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Home Sale Staging Artistry

After launching her home-staging business, stepping into interior design was a natural. Odence’s first client, who lived in Chile, also had a home in Lexington. The homeowner brought in Odence to stage the house in preparation for going on the market. “It turned into a complete renovation and a $300,000 project,” Odence says. Thus was born her work in renovation management, acting as a liaison between the homeowner, architect, and subcontractors. Odence oversaw the budget, timeline, and interior design, ultimately saving the client a great deal of money. After the Lexington home’s complete makeover, “the clients decided they wanted to stay,” she says with a smile. She may bring in several members of her team to assist, including her two daughters with husband Philip—Clarissa, 26, and Charlotte, 24, who are consultants—and senior interior designer Erica Darnall.

Odence’s touch has rescued a good share of antique homes, particularly one old beauty that, once renovated, also took an unexpected twist. Carol Zais and other family members inherited the Andrew Lovell House in Cotuit, a mid-1800s farmhouse in Greek Revival style. Zais and her co-executor brought in Odence to stage the home in preparation for the market. Odence counseled the family to consider renovation—including a new white color scheme throughout and sanded floors—to open and brighten the house. Zais and her husband Adam, whose primary home is in Sudbury, were astonished when they saw the refurbished Cotuit house.

“She took a house that hadn’t been updated in at least 10 years, and was rented in summer, and made it look like it belonged in an architectural magazine,” Carol Zais says. “She took it from your typical summer Cape house to a standout show-stopper.” The makeover was a game-changer for the couple; they made an offer and purchased it. “It was a stunning reminder of why we loved the house so much,” Zais says. “We just had to have it.”

Home Staging Artistry

Photo by: Tyra Pacheco Photography

Paul Grover, a broker and co-owner with Robert Kinlin of Robert Paul Properties, with offices throughout Cape Cod and in Boston, frequently calls Odence in to stage a house going on the market for the owners. “It’s quite a success story,” Grover says of Odence. “There have been times I would say, ‘this property is not going to sell.’” He recalls a waterfront home whose beauty was marred by outdated, worn features and had been on the market for several years. “It had a beautiful water view, but you couldn’t see it for the curtains,” Grover recalls. Odence opened up the space through a few deft moves, including replacing dark Formica kitchen counters. “It made a big difference in how people perceived the house,” he says. “The owners got two offers.”

Odence’s uncanny business sense has guided her through her recent rebranding. Her sleek new business name, Design No. 5, was formed by several serendipitous coincidences. Odence explains: “It’s my fifth business; this is the fifth location associated with BjtOdesigns; and there are five of us.” She muses about another businesswoman who knew style: Coco Chanel. “Chanel No. 5 (the iconic perfume) was the fifth sample brought to Coco Chanel,” Odence muses. “If Chanel can do it, we can do it.”

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