I checked out two episodes of TLC's new show Stager Invasion tonight. You can read my review of the Bolaños Family episode on AC. Following that, I watched the episode with married couple Marean (pronounced "Maryann") and Peter Steen. They've been holding on to two houses, their own and Marean's parents. It's too expensive to maintain both, so it's time to sell the parents' home.
Enter the Stager Invasion crew, and by crew I mean CREW. The horde descends, with staging expert Lisa Lynch ready to bend them to her will. The house has been on the market for three months with no bites, so it's obvious something needs to be done. Following Stager Invasion conventions, they've got 8 hours and only $1000 to spend.
It's even more obvious once we see the inside. The house is like a time warp from the 70s, with bright orange chairs, giant gold lamps, and foil-flecked wallpaper. Marean's childhood bedroom is sparse with little white furniture. The outside entrance to the house has grand architecture, but not a lot of color or welcoming appeal.
Lisa and the Stager Invasion crew empty the rooms and get to work. The most horrifying aspect is when they start painting over the wallpaper. It's a quick fix to spruce up the entryway, and Lisa wants the texture of the crackle look wallpaper to come through. It comes through, all right. As the painters work, the paper keeps peeling off, and then they have to paint more. Good luck to the new homeowners if they try to remove wallpaper with five coats of paint over it--sounds like a lot of new drywall to me!
Lisa salvages one of the giant lamps, repainting it and covering the shade with a more modern fabric. With the new neutral paint and cool lamp, the foyer is much more inviting to buyers.
Outside, Lisa has Morgan the Stager Invasion gardener chop down two of the sculpted trees closest to the house. I hate when designers get rid of mature foliage and replace it with tiny perennials or annuals, but Lisa feels the entrance needs to be opened up. The added bright red color of the flowers does enhance the front steps and makes it look more lived-in.
The sparse bedroom is still sparse, but the walls are a cool blue/gray and the furniture had been repainted a dark brown. It's more classy and modern, and gives the room a more spa-like feel.
The end result of the Stager Invasion? The home was listed at $449,000 and sold three weeks later for $461,00. Not too shabby.
My thoughts on the first episode were reinforced by this one. Host and expert stager Lisa Lynch is shrill and frenetic and hard to take for even a short half hour program. I found myself turning the sound down on the TV as I watched.
I also don't enjoy the manufactured drama of the Stager Invasion 8-hour deadline. All this means is that the crew has to cut corners and do shoddy work in order to make it in time. This
doesn't exactly educate the viewer on how to stage a home properly--at least in a way that doesn't screw over that next lucky buyer. I also hate when they pretend to have fights between staff members or pretend that a minor delay is some huge earth-shattering crisis.
Again, Lisa's father shows up to help chainsaw down the trees. He cuts himself, and Lisa treats him like a 10 year old who's skinned his knee, before banishing him from doing further work. I'm at a complete loss as to why her father appears on each show. He's not part of the business, and doesn't appear to be a tradesman in the home improvement area. It's like driving to your office in the morning and then after lunch, you call your dad to come in and file some paperwork for you--even though he doesn't work there. Who would do that?
Check out Stager Invasion for yourself on TLC on Tuesday nights at 8/7c. You might get a few staging hints out of it, but it doesn't look like it'll be on your must-watch list.
PHOTOS: The Stager Invasion crew; expert stager Lisa Lynch, c2009 TLC.