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Staging a Story

Drophed: How décor can tell a narrative

By Cathy Hobbs, ASID

(Cathy Hobbs)
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As a television news reporter and anchor for nearly 20 years, I told stories for a living. I covered and reported the news in some of the top local news markets in the country. In many ways, the storytelling techniques I used during my decades in news are the same skills that can be used to tell a story when it comes to home staging and styling.

In creating “the story” for any property, you want to make sure you are creating a marketing tool that will appeal to a targeted potential buyer. Most buyers need to have an emotional reaction to a property and that is what your story should convey.

In a recent project, in which I was staging a model residence in an urban area of Brooklyn that appeals to couples and families, I settled on a design recipe that included a travel theme. In designing, I never select the route of a literal interpretation; instead, it is all about design and subtle touches that I hope work seamlessly together.

The thought behind my design recipe related to the fact that I believed the target resident would be a couple, mid to late 30s, and well traveled. I further envisioned this couple as one who considered their travels a big influence to their design and decorating tastes.

In the living room, I selected luxury materials, including a walnut lounge chair with a black leather cushion and seat, walnut wood dining table, and black walnut trimmed “schoolhouse” style chairs. I also added unique accessories such as a candleholder made of cold rolled steel and a woodcarving art piece carved from white lacquer. As with all of my projects, I wanted to tell the “story” of the space, and in this case, the story involved the merging of modern luxury with industrial elements.

I wanted to tell a story as well in designing the sales office, which is where potential renters make their first impressions of a property. In this space, I felt the story should be more of one of “unbridled luxury,” which I translated into an equestrian design theme.

(Cathy Hobbs)

Since I began riding horses at the age of 8 and owned a horse until I went to college, I can relate to many aspects of the equestrian design theme. In keeping with this design, I selected an oversized, dramatic acrylic three-panel art piece that really anchored the space and served as a focal point.

I then grounded the space using color by selecting a sectional sofa in rich charcoal flannel, adding sumptuous custom-made toss pillows in a ribbon pattern similar to the reins of a horse’s bridle.

My approach to interior design and home staging is based on the philosophy behind my brand Design Recipes: determining how a potential user needs to live and function in the space, while also creating an environment that is aesthetically pleasing and always incredibly beautiful.

Five-time Emmy award-winning television personality Cathy Hobbs (ASID) (www.cathyhobbs.com) is the founder of Cathy Hobbs Design Recipes™, a New York City-based firm specializing in interior design, home staging, and model residences for luxury new developments. A nationally known design expert, Cathy has appeared on such programs as The Nate Berkus Show and HGTV’s Top Ten. Cathy was also a finalist on Season 6 of HGTV’s hit reality series “Design Star.”

Cathy is currently traveling around the country as an instructor for Certified Staging Professionals, teaching their prestigious 3-day certification course in Arlington, Va., Miami, Boston, Columbia, Maryland, San Francisco, Fargo, N.D., Nashville, Los Angeles, Philadelphia, Long Island, N.Y., and Las Vegas, Nev. Contact 888-STAGING or www.stagingtraining.com to learn more.