Selling a house can be a tricky process. Often, special techniques are needed to make the house look more attractive to buyers. Home staging is the art of preparing a house for the real estate market by decorating it with furniture to create a lived-in atmosphere.
"We thought we were going to be slow between now and New Year's, [but] we have a possibility of a staging in Katonah," Hynes said.
Hynes said they are busy when real estate brokers put houses on the market in the fall and spring. But if the deal goes through in Katonah, N.Y., Brasini and Hynes will load a rented truck with high-end furniture from their warehouse in South Salem, NY, and everything else will follow a routine.
"We would fill the truck the previous afternoon so that we're ready to show up at the property first thing in the morning with a team of four, and we would have [the house] three quarters of the way staged by the end of the day," Hynes said. "Then we would go in the next day and see where we would need a plant or table staged."
Their routine helped sell a Darien house in less than 10 days, when it had been taken off the market after a year and given a grand reopening party.
"Lisa and I will be working off the same list and it totally comes together by the end of the day," Brasini said. "We bounce off each other really well."
Brasini, a former fashion designer for companies like Talbots and Tommy Hilfiger, worked with the original owner, Gabrielle Shannon, for six years before Shannon sold the business to Hynes in the fall. Hynes, also a former fashion designer for companies like Liz Claiborne, Kellwood, Kay Unger and Ralph Lauren, consulted for Shannon at Stage to Show over its eight years as a company.
"I worked in the city for 15 years," Hynes said. "I traveled all over the world and I'd bring in fabrics from all over the world. So I'd look at interior design and clothing design kind of the same way."
Similar to clothing, Brasini and Hynes constantly update their inventory.
"I'm sure we have the largest inventory on the east coast," Hynes said, adding that it benefits their business to have their own inventory. When they host breakfast presentations for real estate brokers, they explain that renting furniture takes longer and is less trustworthy than their operation.
The Stage to Show warehouse, a short walk from their office, holds sofas and mattresses wrapped in protective plastic, tables of different shapes and sizes, wooden and upholstered chairs, carpets, throw pillows, table lamps, antique accessories, and faux flowers.
Back in their office, large pieces of artwork rest against a wall next to a room with more antiques, wicker baskets, and games used to decorate a child's bedroom.
Brasini said they currently have about 40 percent of their inventory with them in South Salem, yet it seems dense. The rest of their inventory is in the houses they have staged.
"Once it's in, we're done," Hynes said. "It's when everything starts selling and they call us to take the furniture out. I think last week we did three houses in one week."
"We've actually been really busy," Brasini said. "Since it's been just Lisa and I, we haven't really had time to do any advertising."
While their furniture is staged in houses, it advertises itself.
"We had a client in Greenwich who bought the entire house, down to the faux wine glasses," Hynes said.
Their furniture is staged in several towns across Fairfield County and Westchester County, NY. They were asked to stage a home in East Hampton, N.Y., their farthest location yet, and have gone as far south as Tarrytown, N.Y., where they staged a model condominium for Hudson Harbors.
"Nothing's too big and nothing's too small," Brasini said. "That's one of our mottos."
"We go anywhere from a million dollar house to an eleven-million dollar house," Hynes said. "We do partial staging. We bring art and rugs or move their furniture around."
Brasini and Hynes have also staged a school for an open house, worked with hoarders, and claim their business is client driven and competitively priced.
"We'll work with the client to get something that is within their price range," Hynes said. "Instead of staging every room in the house, we will do what's in their budget."
Their website, www.stagetoshow.com, states that consultations and shopping services range from $100 to $300 per hour. All other services are priced accordingly.
Yet, Brasini and Hynes mostly work with realtors.
This past fall, they were driving a truck filled with furniture from a house in Darien, which sold after they staged it, when one of their regular realtors from Greenwich called to ask if they could stage another house immediately. They accepted, using the furniture that was in the truck to stage the house in Greenwich.
"We just drove the truck," Brasini said.
Hynes added, "That was magic that day."