RESA Home Staging Conference 2011 - Some Familiar Active Rain Faces in Vegas

Home Stager with Dezigner Digz

I didn't get back from Vegas until late Friday night, so I'm a little late chiming in with my two cents on the staging conference.  This year's was even better than the previous year (hard to believe, right?).

There were an additional 110 home stagers in attendance over last year, bringing the total to 360.  Just like last year, it was a sold out event.  We even had stagers from the U.K. and the Netherlands - how amazing is that!

I was PROUD AS A PEACOCK to be amongst such amazing people:


My first awesome "staging moment" of the conference happened before even setting foot on U.S. soil.  In fact, I hadn't even left Toronto airport yet.  When the U.S. border patrol/customs agent asked me the purpose of my visit to the U.S., I told him that I was attending a conference.  He asked what the conference was about, so I told him that I was attending the RESA Home Staging Conference in Vegas.  I was half expecting a blank look, the handing back of my passport and to be sent along on my merry way.  Instead, he engaged me in a lengthy conversation about home staging (with a long line of other people anxiously waiting behind me I might add)!  He shared with me that he had just had his home staged and listed for sale.  He told me how he's a believer in staging and went on to talk about how his stager accessorized, the rooms she staged and then wanted to know if he got a fair deal on the price.  I couldn't believe that I was actually having this conversation with him!  It was really exciting to see another example of how mainstream staging is becoming.  Most people now know what it is and that it's a valuable tool to the home selling process.



We arrived in Vegas two days before the start of the conference, but for this blog post, I'll fast forward to the 'main event'.  Here are some faces I'm sure you'll recognize from Active Rain:

                        Picture 1                                                 Picture 2        


Picture 1: My good friend Sally Weatherley of Exit Stage Right with Valerie Sagheddu of Apostle Art Home Staging.  Picture 2:  Heather Cook of Rooms in Bloom Home Staging & Design.  Heather lives just 45 minutes from me. We've spoken on the phone before, but it took a trip to Vegas for us to finally meet!  Might I add that Sally was awarded Rookie Stager of the Year for Canada and Heather was awarded Professional Stager of the Year for Canada - way to go ladies!

                      Picture 3                                                   Picture 4


Picture 3: Linda and Gary Barnett of Home Matters.  I have so much respect for both of them.  They have always been so supportive - they're wonderful people.  Picture 4: Nik Murrow and David Peterson of Synergy Staging with Matthew Finlason (in the middle) from HGTV's The Stagers and stager extraordinaire from Los Angeles.  Matthew was also the key note speaker at the conference.

                         Picture 5                                                  Picture 6


Picture 5:  Karen Dembsky of Peachtree Home Staging.  Picture 6:  Michelle Drewry of Staging the Essentials. Karen and Michelle were two of my table mates at the conference.

                         Picture 7                                                  Picture 8


Picture 7The SAR training team who are about to set the staging training industry on fire - an amazing, dynamic bunch!  Picture 8:  Ashley Whittenberger of Interiority Complex (in the centre) with Karen Otto of Home Star Staging to Ashley's left.  Unfortunately, I don't know the names of the other ladies in the photo.  There were just so many people there, that it was impossible to meet everyone.

                      Picture 9                                              Picture 10


Picture 9:  Jackson West of Reveal Estate Home Staging & Annie Pinsker-Brown of Stage to Sell, who, I might add, was awarded Professional Home Stager of the Year - congratulations Annie, your work is amazing!  Picture 10:  You guessed it, Matthew Finlason.  I was so glad that he came back again this year to the conference.  His personality and energy just lit up the room.  I'll be in L.A. in June so I'm hoping to meet up with him and some of my other California stager friends while I'm there.  I was thrilled to be awarded RESA Regional Vice-President of the year, so here I am sporting my award.  It was a total shock!

When I came back and looked at my pictures, I was so disappointed to see that I didn't get photos of so many other great people that I wanted to.   I won't mention names, because there are way too many of them and I'm afraid I'll leave someone out.  I'll be sure to get their photos next year though.

