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Even in today’s white-hot real estate market, when it comes to selling a home, style matters.
“The key is making any home appeal to the broadest market of buyers,” says Evergreen native Lauren Matthews, design director of Englewood-based White Orchid Interiors. Matthews’ 10-year-old business stages more than 300 Colorado properties for sale annually, editing homeowners’ furnishings and creating a temporary aesthetic designed to attract buyers. Matthews also appears on the new Denver-based home renovation show Raise the Roof, which is airing this fall on the DIY Network. The program features Denver builder Keith Nylund as he adds second stories to smaller homes throughout Denver’s more established neighborhoods. Nylund, a contractor and developer, both works with homeowners and purchases houses he then sells himself.
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A Denver home Matthews staged for an episode of Raise the Roof
In her episodes, Matthews takes over the interior design of for-sale homes. Although she currently divides her time between Colorado and California, where she operates a second office, Matthews understands what sells in Colorado. The former ski racer traveled extensively for her sport and says her chic style is influenced by sophisticated interiors she’s encountered in metro Denver, the high country, and abroad.
We recently caught up with the busy professional to chat about interior design, the impact of HGTV, and how to decorate a home to sell in any market.
5280: What’s the process of staging a home for a television show?
Lauren Matthews?: It’s really no different than when I’m staging a traditional project. It’s the same process, but this time I’m wearing a mic, and mostly they ask us to carry things up and down the stairs a lot more so they can film all the different angles.
Colorado is a hot real estate market now. Why does staging matter?
Right now, a well-staged house can sell in that first weekend. We want to help your home get in a bidding war. The design really impacts the home’s photography and these days, if a house is on the market for too long—if it becomes a dated listing—that’s going to bring down the price.
Raise the Roof is on the DIY Network, a sister network to HGTV. What’s the impact of their popular real estate and home design shows on your client base?
I’d say mostly it makes my job easier because homeowners have seen these shows and understand what we’re looking for in a finished project. I can refer to shows like Fixer Upper and say, “That’s the goal, we’re looking to achieve that with color and style.” Of course, it also means everyone thinks they’re a designer after watching enough shows!
How do you tell a homeowner their favorite stuff needs to go in order to sell their home?
I walk a fine line. Mostly I’m encouraging them to remove the highly personal stuff and go for a broader look. I show them photos of what we’re trying to achieve, and that helps a lot. Keep in mind, my clients are already in the process of looking at homes, so they have an idea of what makes a house appealing and what distracts the buyer.