Staging a property for sale is an art. It requires a vision, strategy and most importantly an eye for design. When executed correctly, a staged property will highlight the best features while appealing to a large pool of potential buyers. Careful thought into the finishing touches will ensure the property sells for top dollar.
Justine Elise Demsky has been staging in the GTA for over five years and has been featured in the Globe and Mail, Blog TO and Toronto Life. Her team at Justine Elise offers a full service streamlined process and strategy-driven approach. Staging, or “interior marketing”, as Justine calls it, should leave a property looking neutral, current, updated and well maintained. She enjoys making a space feel big and bright and emphasizing the best features of a property.
She recommends that agents and sellers bring in a stager in the early discussions of selling whenever possible. A beautifully staged property begins with a deep clean, painting and de-cluttering.
After building her portfolio and staging homes all over the GTA, clients have recently asked Justine if she would design spaces in their new homes. The response to her interior decorating has been overwhelmingly positive which has led her to a career transition from a professional Stager to an Interior Decorator.
I asked Justine what makes interior decorating different than staging, and her response was the approach. Although she can own the overall vision, it is less personalized than interior design. Staging requires a more strategic approach while working with clients on interior design projects relies heavily on listening to the clients wants, needs and point of view.
Justine has always had a passion and love for design. She has decided to focus on the decorating aspect and hone in on the finishing touches that can drastically change the look and feel of a space. “Sometimes you don’t need to entirely refinish a room to make it feel complete”, she explains. As a decorator she focuses on the aesthetic finishes such as palette, furnishings and decor. Often times you can achieve a dramatic effect with a signature lamp or pop of artwork.
Her experience as a stager has allowed her to gain experience with a variety of unique spaces. Working with different properties, people and dealing with challenges along the way has allowed her to develop an impressive portfolio.
During her transition from Stager to Interior Decorator, Justine has had the opportunity to work with many young families. “The city of Toronto is booming and growing. The market is changing, and it’s a really great time because young people are investing in their forever homes.” She loves being apart of this movement.
Justine describes her design aesthetic as minimal and modern. She enjoys working with contemporary furnishings mixed with natural, warm materials and a neutral palette. She incorporates warm materials to create a peaceful and inviting space that is still interesting. When I asked her if she had a signature or trademark as a designer, she exclaimed, “Doing something unexpected! Not everything should match, or be predictable. I love a unique shape and like to incorporate elements of surprise and interest. You can keep a room neutral but still have a show stopper.” If she had to choose a favourite room to design, it would be the living room. However, she has had a lot of fun with children’s playrooms lately. It is a great opportunity to work with colours you would not usually work with.
When I brought up the dreaded “B” word, Justine explained that managing the budget from the onset is crucial. She recommends moving from room to room instead of overhauling the entire property. Start and finish each space before moving on while budget tracking and ensuring everyone is comfortable with the timing. Ultimately having an open line of communication is key!
Working with local artists and craftspeople is really important. She tries to shop local and in doing so she has built some incredible relationships.
To see Justine’s portfolio or to get in touch for a consultation, check out her website