I’ve recently had the pleasure of working with the gorgeous girls, Sara and Amy Chamberlain, from ‘The Real Estate Stylist’ in preparing my Prahran townhouse for sale. I’ve been thrilled with the results and wanted to share with my loyal RJL readers the fantastic work that these chickies are doing. I hope you enjoy my interview with the girls and the before and after pictures of properties they’ve styled- just wow! I look forward to bringing you a full write up on my own Prahran property and how I worked with The Real Estate Stylists in the weeks to come.
So I bet you’re asking, “What is a Real Estate Stylist and why do I need one?” Well, keep reading as my interview with the girls will answer your questions.
When and why did you start your business: We took the leap of faith in the middle of last year (2012) and initially started as we could see a hole in the market. Prop furniture was been used to ‘style’ properties for sale. We saw it time and time again. Our approach differs from many “staging” companies as we approach the process as stylists. The difference in the result is between a house that feels well presented and a house that inspires buyers and feels lived in. People will always buy with emotions. A house is usually the biggest investment anyone will ever make, we thought it was time to give vendors the best possible service and add value to properties.
What does hiring a Real Estate Stylist involve and what is the process? We like to take all the thinking and the worries out of the process for vendors and developers. Interiors and an awareness of space is quite an abstract concept for lots of people. The majority of clients know what they like, although don’t know how to pull it together. We ultimately build a relationship with the client and work out what it is that they are after. Most of our clients own empty properties and usually we have carte e blanche over the décor. The process is pretty easy for clients, it involves visiting the property for a quote, quoting, approval, designing for TRES, and installation. Our clients trust us to take care of the design, so usually it is like a “changing rooms” moment for our clients. And we have had the most wonderful feedback and incredible results for vendors. One thing we would say is make sure you have enough time up your sleeves- getting ready for sale is a big job and you don’t want to be stuck with photos you hate for a 6 week campaign and a sale price lower than you wanted just because you were unprepared. We work on a lead time of 2-3 weeks during peak season so get in early and work with a stylist you trust.
How do you decide on a style for a house? We start with the architecture of the property, ultimately the furniture is not sold with the property so buyers will need to like the “style” of the house first and foremost. We then look at spaces and how best to use them. In the 21st century, everyone wants to know where to put the television! Bemuses us but we oblige. A lot of properties have fixtures and architecture that was not built for a 100inch Plasma HD LED 3D (and all the other letters) T.V. We design our rooms so there is a harmony of space, comfort, style and functionality. Lots of rooms are pokey and buyers will be bemused as how to use them. Ultimately that is where we add the most value.
What is your personal interiors style? We both have very different personal interior styles, Sara is feminine, Amy is masculine. This is why we mesh so well together as designers. We design most spaces together and we continually challenge each other to step out of our comfort zones. We love brilliant design, strong artwork, playing with textures and well-made furniture. Property styling is an amazing avenue for us, as we are so eclectic and love so many different styles, any given day we could be doing Hamptons, Mid Century, Scandi, Contemporary or French Provincial.
What do you love about your job? There is nothing better than seeing the potential of a property and bringing it to life. We are constantly surprised at how well properties scrub up. There is always a feature or possibility and making an empty space feel like a home is endlessly rewarding. We often referred to it as the “cuppa tea test” we play with style, colours, propping and placement until the space feels like you want to put the kettle on and have a cuppa. That is when we know we have done our job.
Tell me about some of your success stories? At our very first meeting with our very first agent we were given the keys to a job on the spot! We had no furniture and not even a tape measure to measure up the space…the property sold $30K above reserve at auction and we thought we should keep going. Our 2nd job we were offered the role of exclusive stylist for that agency and our third job was a multi-million dollar property in Hawthorn (the images of which were used for a national advertising campaign). More recently we have been approached to present at industry events, something we are super excited about and the lovely Mrs Judd has entrusted us to style her property for sale!! The date of our installation for Bec will be exactly 1 year to the day since our first property- pretty big year!!!