Home Staging & Design

FROM ESTATE TO GREAT – Home Staging with Cheryl Eisen

majestic tHomes Staging Oct Michael Weinstein PhotographyIt is a given that staged homes look better in pictures, bring in more buyers, sell on average 73% faster and for about 17% more than un-staged homes (Source: RESA).

The reality is that an un-staged “fixer-upper” can take twice as long to sell as a typical un-staged home. Even with a bargain-basement price tag, if buyers don’t emotionally connect with a home—they have no reason to take on a time consuming, expensive gut renovation.

This is a lesson that Austin Schuster, Senior Global Real Estate Advisor and Associate Broker of Sotheby’s International Realty, learned a few years ago when he took over a dilapidated estate listing at the upscale Majestic condo on CPW.

The listing, which had languished on the market for over a year with another firm, was in such poor condition that the previous broker posted only a portion of the fireplace in the listing photos.

”I thought a fresh coat of paint, a good cleaning, and better photos would be enough to attract new buyers” said Schuster. But several weeks later and zero offers on the table, Schuster decided–with a healthy level of skepticism–to give staging a try.

The 7 day staging transformation was so dramatic that Schuster said he could not believe his eyes. Still, drama is meaningless without significant results; and not only did the home sell in just two weeks—it sold at a price the previous agent said was not possible.

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Unchanged for decades, the estate was in shambles. From missing appliances, pink, black and mirrored walls, to linoleum flooring, peeling paint, and musty carpet-covered wood floors, this was the true definition of “estate-condition.”

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AFTER: In just 10 days the entire home is transformed with new paint, light fixtures, luxurious draperies framing the incredible central park views, transitional, authentic furniture and modern art. The glamour of the grand home rose again, creating a bright and incredibly lush duplex that would resonate with its celebrated past.


What most Brokers and Sellers don’t realize is that the right stager can quickly transform a rundown listing into a stunning home that exudes warmth, style and luxury–bringing in ample buyers, competitive offers, higher sale prices.

“The significant return on investment that these stagings have produced for my sellers make it an easy sell to other skeptical sellers. The record-setting prices I show continue to win me more listings.” says Schuster.

Today, with an impressive roster of multi-million dollar estate sales under his belt, Schuster considers staging, and IMG, his “secret weapon.”

Visit Luxury Stager Cheryl Eisen, President of Interior Marketing Group (IMG)







Maison et Objet: Mecca of European Design

Maison et Objet: Mecca of European Design
A Conversation with Cristina Dos Santos

By Amber Snider

By Amber Snider

I recently had the opportunity to speak with Cristina Dos Santos, a Manhattan home designer, about her recent experience at the Maison et Objet—a major bi-annual French trade show in Paris, France.

Lee Zee Soo

Lee Zee Soo

Maison et Objet is one of the most important events in Europe for interior design—a week-long event showcasing 3,000 artists and designers from all over the world, of which 45% are international brands. The show focuses on an array of design aesthetics; including textiles, furniture, home decor, lighting, and more. Each room is imbued with a particular design essence, ranging from natural and eco-friendly textiles, serenity and well-being as an art of living, to Scandinavian minimalism for home design.

Dos Santos prefers to feature new and emerging designers in her store, making the Parisian trade show the perfect venue to seek out new material. “As a designer, it is extremely inspiring just to walk around the streets of Paris. Maison et Objet is where you can find more specialty and fashion-forward items—in home accessories, furniture, lighting and so on.” She notes an apparent difference between American vs. European aesthetic: “The overall design [at M&O] has more of a European feel, with clean lines and stream-lighting. Colors are heavily navy and aubergine; found in everything from the different decorative throws to rugs and pillows.”

American vs. European. I assumed the new European aesthetic would be more of a pastoral, rustic revival, synthesized with high-tech modernity. But Dos Santos emphasized that trend to be more prominent in the States rather than Europe. “I think that whole modern rustic appeal is always important, but in general, the rustic look is more popular in the States. It tends to be more modern and technical over in Europe. Although it’s a nice mix of rustic chic–it is much more modern.”

Lighting Makes the Difference. Stream lighting with clean lines is very hard to find here in the States. There are very few lighting designers and resources on our side of the pond. “I’m always on the look-out for different types of lighting for my clients here in the States. It’s a very much underrepresented art form here,” says Dos Santos.

Rory Dobner installation

Rory Dobner installation

Top Trends. ”Gold plating with skulls and guns is big in Europe. They look cool, but it’s not something I would dare bring in the States and have represented in my stores. It’s more of a decorative wave, with the skulls and guns showcased on the wall, in plate design, throws and textiles, and even in decorative pieces for the home.” Hand-painted pieces featuring gold designs are also very cutting edge this fall season.

Prominent themes. When I asked about the possible correlation between the skulls and gun jewelry aesthetic found all over Brooklyn and its home-design prominence in Europe, Dos Santos replied, “I love the skull design—it’s something that’s been around for a very, very long time. I know a lot of designers in Europe that are represented in Brooklyn and a lot of booths are selling to different boutiques there. It’s a very hip, cool direction—and that’s where Brooklyn has been for a long time.”

Showcase the Individual. Dos Santos was privy to the aesthetic of a few German, English, and Japanese designers who certainly mastered home design; not only in the lightening department, but also with accessories. “There was this English Designer, Rory Dobner, who was quite amazing. He started doing art in his own apartment and then his apartment was photographed. People just admired it so much and said ‘why don’t you do this publicly?’ Barneys is now representing him here and I think Bergdorf wanted to pick him up…but again, it’s about the appreciation of having one small designer love his work so much and have people that admire it as well.”

“Out of the many fabulous Japanese designers, I really liked Lee Zee Soo. The pottery, fine china, and hand painted porcelain were just astounding. I have some of his Japanese towels.The glass is absolutely the finest in the world. When you’re there, you’re focusing on certain things relevant to your store, but one thing that sticks out is how everything is so wonderfully displayed. There’s just something about the way things are presented.”