Since I'm late to write about the convention, I won't go into the details of what each speaker presented on.  They were all fabulous and I took away a lot of valuable information from each of them.  Beth Lester wrote an excellent two-part post recapping each of the presentations, so stop by her blog and have a read.

If you're planning on attending in 2012, you better reserve your spot as soon as the tickets go on sale or you'll be disappointed.  Something tells me next year will be a sell-out as well.  And hey, once you're in Vegas, there are so many other things to do and see while you're there.  I'll be writing about that in my next post.  Until then ....  


Dezigner Digz is Burlington, Ontario's premier home staging, styling and redesign firm.  The owner, Charlene Storozuk, is a member of the Canadian Decorators Association and the Real Estate Staging Association and currently serves on RESA's Executive Committee as Regional Vice-President, Canada.  Her work is featured in the book FabJob Guide to Become a Home Stager.  Charlene has written several articles on home staging, some of which have been published by the International Business Times and the Women's Council of REALTORS.  She is also a Contributing Blogger for REALTOR Magazine.  For more information about us, visit our website at




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Michelle Molinari
FEATURE THIS... Real Estate Staging & Interior Decor - Lafayette, LA
Feature This Real, Estate Staging & Curb Appeal Concepts

Hi Charlene!

It was a phenomenal turnout and your post here illustrates it perfectly! See you next year!


Jan 30, 2011 12:58 PM #1
Ginger Foust
Certified Staging Professional - Oakhurst, CA
Home Stager Oakhurst CA, Dream Interior Redesign & Staging

Charlene, great people, great times and great meeting you face-to-face. Most of my photos were lousy as my battery was kapoot.  Guess that means I have to return next year with two batteries.  See you then. 

Jan 30, 2011 01:08 PM #2
Brian Madigan
RE/MAX West Realty Inc., Brokerage (Toronto) - Toronto, ON
LL.B., Broker


This looks like it was a great conference and it's good to see that some AR members got together.


Jan 30, 2011 01:38 PM #3
Melissa Marro
Keller Williams First Coast Realty - The Marro Team - Orange Park, FL
Jacksonville Real Estate and Home Staging

Charlene - It was great to see you there again this year!!  I did miss our dinner from last year though!  I think it sounds like there were quite a few awards on your table... how awesome is that?

Your story with the customs agent is pretty awesome!  I know when I said we were at a staging convention last year in the elevator at Treasure Island and the guy in the elevator engaged in a conversation knowing what that meant was pretty incredible to me (and no he wasn't with the convention... lol)... the word is getting out there!

You are absolutely right too.... as soon as Shell says tickets are on sale, stagers better start registering.  I am sure next year will sell out as well...

Jan 30, 2011 02:47 PM #4
Cathy Lee
CL Design Services Home Staging - Danville, CA

Love your photos and again, congratulations on your awards!! It was so wonderful to see you again Charlene!!

Jan 30, 2011 03:00 PM #5
Annie Pinsker-Brown
Stage to Sell - LA Home Staging - Los Angeles, CA
Stage to Sell, Los Angeles Home Stager

Great photos Charlene! Will you please send me the one of me and Jackson? I didn't really take many photos this time. It was wonderful as always to see your smiling face! Looking forward to next year!

Jan 30, 2011 03:10 PM #6
Heather Cook
Rooms in Bloom Staging & Design Inc. - Kitchener, ON
Quality Home Staging

Charlene - love your pictures and your airport story - how cool is that?? I also think its funny that we are 45 minutes apart and we had to fly to Vegas to meet. I'm looking forward to meeting up with you again soon - maybe we can do lunch! Congrats again on your award - it was well deserved!

