'Streamline staging' experts show off
Glass-Sabine team draws scores to John Galen Howard site


By Ginny Hair

When John Galen Howard & Associates built 5321 Golden Gate Ave. in Oakland 74 years ago, it is likely no one dreamed that it would be creating excitement in 1999.

Famous for his Beaux-Arts buildings and his plan for the University of California Berkeley, Howard is known as a Bay Area craftsman-tradition pioneer.

Last week, his restored Spanish-style villa proved that good architectural "bones," when combined with innovative marketing savvy, will continue to have mass appeal.

Listing agents Judith Glass and Sheila Sabine, the Glass-Sabine team of Prudential California Realty, attracted a record crowd to view Howard's masterpiece: the showing drew more than 200 brokers to view the property and more than 500 potential buyers at Sunday's open house.

Built in the Spanish Colonial Revival style, the house incorporates features of California's missions, including spacious gardens, rustic beamed ceilings, custom iron work and hardware. The house has been remodeled and restored to retain the original feeling of the period.

"It was our goal to market this property in the spirit of art and beauty," says Sabine. "This home is an architectural masterpiece and it was our intention to honor it as such. we wanted the world to know that this property was available."

The duo took a bold step and placed an ad in the global edition of the WALL STREET JOURNAL.

Next, they went to work preparing the home for the market. Recently featured in several national magazines as "staging" experts, the team has developed "streamline staging" as art and trademark.

Whether it means adding a new mailbox, touching up paint, bring in fresh flowers, crust bread, furniture, artwork, hand-painted ceramics, or even a Scrabble game with the words "beautiful home" spelled out, Glass and Sabine create a "living theater" with each home they list, and they do it for free.

"The owners of this beautiful residence have exquisite taste and it was a pleasure to add Ikebana-inspired flower arrangements and to make suggestions as to how they could rearrange and highlight their tasteful furniture and art," Sabine says.

"It is our intent to create a new experience with the house and allow the magic and inspiration of the house shine through," Sabine says.

Glass echoes Sabine's philosophy by adding, "We believe that by being selective in what we do, whether that means adding a few touches or putting some furniture in storage, that the true essence of the home will come through. Our work is meant to ultimately spotlight the true beauty of the home."

For the Howard open house, the pair hired a classical guitarist to go with the spirit of the home from the San Francisco Conservatory of Music.

Glass and Sabine often hire local musicians to add what they consider a "festive mood" to their Sunday open houses. The public in turn, feels uplifted and delighted, according to Sabine, because of this thoughtful environment.

"This open house in particular," added Glass, "really attracted a crowd who appreciated the architecture and magic of the gardens."

Honored by the California Association of Realtors, the two recently participated in the Associations Top Producer Panel and continue to boast annual home sales that rank in the top 1% with prudential world-wide.

The two turned the real estate industry (at times infamous for its competitive nature among agents) on its head and formed a partnership three years ago. The Glass-Sabine team is now a model that several real estate professionals at Prudential have adopted.

Glass and Sabine have backgrounds in art and interior design. Glass has an MBA in marketing and is a member of the Berkeley Architectural Heritage Association. Sabine is a graduate of the Sogetsu Ikebana School of Tokyo. They both recognize the value of Feng Shui, regularly incorporating these holistic principles in their projects.

—REAL ESTATE & HOME, The Montclarion, The Piedmonter, Berkeley Voice, The Journal, March 4-5, 1999

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ARTICLES: All the Homes A Stage | Beauty Sells for Piedmont Staging Duo | Craftsman-Style Home on 'Stage'
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