A New House Staging Project

Just in case anyone has been wondering where I’ve been…







Sorry about the quality of these photos. I never took “proper” before pics so these are merely phone snaps. Some are taken after I already started decluttering (hence the lack of stuff), others are taken mid clear-out (hence the abundance of stuff).

Several weeks back I started work on a new house staging project which I never intended to share here (sound familiar?).

This is actually the house of my beautiful mother-in-law who sadly passed away late last year. I won’t go into things too deeply, but obviously it was very difficult and certainly not made any easier by the whole COVID-19 fiasco here in Melbourne at the time.

Needless to say there were quite a few false starts with the house preparedness situation given pandemic restrictions, so the process has been quite unpredictable, but that’s not the main reason I never intended to share it.

You see, unlike some of my past “flips” where we undertook minor (and even some major) home improvement works to bring the property up to a certain standard, the scope of this project never extended that far.

Although totally liveable, the house is a bit of a fixer-upper, so short of tackling a full-on reno prior to the sale (which, very fairly, no-one was interested in), it just made sense to leave the bones be to allow freedom for any new buyer to put their own stamp on things.

This isn’t to say that there was little work undertaken. Properly preparing any house for sale is never quick and easy – and deceased estates often bear the additional burden of emotional stress. We all spent several weekends gardening, decluttering, packing, fixing, cleaning, and so on. And general maintenance will persist until the hammer falls.

Given there was no hiding the fact the house itself was a little outdated, our plan was simply to make it look as stylish as possible so any prospective buyer can see the imminent appeal, along with envisaging any future potential.

Of course, as a result of the current state of the house though, I didn’t have a particularly fresh and modern canvas to build upon. And this, paired with time and budget constraints, meant we were never going to have an especially amazing outcome. I mean, staging can be powerful but it’s not exactly magic! I even told myself not to go to too much effort.

But that’s easier said than done!

As per usual I got carried away…painting furniture I said would be fine as is, scouring Marketplace at 2AM, driving over an hour to collect a table because it was “such a bargain”, raiding friend’s homes for quilt covers they clearly didn’t need, coming up with resourceful ways to use old curtains. You know, all that usual stuff that totally sane people do all the time. Honestly, the past few weeks have been little more than a blur of sandpaper, broken fingernails, too many scatter cushions and full-to-the-brim car trips!

But as things started coming together in the house, much more successfully than I’d ever anticipated, I found myself feeling freshly optimistic – maybe staging is a bit magic after all!

I decided that whilst the house was never going to be perfect, it still deserved to shine as brightly as it could. It was time to take my fuss-pot hat off and share this project: warts and all. I’m pretty certain you guys will appreciate it and I can’t wait to divulge more!

I actually finished staging the house a few days back so it’s already completely done! I’ll be back with the after photos soon.






  1. Erin Prohaska says:

    Kristine, I’m so sorry about your Mother in law. There is indeed so much to deal with in a home after the passing of a family member…emotionally and physically. I’m positive you did a wonderful job without having seen it and I’m sure she would be very proud. As always, looking forward to seeing your magic! ❤️

  2. Carol says:

    Gosh Kristine, so great to hear from you. Sorry for your loss darling, loving up your mother in laws home and taking care of it one last time I think would have been very cathartic. I’m so glad in the end that wonderful creative side of yours came to life and got carried away. I can’t wait to see more.

    • Thanks Carol. Yes, it’s been hard but I think also therapeutic for everyone.

  3. Anna, Sydney says:

    I am terribly sorry for your loss. xo

    Looking forward to the reveal.

  4. Maxine says:

    Sorry for your loss Kristine, I understand your feelings and emotions having gone through a similar exercise my self these past few months when my elderly mother suffered a debilitating fall and moved from independent living to hospital, rehab and finally aged care during the Melbourne lockdown. Looking forward to seeing more, remember to take time out for yourself xo

    • Thanks Maxine. Sorry to hear about your mum. Let’s hope 2021 is kinder to us all :)

  5. Leslie Wood says:

    So sorry for your loss. That’s so hard at any time, but particularly these days with Covid causing so many more difficulties..
    Very eager to see the reveal !

