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They say what goes around comes around, and we’ve certainly seen that with the fashions of the 1990s. Crop tops, high-waisted jeans, acid-washed denim, and other staples of the decade have made their way back into style again, like it or not.

A little retro flavor can be fun now and then. But a ’90s-style home? As if!

That’s what Janci Deetz, a stager and designer with studio D—a boutique home staging and interior design firm with offices in San Francisco and Brooklyn—had to say about a home in Oakland, Calif., that she was tapped to make over.

This six-bedroom, four-bathroom home is located in a neighborhood that had been completely wiped out by a major fire in 1991. Thus, all the homes there were rebuilt in the 1990s, and many of them still retain that style.

First, Hope Broderick, a real estate agent, ordered renovations to open up the 3,396-square-foot home, which had small, divided rooms and a curved stairwell that blocked much of the light to the back of the house.

“She removed the old stairwell, opened up the smaller rooms, and painted the whole house an airy white,” Deetz says. “Then it was our turn to make sense of the new spaces.”

Replacing the curved, carpeted staircase, which had solid, continual, wall-like railing, with a new modern one, featuring industrial-looking black railings and floating blond wood steps, immediately benefited one room in particular, which serves as a bit of a pass-through space that the family used for hanging out.

“Reorienting the staircase allowed us to make a dramatic statement as you land on this level with a well appointed bar,” she noted.

Still, the room had an odd shape, as a transition space between the landing and the dining area. So, as part of her mission to highlight the home’s best features (including incredible bay views), to open and unify it, and to create warmth and visual interest, Deetz drew up a three-pronged goal for the space: to ensure it had a purpose, to create good flow, and to highlight the fireplace, she says.

As the focal point of the entire room, the large fireplace’s dated tile surround was replaced with a bookended quartz surround in a neutral hue that “completely transformed and modernized” it, she says. Then, to add even more drama, bring in light, and reflect bay views, two large, white-framed floor mirrors were placed alongside the fireplace.

“Mirrors, mirrors, mirrors,” Deetz explains. “They bring light and views where there are none and transform the view from every angle as you walk through the home.” 

During the renovation, a door to the adjacent deck had been relocated a few feet away, with a large window left in its place, complementing the quartet of smaller square windows above. As natural light floods the space, it looks considerably larger than before.

Where there was once a sloppy-looking lounging area with an outdated TV and a couple matching armchairs, she and her team created an intimate seating area “with cozy chairs in a refined velvet, a cushy inviting sheepskin rug, and some natural touches like the wooden stump that give a nod to our forested surroundings we are so lucky to enjoy in the East Bay,” she says.

Plus, the organic shape of the rug and chairs helped emphasize the feeling of flow that the team desired. 

“We kept the coffee table and color palette light to reinforce the airy feel of the space,” Deetz says. As in the rest of the home, the carpet was replaced with beachy hardwoods and the walls were painted white.

The light, renewed feel of the space—as well as the entire house—helped it sell within 16 days for $155,000 over asking price. And while it’s totally a bummer that the sculpture of the musician dude had to go, we think even he’d agree that the room’s fresh new look is all that and a bag of chips.



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Before and After: See How a Home Stager Pulled This Family Room Out of the 90s