Beauty Sells For Piedmont Staging Duo

Prudential California Realty's office in Piedmont is the home of a savvy new breed of real estate agents who know how to sell houses, sell them quickly and often; and for more than the asking price.

Sheila Sabine and Judith Glass, are virtual staging wizards—recreating homes' entire atmosphere in order to make them much more appealing to potential buyers. Their statistics speak for themselves—95 percent of all staged homes sell within the first month.

"What Judith and I do is create glimpses of living in each corner of the house. We stage homes to bring out the unique intention of the dwelling and its surroundings," says Sabine. "From replanting English gardens, to repainting, and pulling interesting  pieces from the seller's attic and displaying them in interesting ways, we're committed to creating a kind of living beauty that allows the property to be seen in the best light."

Sabine and Glass' recent listing—a Walter Ratcliff home in Berkeley—is by far the duo's most extensive staging project to date, Sabine and Glass first went to work on the basics of the interior. They pulled up faded carpets to reveal rustic hardwood floors, removed dated cushions from a built-in couch and added interesting pillows in the corner; pulled down antique rugs from the attic to be used as accent pieces on stairway landings and foyers.

For the 14,000 square-foot garden, the pair put the seller in touch with a horticulture student, Shirley Watts, from Merritt College to replant the grounds. "Unlike many landscape architects, Shirley has a spirit-based sense of gardens and their spiritual-based sense of gardens and their natural beauty. Although she just finished replanting a few weeks ago, the garden looks as if it has been existing for quite some time. It's a dramatic difference from planting a   few primroses here and there," says Sabine.

The staging work continued, leaving no detail unnoticed. By the time Sabine and Glass hosted the property's first Open House, they had hired an antiques dealer to bring in a few extra pieces, a chamber quartet to play and caterer's to provide an array of gourmet edibles.

As guests walked from room to room, subtle signs of staging appeared in every corner: crusty breads and antique napkin rings on the pantry's counter, antique ribbons swirling about wine bottles, bagels, rustic blue ceramic plates and a bouquet of wheat on the kitchen table, a basket of lemons to compliment the yellow wallpaper, vases of anthuriums and red carnations and camellias, fires in each fireplace, a platter of red apples as a centerpiece.

Upstairs in the master bedroom, browsers were treated to a dramatic visual of mirrors, a round bed draped with white linens, antique kimono, pastel-colored orchids and a rattan breakfast tray.

"These  days, selling a house means selling a life-style and a feeling," says Glass. "Whatever the personality of the house suggests, we bring that out.." They also brought in a number of prospective buyers and neighbors: their next client.

For the Ratcliff home, the two sent out over 400 postcards to prospective buyers and neighbors; inviting each to the Open House event.

"The response has been overwhelming—a true housewarming. This is a very special house and we know that our staging will help it find just the right buyer."

Sabine is a graduate of the Sogetsu Ikebana School in Tokyo and has over 20 years experience in real estate and interior design. She joined mason McDuffie in 1989 and is currently working on a staging video and book with her partner, Judith Glass, a resident of the East bay since 1961, has an MBA in Marketing and has been a full-time Realtor since 1989.

Montclarion, April 12, 1996

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ARTICLES: All the Homes A Stage | Beauty Sells for Piedmont Staging Duo | Craftsman-Style Home on 'Stage'
Creative Staging | Sabine Sets the Stage for Sales Success | Sealing the Deal | Setting the Stage 
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