Let’s say you’re a bank who’s foreclosed on Nicolas Cage’s Bel Air mansion and you want to unload it in one of the areas of the country hardest hit by the recession.  Are you going to rely solely on provenance to sell the place at auction?

A) Not if you’re smart, and

B) Not if the interior is butt-ugly.

Staging sells homes, there’s just no way around it.  Your objective when selling a home is to provide a backdrop for homebuyers’ fantasies–not their nightmares.  I understand that banks think they’re not in the real estate business, but these days?  Honey, you’re in it lock, stock, and barrel.  Especially if you’re talking about a property once on the market for $35 million.  No one wanted to even pony up a third of that asking price when it went on the auction block last week.  It’s not hard to see why:

Family room.

Family room.

Now I’ll admit I’m not the biggest Tudor lover in the world, but I could at least appreciate some of the old world craftsmanship if I weren’t so distracted by all the fugly in the room.  What would I do?

1. Eliminate the inexplicable red paint rectangle to the left of the fireplace.

2. Never put a chair with its back to the feature in the room (fireplace).

3. Umm, no samurai warrior statues.  This should be self-explanatory, no?

4. Dial down the goth vibe by lightening the furnishings.  Go for solid-colored furniture and a low-contrast print on the rug so the fireplace and architectural details take center stage.


Living room.

Again, the focus needs to be on the grandness of the ceiling details, the fireplace surround, and the molding details.  In this room, I would:

1. Replace red curtains with light, neutral panels without old-lady tiebacks.

2. Ix-nay the u-g-l-y black leather rocker/recliner.

3. As there are plenty of wood tones everywhere, I would not center a tiger wood barrel chair in the middle of a rugless wood floor.

4. The oil portrait in the left-hand corner stays, the grand piano stays, and maaaaaybe the green lamp stays.  Everything else in the room gets yanked.

5. Neutralize the red fireplace surround.  Don’t even know what we’re thinkin’ with that one.

6. The next time someone asks me why they need a rug in their living room, I’m going to show them this photo.  It just looks like a hodgepodge of furniture without a rug to contain the seating area.



Yikes. I probably don’t even have to tell you what’s wrong with this bathroom.  But I will anyway:

1. I don’t know which one I’d take a sledgehammer first to…the shell sink or the fluorescent lighting in a bad bulkhead?

2. Kelly green could work in a bathroom, but not this one…and not if you’re trying to sell.

3. With the existing wrap-around mirror in the space, we don’t exactly need another mirror on the wall…especially not some big, honkin’ dragon wrapped around a chintzy beveled rectangle of a mirror.



I wouldn’t kick this kitchen outta my house…but aren’t you a bit surprised at the outdated cabinetry with uneven molding?  That’s not something I’d recommend tackling at this point because it means taking on the additional expense of new counters too, but I would:

1. Paint the brick the same color as the cabinetry.  If you’re going for all–white, do it.  Not to mention it will highlight the massive stove.

2. Find a place to do a built-in microwave and get it off the counter.

3. Two dishwashers = selling feature.  Two coffee makers?  Not so much.  Besides, at this price point, you’re drinking espresso, not some plebeian drip brew.

4. Remove all other junk off the stove and counters and bring in a plant, a huge bowl of lemons…something that will warm up the cold Carrera marble.



Where in the world did they find the gothic-inspired lounge chairs??  I wouldn’t eliminate them, but the Masters Jacket Green cushions have Got.  To.  Go.

Via CNN/Money.