Sarah Evers owns between 35 and 40 different sofas. “I’m not quite sure exactly how many, but it’s thereabouts.”
She also has to check to see how many mirrors she has bought over the years. “I think it was 60 at the last count.” On bed numbers she is more certain. “Exactly 50. Almost all doubles and absolutely no bunk beds, ever.”
She keeps all this stuff, along with equally impressive numbers of light fittings, rugs, bathroom accessories, sideboards, cabinets, cushions, throws, tables, chairs and the like — along with 200 plus pieces of art — in a massive warehouse.
Her business as a professional home stager requires an enormous inventory and much of it has to be up-to-date and trendy.
Evers is employed to furnish empty homes or those which need improving in the run-up to a sale. But occasionally her huge inventory is depleted, filched by those viewing the houses for sale
“Bathroom accessories mainly,” she says. “They like to take liquid soap dispensers and candles because they’re portable.
“That said, I’m also short a few outdoor bistro table and chair sets which sometimes get taken from the gardens of the houses. Most likely by randomers climbing in. So not by the property viewers. I hope.”
For those who wonder about the value of home staging, which costs between €3,000 and €10,000, consider that surveys taken here and abroad regularly show that staging usually adds far more to the ultimate sale price of a property than you spend on it.
The step down staircase from the older part of the house to the extension
Last year Evers staged a modern two-bed terrace townhouse. The property next door was identical in every way and came on the market at the same time. It fetched €300,000 and the property staged by Evers made €365,000.
More recently, she staged an apartment in Deansgrange after it had been on the market unsuccessfully.
When she had finished the staging an identical apartment came on the market in the same scheme, presented much as hers had been. It sold for €265,000 while her staged property sold for €325,000.
So why do home buyers pay more for staged properties? Surely they know that they don’t get any of that swishy furniture that they see on show?
“If they didn’t pay more, my job would be obsolete,” says Evers. “But they do. Being a stager isn’t about making the house pretty, although it does. It’s about making a lot more money for your home.
“We’re not interior designers, who design for one person’s tastes because we have to design for the widest generic appeal that suits the home we’re staging. But within that scope we also have to make a stand-out difference.”
Evers stock is mixed between contemporary, vintage and classical
One of her latest jobs was staging this large Edwardian red brick house at 20 Hollybrook Road in Clontarf, Dublin 3 which has been upgraded and significantly extended by its owners to make a mix of traditional and contemporary.
“With their kids grown up they’ve built another home in the area. To be honest this was a dream home to stage. It was more of a case of what I could do to enhance what was already there.”
The owners converted a small bedroom and bathroom into one large luxurious family bathroom.
Another small bedroom became a dressing room for the master bedroom suite. The attic was converted and provides an additional bedroom and office space. This makes No20 a four-bed with five possible by reconverting the dressing room.
A very large kitchen and living extension has been added and stepped down from the old house with a contemporary stairs link.
So let’s start with what didn’t have to be done. “Well the house has been painted perfectly inside and the garden has been also been done well, with its own putting green.
“In 75pc of cases I’d have the painters in either to redo the place entirely or to cover up and retouch. Watermarks are a big issue for buyers. No painting or garden work was needed here.
“The owners had some very good furniture and an exceptional art collection. So less furniture and no wall-mounted art at all. When you’re selling your home, art is a great way to brighten the walls.”
And what she did add? “Bed linen is important. It should combine textures and layers and use cushions and throws for pops of colour.
“In this home’s case I supplied it all with two big stylish sleigh beds, lockers and lamps. We use mostly double beds except when there’s no space. We never stage with bunk beds because it gives the impression of being cramped.”
In the kitchen extension, Evers felt the quite heavy family dining table shoved against a wall didn’t work.
So she replaced it with a round glass top table and suitable chairs. “These fit much better with the airy light feel of this pretty amazing contemporary extension.”
In the front drawing room, she kept the family’s stylish sofa set but matched the soft fittings in red to the drapes.
“I put in a marble topped French antique sideboard which works really well. In the formal dining room I felt the family’s own traditional table and chairs worked but added two gilt-edged mirrors, an antique brass-based standard lamp and table decor, informal, not too intricate.
“A house like this can take a mix of traditional, vintage and contemporary pieces.”
Accommodation at No20 includes a period reception hall, a formal interconnecting drawing room and dining room, a linked open plan contemporary kitchen and living/dining extension leading to a very large utility.
Five bedrooms are provided upstairs and three are doubles. The BER is C3.
There is a guest WC on the ground floor, an extra large family bathroom on the first floor and a shower room on the second floor.
There’s a side entrance and the property has rear access for off street parking for two vehicles at the rear of the garden.
Gallagher Quigley is seeking €1.65m.