Homes With Heart – Heather Coombs-Perez

Do you often look at a Pottery Barn catalogue and feel the urge to buy something? Me too. It’s not a coincidence that fireplace mantles are adorned with just the right number of candles, or that bathroom displays are punctuated by crisp white towels and just-so placed knick-knacks. Pottery Barn spends millions of dollars on market research in order to determine what kinds of displays make people feel comfortable, and according to home stager, Kathy Nixon of Staged by Kathy, if you want to sell your home, you should pay attention to their play-book.

“The amount of staging a house requires really depends on the existing furnishings and the condition of the home,” said Nixon. “You want your house to look like a Pottery Barn catalogue—fresh, clean and out of a magazine.”

If you’re working with a realtor, it’s always worthwhile to have them bring in a professional stager to see if there are any areas that need improvement. One of the most common problems is that there is simply too much ‘stuff’ in the house. Kathy generally recommends moving excess seating, toys, clothing, tables, and personal items to the garage. When buyers come to view a home, as long as the garage door works, they usually don’t mind the extra clutter in there.

It’s also important to look at the bones of the house. Just because you’ve been using a certain room as an office, doesn’t mean you should leave it that way if you want your home to sell quickly. If the office is one of the nicest rooms in the house, it might be worth switching the furniture around to make it a guest bedroom, for example, whilst moving the office to a less desirable location in the home.

In short, treat your home like it’s going to the Academy Awards and you need to find it the perfect dress; one that hugs its curves in all the right places.

Here are some of Nixon’s tips for a DIY staging intervention:

1. Bathroom – it needs to be spotless. Every towel in the room should be brand, spanking new. You can pick up a few crisp, white ones inexpensively at a local Costco or Target. You’ll also want to clear all of your everyday bathroom necessities off the countertops, while beautifying the room with coordinating candles, soaps and flowers.

2. Bedrooms – whether it’s the master bedroom or the kid’s rooms, the bedding needs to always look freshly laundered. Invest in scores of puffy, decorative pillows and place them on the bed over an inviting comforter. Your bed should resemble the pictures seen in a magazine. Put away all of your self-help books and nightstand paraphernalia, and instead, replace them with highbrow magazines, the New York Times or the Wall Street Journal.

3. Kitchen, breakfast areas, and the dining room table – remove all the cheap wine, no matter how great it tastes! Also, remove everything from the countertops except for a couple of stylish items. As for the table and breakfast areas, make sure to set them in an inviting way. You don’t have to break out the good china, but actually laying the table with centerpieces, candles, napkins, place settings and stemware, will go a long way towards impressing prospective buyers.

4. Living room – the fewer pieces of furniture in the living room, the better. When it really comes down to it, minimalism is the way to go. A couch, coffee table and beautiful floors are enough in most homes. If you have a very large room, an additional couch or loveseat, end tables, and a rug may be in order. If you have a wall unit, mantle or built-ins, make sure to treat each shelf as its own showpiece. Go to the local flea market or Goodwill to pick up classic, hardcover books that look good. Once again, pull out the Pottery Barn catalogue and copy the item groupings you see in its pages.

Heather Coombs Perez and Heart Realtors are part of Culver City’s award-winning Cavanaugh Realtors team and are committed to Culver City schools and the community through their Gifts From The Heart program. You can reach Heather at 310-259-7419 or at [email protected]. You can also visit the website at for more information.

More information about Staged by Kathy can be found at [email protected] or on Facebook at Kathy Nixon. Reach Kathy at 310-710-4110.

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