  6. Shelley says:

    Deepest condolences on your mother in law. Losing a family member is hard enough without all the pandemic extras thrown in. I will say though, when you post these “flip” features with the before and after, I’m always so inspired. I think they are some of my favourite posts.

    • Thank you Shelley. I’m really looking forward to sharing but I do wish I’d taken better before photos!

  7. Arlene says:

    Sorry for your loss. I hope the process of preparing the house for resale has given you and your husband a chance to connect with your mother-in-law’s spirit and lasting legacy. I look forward to your reveal as I really love your sense of decor and flair with colours and using old and new furnishings.

  8. Theresa David says:

    Hallo Kristine,
    ich bin schon sehr neugierig, wie dein neues Projekt aussehen wird. Es ist nicht leicht, einen Haushalt aufzulösen, der einen nahe stehenden Person gehört hat. Komm gut durch diese schwere Zeit, ich freue mich schon jetzt auf deine neuen Fotos. Bleib gesund

      Hello Kristine,
      I am very curious what your new project will look like. It is not easy to break up a household that was owned by someone close to you. Get through this difficult time well, I’m already looking forward to your new photos. Stay healthy.

    • Thanks Theresa :)

  9. julia hocking says:

    Honouring your mother-in-law with your creative spirit is admirable.
    Best wishes to your family, especially your husband.

    Anticipating the after photos with interest.

  10. Diana says:

    Sorry to hear about your mother-in-law. It must have been difficult with everything else going on in the world at the moment. I am really looking forward to seeing the pics and to see how you have worked your magic once again.

  11. Susan Edge says:

    So sad to hear about your mother in law, mine passed away a few days before xmas too at the ripe old age of 98 and my dog just after. 2020 was a tough year. Looking forward to the pictures and completing renovations and decorating I had started here too.

    • Kristine says:

      Sorry to hear about your bad run last year. Let’s hope 2021 will be kinder to us all.

  12. Amazing work!! Looking for more from you.

  13. Wendy says:

    I’m sorry for your loss.
    I love projects like this – they show me (and others) different things that can be done with not a lot of $. I live in an older house and don’t have tons of $ to spend on fancy furniture and decorations, and love seeing how others achieve a new looks on a budget. I really look forward to seeing the pictures!

  14. Pat from New Jersey USA says:

    I’m so sorry to hear of your mother-in-laws passing. It does make the process of prepping a house for sale that much harder. Can wait to see what your creative juices came up with for the house. I watched “Flip or Flop” where the flipped a very dated tr-level house. The ideas they came up with were amazing. Not something for a simple/quick sale but you can do a lot with a dated house. Looking forward to your next post.

    • Thanks Pat. Yes, there is always so much you can do! Like you mentioned, a reno wasn’t in our sights for this quick sale but hopefully there is lots for a prospective buyer to imagine.

  15. Etta says:

    This must have been tough! Sorry for your loss. Looking forward to your photos!

  16. Sabrina J says:

    Kristine–I love that you are a blogger and a REAL person; not someone staging a perfect life through your website with perfect weekly posts.

    Life happens and when you don’t post it means you have a life away from your blog–like dealing with a tremendous family loss.

    I look forward to the big reveal.

    • Thanks Sabrina. That’s actually really nice to read. I always feel like I need to justify and/or apologise for being away from blogging but this makes me feel reassured that people understand :)

  17. Pat from New Jersey USA says:

    I’m so sorry to hear your mother-in-law passed. It does make it a more emotional process in prepping a house for sale. I help a co-worker/friend help with clearing out her childhood home for sale after her brother, mother and father passed away in it. It was an extremely emotional endeavor. I can what to see what your creative juices came up with for the house.

  18. Dorothy K. says:

    I’m so sorry for the loss of your mother in law. What a sad project to tackle. I’m glad you’re sharing the process. I love your before and after projects. I look forward to seeing the end results.

  19. Pauline says:

    Kristine, u did a magnificent job, like always!

  20. tonya says:

    I’m glad you’re back to updating the blog. You have beautiful style and taste and these home refreshes are my favorite.

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