Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Nate Berkus: Are You Listening?


Nate Berkus is a reknowned interior designer, dear friend of Oprah, and hosted his own TV show.  Nate's Chicago apartment has been on the market for 372 days.  Here's the MLS shot of Nate's living room.

It is a beautifully designed room.  It is not a staged-to-sell room. 
  • Notice how the visual weight rests at the 'brown end' of the room?  That area needs to be broken up using one of the foreground chairs.  A few contrasting pillows on the sofa would also help. 
  • Notice the two small chairs floating in the middle of the room? We never want traffic paths to be obstructed by furniture.  Anytime a potential buyer has to maneuver around furniture, the room registers as 'small'. 
  • Notice all the miscellaneous items on tabletops and the shelves?  Too many chotskies registers as clutter for selling
  • Notice that objet d'art standing on the back wall near the corner.  It photographs as a small misplaced window.  I'd have to lose that.
  • Notice that the furniture arrangement near the wall feels like a high-end waiting room. (You know, where you sit up straight anticipating the doc's bad news?) I would have to rearrange it to make it feel more relaxed and welcoming.
Nate Berkus, I am a big fan.  I'm just a small home stager from North Carolina.  You are certainly more accomplished than moi.  Still, I can't help but point out the folly of your design for selling.

Original Price: $2,65 M
Current Price: $1,995 M

Agent: Katherine Chez Malkin
Baird & Wagner


  1. That's it, sister, you tell him! I'm no stager but I am having a very difficult time knowing where to focus my attention in this room. Oprah schmoprah! He needs your help!

  2. Thanks Peggy! Yep, I think Nate knows decorating but doesn't know staging. Your comment made me smile!

  3. Honestly, I don`t like it, looks like too much different stuff, yup he needs your help :)

    1. Thanks Anne. There is a lot going on in that room that distracts from the architecture.

  4. Seriously this room gives me a headache..what's your thoughts on the rug?

    1. I like the rug--but not for selling! It photographs like a series of escalator steps leading up to the sofa. Decorating is not staging to sell.

  5. Linda, New to you today via your comment on Lime in the coconut (maps) and have read through your posts to here.

    I am an open house junkie (27+ yrs) and love to imagine what I would do to stage for selling. I enjoy discussing the asking price with the agents. (meaning I TELL them how much the house will sell for...why are you letting the seller price it too high?)

    Berkus hurt his chances more by pricing it too high "Oh a celebrity lived here, I only paid $700,000 more than all the comparable's!"

    But now that he has had to drop his price so much, it is time to take your advice and un-Berkus-it.

    Looking forward to reading more of your posts. :-) Cheers!

  6. Thanks Linda for your thoughtful post--love the 'un-Berkus-it' remark! Most of the agents I deal with are seasoned. Meaning they aren't going to waste their time or money marketing a house that is overprice and won't sell. Many newbie agents simply want the listing and will agree with the seller about price to get the listing. Can you imagine an agent trying to tell a celebrity designer that the house needs staging. HA! I doubt they have the nerve!