Gwen (not her real name) inherited a number of lovely antiques when her mother passed away. She didn't know where to put everything. For the 3 months that it took her to settle her mother's estate, deal with her own grief, and try to carry on without her best friend, she lived with the antiques surrounding her (rather closing in on her) in her small condo. She called us - "can you help me figure this out? I don't want to move, I just want to find a place the things that matter."
My partner, Shelley Sadownyk, and I spent 5 hours in her condo, sorting, editing, sifting, purging and rearranging. Gwen was absent for most of the time, working diligently in the hallway on making difficult decisions on what to keep and what to toss. She left having last seen the view on the left. She came back in and discovered the view on the right. She wept. She found her mother's chair in front of her own dining table centered around a precious tea service on a silver tray. On the other side was room for two friends on a love-seat her mother kept in the foyer. There were more surprises for her as Shelley and I worked on two other spaces for her. In the end, Gwen was surrounded by the things she loved and could look at them with warm memories welling up, rather than feeling overwhelmed.
Staging, I have discovered, has brought me many satisfying moments like this. My absolute favourite thing to do is to use what the home owner already has and make it fabulous! And what I have also discovered is that my business draws people to me who need a new look because they are having company, or are planning a major celebration and want the house to look beautiful for their guests! Right after, they want to be able to get back to living. There really is more to Staging than selling.