Staging. You hear about it all the time when it comes to selling your home. But why is it important? And what goes on in the mind of a mad-scientist stager, whom we refer to as “our silver bullet”? Come take a journey through the mind and process of our wonderfully talented stager, Kari Dias of Two Upon Ten Staging.
Kari, tell us, how did you get into staging?
I had been making letterpress invitations for high-end clients (weddings, birthdays, bar and bat mitzvahs) and business had kind of slowed so I had started making macrame. I ran into Deirdre (of L34 Group fame) and she asked what I had been up to. I mentioned the macrame and she suggested we use some of the macrame pieces to add as staging for some of her listings. As it just so happened, she had a listing coming up that her regular stager was unable to do so in addition to the macrame pieces, Deirdre asked me to give it a go at staging the home.
What inspires you when you are staging a home?
I have many artist friends who offered to lend artwork to the staging and I’ve always had a love of textiles – mixing and matching styles, not always sticking with one style. I go in thinking ‘how would people want to live in this house?’ or moreover, ‘how would I want to live in this house?’
I see most staged homes where everything matches and think that most people don’t live in a home where everything is matchy-matchy. I always get turned off by that kind of sterility – it reminds me of being in a hotel. So I think, ‘how do people really live, especially on the Eastside of LA?’ They are cool and stylish, maybe they are just getting their first home and they have a collection of things from the thrift store, things they find on the street, and maybe some fancy mid-century thrown in. So I try to keep things versatile in that way and then add things like textiles.
What do you love most about staging?
The reason I never had a wholesale line of letterpress cards is that I can’t stand doing the same thing over and over again. That’s what I really love about staging – every house is different and gives me a chance to do something completely new and unlike the last.
I also love having pre-set boundaries on what I can and can’t do. I’ve always liked that in all of my work – instead of having a blank canvas, I like it when someone asks, “what can you do within these parameters?’ whether that be budget or using only certain materials. So that makes it kind of fun for me to stage with other people’s things. Because then I say ‘Oh, if I have to use their dining table, how can I make that fit with the rest of my stuff?’
But I really do love working with other people’s stuff. Sometimes buyers hire me to come in and help them arrange their furniture and sometimes color consult after they buy.
What is the most common question you get from sellers?
It’s probably when sellers see me bringing in certain pieces and they wonder why. That’s the hardest thing for sellers to understand. Sometimes they see an eclectic mix of pieces that isn’t necessarily their style. It’s difficult to convey that we are staging to get buyers to take a second look at the home and really have it capture their imagination. Important to remember, staging is not for the seller – it’s for the buyer.
Are there any trends you are loving working with right now?
I have a specific love of nature and incorporating rustic natural things into my design. It’s become a big trend lately
What are you most proud of in your work?
When I finish a job and feel really good about it and I walk away, the feeling I get when I walk away and it feels “right” is worth it all