As styles and trends in every lifestyle category have evolved, so have those in home staging – now for 20 years, Meridith has led the charge with these changes, exploring new design inspirations that reflect how people want to live today. The days of all-white and neutral palettes are behind us – with today’s homes featuring more nuanced color, layered textures, eclectic furnishings, and evocative art. Haute Residence caught up with Meridith Baer Home – the premier home staging company in the country with offices in Los Angeles, San Francisco, New York, and the Hamptons. The goal of Meridith’s staging is not just to furnish the home – but to illustrate a curated and dynamic lifestyle appropriate to each home and let a potential buyer’s imagination run wild. Here, the visionary mastermind behind the highly-coveted staging company dishes on how she first got started in the industry, the creative process behind each project and the number one rule she lives by when it comes to design.
Haute Residence: Can you walk us through the home staging process from your first consultation with the client to creating the space and seeing the final result?
Meredith Baer: When I first meet the client and walk a new property I always like to establish what story we will be telling. Working with the broker or homeowner, we establish who the target client might be then I begin to envision how that person might live in that home. We, of course, take into account the architecture of the home and look for ways to enhance its best features and also minimize any “flaws” – then we go about selecting the right furniture, art and accessories that will evoke an emotional response from potential buyers.
HR: How did you first get started in the industry?
MB: It was totally unplanned. I was a screenwriter, and the house I’d been leasing got sold out from under me. At the time, a friend of mine was trying to sell their empty home and I asked if I could move my 250 potted plants there, as I had no place to put them and they would warm up the property’s large courtyard. He loved how it looked and asked if I could move my furniture in, too. After having sat on the market for quite some time, the home sold in a few days for more than half a million over asking. The broker then asked if I’d move my belongings to another one of her listings, and so it began!
HR: What would you say is the firm’s philosophy in terms of design?
MB: Working with so many styles of homes and different clients all over the country we have to be adaptive – but our overall philosophy would be creating warm, inviting interiors that are aspirational. We want clients to walk in and not only wish they can live there but also feel like they could!
HR: What has been your favorite project you’ve worked on?
MB: Too many to count! I think the more gratifying jobs are the older “ugly duckling “ homes. When we get to go into a home that has been lived in the same way for a number of years and look at it through new eyes and present it in a way that attracts a new buyer – that’s fun! We often have homeowners after transformations like this who don’t want to move!
HR: The number one design rule/tip you live by?
MB: Don’t overdo it. I think for any designer, you need to remember it’s not your home – you are creating a home for someone else and you need to give them space to envision themselves in the home (or actually move in!).
HR: What’s next for the firm?
MB: The last few years have been amazing for the company, we have really expanded our presence in the New York/CT, Florida and Northern California and doing more work in Arizona and Nevada. We are also manufacturing a lot more of our own product and partnering with other top manufacturers on licensing agreements. I am also getting back to my roots and working on a book.. so stay tuned!