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Staging for “Home Energy”

Uncategorized // Apr 05, 2010

One of the challenges of showing an unfurnished unit in a new construction is that prospective buyers have a hard time visualizing what the apartment might look like when they are living in it. It has never been occupied and therefore doesn’t have the character or energy of a space that has been called “home,” so buyers are skeptical. As the date approached for the filming of Penthouse A at 350 West 23rd Street for HGTV’s new series “Selling New York,” I faced this exact challenge—and, after conferring with CORE’s CEO, Shaun Osher, I decided that the best way to handle it was to stage the apartment. Staging is a delicate task: If done in a careless way, the design can look contrived and can misrepresent the space. Not only must the furnishings chosen for staging fit the space in terms of size; they must also complement the angles, materials and textures of the apartment as well as draw in the natural landscape beyond the unit’s windows and terraces. The latter point is especially important in a space such as Penthouse A, with its broad floor-to-ceiling windows, expansive terraces and park views. I chose my pieces the way buyers choose their furniture and artwork when preparing to settle in to a home for many years or generations. I followed an aesthetic that reflected the unique vibe of Chelsea—modern and sophisticated yet warm and approachable. I owe a great debt to Laurie Messman and her team at Ligne Roset, who provided pieces that perfectly captured the look and feel I was going for. One of Laurie’s brilliant ideas was to borrow artwork and music memorabilia from the Sony Archives. The fact that she was able to secure historic platinum records, limited-edition photographs of famous musicians and entertainers such as Jimi Hendrix and Ertha Kitt, and classic guitars was an enormous feat. I recall thinking that the buyer I was searching for “could hang his own guitar in its place,” and while the buyer from the episode did not have a guitar herself, I imagined that perhaps one day her son would hang his there. In upcoming episodes of “Selling New York” I deal with other aspects of this “home energy,” of which staging is just one part. Tune in and enjoy!