After a Fashion

Your Style Avatar rips the sheets off of the scam that is home staging

Imagine! Your new home could look like this! (But it probably won't once you move all your junk in.)
Imagine! Your new home could look like this! (But it probably won't once you move all your junk in.) (Photo by Seabrook Jones/

STAGE ONE Austin home stager Brenda Spencer of Spencer Staging & ReDesign won first place in the professional category of the 2010 MirrorMate Makeover Contest for her client's bathroom mirror makeover. Congratulations to Brenda. If you've watched HGTV, then you know home staging is the biggest, hottest trend since ... since ... well, since the first caveman (or cavewoman) tossed an animal pelt over a rock and called it a recliner. Home staging is the act of redoing your home so that someone else will want to buy it. A simple theory, yes, but a nightmare for anyone who doesn't get with the program. While it's true that many people haven't a clue how to make their surroundings more appealing, some of the finished work displayed on HGTV looks like the "designer" went berserk with a can of spray paint at a Walmart clearance center. Especially these 14-year-old interior redesigners. Okay, maybe they're not 14, but most of them look like it. Besides, all I have to do is look at the way the stagers present themselves to know whether I'd want them to present my home to anyone. Bad hair + bad clothes = bad taste. Apparently the folks behind the home staging trend feel that most buyers are absolute morons – and maybe they are. Or maybe it's the home sellers that are the morons for thinking that if they just hire a home stager and invest a little more money in the home they're trying to get rid of and dumb it down, then the home can successfully be sold. Home staging doesn't require any training or licensing. It simply requires the mindset that what you already have isn't good enough for anyone else and that no one would possibly consider buying your home because it has your things in it. And if you're not smart enough to figure that out yourself, then whip out your wallet and bring on the home stagers! To me, the fall of modern civilization begins with people who can only see things as they are rather than as they could be (thank you, John F. Kennedy). And if prospective buyers only have the tunnel vision to see things as they are, then I don't know why they don't just have all of their furnishings and belongings sent over to a home that's for sale and set it up so that when they (the prospective buyers) enter the home for the first time, they will see all their own things and know exactly what the house will look like if they buy it. Perhaps this could be more easily accomplished with a View-Master disc that has photos of your possessions, and you simply hold it up and see your stuff superimposed on the room. Perhaps when a home is put up for sale, it should be color-coded to help prospective buyers understand what they are seeing. For instance, yellow homes will all have been staged according to the guidelines set forth by the Guild of 14-Year-Old Interior Designers. All traces of personal style have been removed, and the place is as interesting as a box of Kleenex. But you can't have a box of Kleenex in your yellow-coded newly staged for-sale home because prospective buyers might realize that a flesh-and-blood person actually lives there and then no one will buy it. A blue home might indicate that while all traces of personality have been removed, there are still indications that an actual person lives or lived there. Dangerous indications include a toilet, a swingset in the backyard, or a washer and dryer (gross!). And a red home? Not for the faint of heart. A red home means that not only is the prospective buyer going to need blinders before entering, but that even with a diminished viewpoint, the buyer will be exposed to someone else's personal style. Red-coded houses are to be avoided by all except those buyers who might be able to imagine their own art collection hanging on the walls or that the sage green walls were a nice honey beige. Honestly, even if you love the look that says, "I have no personality of my own," is it going to look like that once you move in and have your own crap everywhere? No. It's going to look like you just moved your crap from one hellhole to another. You're better off just painting your walls and staying put. It's a lot less expensive. If you're unable to walk into a room and see past someone else's furnishings or wall color, then perhaps you're just not ready to buy a house.

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Austin style, Home staging, HGTV, 14-year-old designer, paint, color-coded, Brenda Spencer, Guild of 14-Year-Old Interior Designers

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