Tuesday, January 26, 2016
I'm too young to feel so out of touch with the times, but nevertheless, I do. So many things leave me asking, "Why?" Take, for example, the new Chelsea Handler show on Netflix. Why do I want to see Chelsea Handler do drugs and promptly get sick in a bucket? And why did Kate Hudson feel the need to Instagram a photo of herself, bare-bottomed and in a bubble bath, in an effort to make her boy toy, Nick Jonas, jealous? Perhaps the question I ought to be asking myself is, "Why am I spending so much time reading about this trash on the Daily Mail?"
And after reading last week's New York Times article, "The Art of Home Staging", I felt even more out of touch than before. If you haven't yet read it, I highly recommend doing so, because the piece confirms what most of us already knew- that flair and individuality, those once-lauded virtues in the world of interiors, have become real deal-killers when it comes to the buying and selling of residential real estate. The way to sell your home quickly and for more money? Hire a home stager to banish the old and bring in the new- and banal.
Before I go on, I should mention that I'm all for doing what is necessary to sell one's home. If staging means more traffic and more offers, then by all means, do it. What I find troubling is not home staging itself, but rather the innocuous décor that buyers seem to prefer. If what real estate agents and home stagers say is true, home buyers want to see white walls, plain-jane curtains, contemporary furniture, and a live-edge coffee table. Do these buyers not realize that the furniture moves away after closing? And is it really that difficult for people to see past a home's paint and wallpaper, furniture, fabrics, and- heaven forbid- antiques in order to assess a home's bones?
What really struck me is that one of the article's examples of a successfully staged apartment was that of designer Jean-Paul Beaujard. His New York City home was featured in Architectural Digest about five years ago, and I was so taken with the interiors that I actually wrote about it on my blog in 2011. But, sadly, such interiors don't sell homes these days, so the apartment's listing agents at Corcoran suggested bringing in a home stager. All of Beaujard's beautiful furniture was sent away to storage, while contemporary furniture and plain white fabrics were brought in. (Oh, and the walls were painted white, of course.) Beaujard was quoted as saying, "It's the complete opposite of what I like," but admitted that, "now, you see the proportions of the apartment better. Even I was surprised." The staging worked, because the designer recently accepted an offer on his apartment.
While I find traditional decor's lack of broad appeal to be depressing, I did take heart in readers' comments. It seems that many of them, like me, preferred the pre-staged version of Beaujard's apartment, while others bemoaned home buyers' lack of imagination. So with that in mind, I'm once again showing the "before" of Beaujard's apartment. If you'd like to see how it looked after being staged, please click here to visit the Corcoran listing.
All photos from Architectural Digest, Miguel Flores-Vianna photographer.