTER Staging: Ivory Leather sofa, ivory/white shag rug, clock collage, zebra upholstered bench/coffee table, zebra lamps, accessories.

The Breakfast Room was just off the kitchen & was also open to the Family Room, so I brought in 4 zebra chairs to accompany a round table, which coordinated beautifully with the zebra items in the adjacent family room.

Breakfast Room After Staging

Morgan Acres - 30th Ave.  Breakfast Room:  Round espresso table, 4 zebra chairs, family room in background.

Morgan Acres – 30th Ave. Breakfast Room: Round espresso table, 4 zebra chairs, family room in background.

We were on an impossible deadline, so on our final day we worked till one o’clock in the morning to get it done on time.  Needless to say, it was both physically and emotionally exhausting but we left being proud of our hard work and hoped the client could appreciate the extent to which we bent over backwards to accommodate them (in our dreams).

The Entry Hall needed some happy welcoming colours, so I departed from my soft turquoise colour theme to give people a friendly colour hug when they walked in the door.  I added colour to draw the eye up by placing 2 art pieces one above the other and by raising up the large floral design piece to sit on top of a glitzy mirrored pedestal.  I made sure there was still enough turquoise in the art to relate to the soft turquoise in the nearby living room and dining room.  This brought some welcoming friendly colours to an otherwise very neutral space.

Morgan Acres - 30th Ave.  Entry Hall AFTER Staging:  2 Art Originals by Ellie Hanson, Mirrored pedestal, & floral design by Ellie Hanson.

Morgan Acres – 30th Ave. Entry Hall AFTER Staging: 2 Art Originals by Ellie Hanson, Mirrored pedestal, & floral design by Ellie Hanson.

The Den was the only room not painted tan.  It was a trend-forward medium gray, which inspired me to create a Hollywood Glam feel in this space with the gorgeous black & white chaise lounge and accompanying yellow-green accents.  I imagined myself living there and wanting to hang out in this room, sometimes lounging with a good book or design magazine along with some chocolate covered strawberries to snack on.  Other times I could be there with my laptop or iPad getting some work done (with a little popcorn on the side).  Or I could have a little social tea party with a few friends or a brainstorming meeting with some business colleagues.  Essentially, I wanted to create a girly (yin) space in the home to balance the very masculine (yang) personality dominating the home.

The Den BEFORE & AFTER Staging

Morgan Acres - 30th Ave.  Den Before Staging - Gray walls.

Morgan Acres – 30th Ave. Den Before Staging – Gray walls.

Morgan Acres - 30th Ave.  Den AFTER Staging:  Hollywood Glam Chais Lounge, throw & boa, curly black mirror, accessories.

Morgan Acres – 30th Ave. Den AFTER Staging: Hollywood Glam Chais Lounge, throw & boa, curly black mirror, accessories.

 

What do you think of tan walls & brown cabinets?  Make some comments in the response area below.
What’s stopping you from living in your dream home?  It might even be the one you’re living in right now!  Still not sure where to begin with your decorating?  Contact us or give us a call at 604-598-1842 to schedule a colour & design consultation with Ellie Hanson. A simple consultation can do wonders to get you going in the right direction & on your way to living your dreams.

Morgan Acres - 30th Ave. Bookshelf Styling with "LIKE" hand scupture on 4 books along with armillary.

Morgan Acres – 30th Ave. Bookshelf Styling with “LIKE” hand scupture on 4 books along with armillary.

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