Setting The Stage For A Successful Home Sale, Or Just A New Look

Mother of Reinvention

Lisa Hynes

Stage to Show
South Salem
(203) 921-6628

Signature look: “Clean, on trend, and sophisticated with a touch of whimsy, while reflecting the architecture of
the home” 

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Her biz includes: A $1.5 million inventory in a 10,000-square-foot warehouse 

Home: A rambling ranch that she converted into a two-story, six-bedroom, center-hall Colonial 

Fave accessory: Mongolian lamb pillows. “They add dimension, softness, and hipness to a master bed, boring leather club chairs, or grouped with patterned pillows.” 

Most dramatic bang-for-the-buck strategy: “I really like the impact large rectangular mirrors framed in rustic barn wood make in a large entryway or dining room.” 

Go-to tchotchke: White horse heads 

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Most challenging issues: “An architecturally unsound house, a fireplace not centered in a room, or where there is a fireplace on one wall and a media center on the opposite one—it feels a bit schizophrenic.” 

Consider: “Adding just a bit of color to each space, even if it is one orange throw in an all gray and ivory room


Hynes wanted the great room—located off the kitchen—to be inviting for the whole family. If the mom were in the kitchen, she could still see everyone relaxing on the large, comfortable sectional in the family room. The orange color gives the room some pop, and the gooseneck floor lamps are in line with the mid-century-modern vibe.


For a living room in an Armonk home that had been on the market for some time without selling, the homeowner’s more traditional items were cleared away and modern furniture, more in keeping with its contemporary architecture, was installed at Hynes’ direction. The result was a fresh, young look.


To make this Scarsdale home’s entryway look fresh, young, and inviting, Lisa Hynes of Stage to Show gave the space a lift by painting it, removing the dated stair runner, and adding such interesting items as a hide-covered ottoman and a double-gourd lamp to lure potential homeowners into the area.

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The Gold Standard

Marlene Gold

Gold Staging & Redesign
(914) 310-5660

Signature look: “Sophisticated, crisp, and current” 

Advice to DIYers: “Get the entry area right with love-at-first-sight appeal. If you don’t have an entry area, create it with furniture placement, vignettes, et cetera. Most buyers make purchases based on emotion, so you need to give them something to get emotionally invested in.” 

Crucial staging step: “Cleaning everything so that it sparkles—scrubbing all surfaces, floors, counters, grouting, baseboards, and windows, plus the inside and outside of all appliances.” 

Avoid: “Pushing furniture against the wall to make the room appear more spacious. It does the opposite, drawing the eye to the empty center, which registers as the room size.” 

Best quick fix: “Changing out a dated light fixture or two for something contemporary and smart instantly gives the area a new look. Home Depot and IKEA have designs that won’t break the bank and look like those in upscale stores.” 

Fave accessories: “Sumptuous, solid throws in soft, light colors tone down and freshen dull, dated, or busy upholstery or dress up the bed; large art plays up the scale of the wall and makes the space more important; and big mirrors reflect light and add depth.”


“This Harrison house was fully renovated with all high-end amenities and finishings,” says Gold, “but needed staging to appeal to a young, affluent buyer.” Now, in the handsome living room,  a contemporary mix of furnishings look fresh against the imposing, traditional English country Tudor architecture of the home. 


The library in the same Harrison Tudor is staged in a sophisticated mix of furnishings, including an antique Chinese cocktail table, a handsome pair of stylized leather winged chairs with chrome nailheads, a contemporary zebrawood end table, and a mix of decorative accents throughout.


This Rye bathroom was transformed by painting the cabinetry, removing the shutters and wallpaper, adding a silver-leafed mirror, and replacing the bubble-glass shower door with clear glass and the flooring with penny tiles.

Moving Experiences

Kitty Schwartz

Classic Home Staging
Goldens Bridge
(914) 263-2870

Signature look: “Transitional, light, clean, simple, uncluttered, and peaceful” 

Formerly: A corporate spouse whose family moved constantly. “I developed an expertise in how to sell houses quickly by making them look great by necessity; I effectively ‘merchandized’ [the houses we lived in] to appeal to buyers.” 

How staging to sell differs from designing to live: The layers of accessories and personality. “When staging, I remove those layers to neutralize the house. When designing, I add on the layers to reflect the personality of the clients.” 

Inventory: $20,000 worth of accent pieces, bedding, towels, plants, candlesticks, and a multitude of other accessories that she uses with her clients’ own edited and re-mixed furnishings. 

Most inspired by: Nature. “Just Google ‘okapi,’ and pattern your living room after the gorgeous colors and markings of that animal. I promise you that your room will be stunning.” 

Most indispensable tool: Her camera. “Stand in the doorway of each room, take a photo, and download the pictures to your computer. Look at your rooms as you would if you were viewing a listing on the Internet, and the photos will tell you what you have to do to prepare the house for the market.” 

Best quick fix: “Double-high inflatable beds for turning those bedrooms [you converted for other uses] back into bedrooms!”


Kitty Schwartz of Classic Home Staging kept furnishings to a minimum in this Katonah home, with just an indication of seating and sleeping areas. Windows were kept free of treatments in order to highlight the lushly landscaped views.





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