Sisters Hollister and Porter Hovey live and work together. You run a company – Hovey Design – that stages houses for real estate. (Basically, they’re taking apartments with big bones and redesigning them to do their best.) Here the sisters reveal the before and after of a Tribeca apartment …
LIVING ROOM BEFORE
LIVING ROOM AFTER
Balance the proportions of the furniture. Most city apartments have rectangular living rooms, so sections can feel optically unbalanced. Instead, consider a sofa and a couple of comfortable chairs. It’s also a good way to build a conversation when you have people with you.
Hang art deeper in living rooms. The artwork should be about 8 inches above your sofa so that you can see it while you are sitting. You don’t want to crawl your neck to see the art – it makes you feel uncomfortable. (For a hallway, you can hang things on a higher level because it’s more like walking through an art gallery.) Also, we made the artwork super large here because we had a lot of larger furniture. If we’d gotten smaller, the art wouldn’t have felt as effective.
Try to do your own art. We attach great importance to home improvement and demystify art. You can even paint a canvas a solid color and hang it over your sofa to make it look cool.
Mix materials. The kitchen looks industrial, so we’ve added ceramic lighting to make it feel softer and more organic. It’s great to contrast between soft and hard lines. Etsy is a good source of light – we especially love the baradaXceramics store.
DINING ROOM BEFORE
DINING ROOM AFTER
Lean into the drama! This apartment is super dramatic with huge windows so this room called for a bigger table. We also went for the Noguchi ball lamp to create more drama. Adding the art brought color and made a huge difference. We also got rid of the shelves that were too high.
Choose neutral furniture. If furniture is super neutral and classic, you can always make changes by swapping out works of art or a flower vase.
Switch shapes. Here you have square chairs and a rectangular table, as well as a rectangular mirror that stands out well against the large pendulum ball.
Don’t ignore a hallway. People often neglect hallways, but it’s a great opportunity for a fun experience. If you have a hallway that is wide enough, go for a narrow table and artwork.
Consider painting the walls. Another tip – although we didn’t do it here – is to paint the hallway a dramatic dark color. It will hide the scratches and a dark, moody hallway will make entering the lighter room seem like a breath of fresh air. They do this in hotels and it’s a nice experience.
TV ROOM BEFORE
TV room after
Turn off the doorknobs. If you move into a house with a lot of different metal colors, change all of the doorknobs to black. Here, changing the clunky doorknobs felt cohesive. Black is a good neutralizer.
PRIMARY BEDROOM BEFORE
Master bedroom after
Let light flow in. In the previous photo, the curtains have cut half the window. But even if you had floor-to-ceiling curtains, they’ll still be wedged against the wall. For these windows we would go with a shadow.
Look at a workhorse mirror. We use the round umber mirror all the time. It’s great and affordable, especially for its size.
GUEST ROOM BEFORE
GUEST ROOM AFTER
Squeeze into a corner desk if you can. A lot of people work from home these days, so we added a desk. (In our staging projects, people used to request kindergartens and now they want home offices.) Plus, it’s so fun how adding more furniture makes a place look bigger – it’s not intuitive!
Thank you Hollister and Porter!
PS All of our home tours – including the sisters’ own apartment tour and a one bedroom apartment they staged.
(Photos by Hovey Design; listing by Tracie Golding.)