Jan 30, 2011 03:19 PM #7
Sally Weatherley
Vancouver Home Staging, Home Stager Vancouver, B.C

Charlene - Love all the photos!  You really captured the essence of the Convention.  That's too funny about the border guard.  I also had a conversation with the border guard upon arriving back in Vancouver.  She asked me if staging really helped sell houses!  Congratulations again on your award, and many thanks for letting me hang with you and your sister in law.  I still can't believe we saw Cher in Concert!  Can't wait for next year!

Jan 30, 2011 03:24 PM #8
Janice Ankrett
Janice Ankrett Home Staging - Burlington, ON
Staging Professional

Charlene, congratulations on your award! I can see you all had a great time.

Jan 31, 2011 07:52 AM #9
Linda Barnett
Home Matters Property Stylist Group, Indianapolis, Indiana - Indianapolis, IN
Home Matters Indianapolis Indiana

Charlene;  As always, Gary and I enjoyed seeing you.  You are a beam of light and it is great to be near you.  Next year, more time together.  Take care and always keep that great smile.  Congratulations again.

Jan 31, 2011 09:42 AM #10
Kathy Nielsen - Marietta, GA
Atlanta Georgia Home Stager

Loved your photos and LOVED seeing you. I was absolutely slammed the entire time I was there. Perhaps next year, we can scoot off somewhere together and get caught up.


P.S. You look wonderful in all your photos!

Feb 01, 2011 11:07 AM #11
Marianne Cherico
Interiors by Marianne Cherico - Foxboro, MA
Home Stager -Massachusetts and Rhode Island


I enjoyed so much getting to know you!!! Your blogs are wonderful and you are just as lovely as you are talented!

Can't wait until next year!

Feb 01, 2011 05:30 PM #12
Michelle Drewry
Signature Real Estate Group - Henderson, NV
Realtor - Signature Real Estate Group

Charlene - It was so good meeting you & sharing the laughs!  You've done a great job re-capping the conference.  It really shows us the importance of an organization like RESA.  Without RESA, none of us would have the opportunity to meet and share the knowledge and tools we acquired this year.  Congrats on your award and for sure looking forward to seeing you next year.

Feb 02, 2011 04:05 AM #13
Charlene Storozuk
Dezigner Digz - Burlington, ON
Home Stager - Burlington Ontario

Michelle M. - There sure was a great turnout.  It was really nice seeing you again.  Until next year, I'll see you in the Rain :-)

Ginger - I'm really glad we finally got to meet.  Sorry about your camera, but at least that means you'll be back next year!

Brian - It was a fabulous conference.  It was so nice to meet many of the great people from AR.

Melissa - I really enjoyed seeing you again.  I know you were really busy this year, but let's plan to have dinner next year for sure.  See you on AR and FB in the meantime.  Yes, I think there were 4 awards on our table! 

Cathy Lee - Thank you so much!  It was really great to see you again.  You worked so hard at the conference - you did a fabulous job.  What would RESA do without you :-)

Annie - For sure - I'll send you the picture.  It's a really good one of both of you.  Always a pleasure seeing your smiling face too.  Looking forward to seeing you next year!

Heather - I'm really glad we finally got to meet.  Yes, let's have lunch and keep in touch!  Congratulations on your award too :-)

Sally - Congratulations on your award too!  It was our pleasure to have you hang with us.  Cher and dinner afterwards was so much fun.  We definitely have to make some plans for next year.  Any suggestions?

Janice - Thank you!  Yes, we definitely had a great time.

Linda - Awe, thanks for your very kind words.  You and Gary are the greatest.  Definitely more time next year - let's make plans to go for a drink and/or dinner.  In the meantime, I'll see you in the Rain/Facebook :-)

Kathy - Loved seeing you too!  Thanks for your kind words.  Yes, I'd love to scoot away next year to get caught up and get to know you better.  Something tells me we'd get along famously :-)

Marianne - You're so sweet.  I was really glad you were at our table - you livened it up.  I really enjoyed getting to know you.  Looking forward to seeing you again next year!  See you on AR in the meantime.

Michelle - I'm really glad I got to meet you too.  We did share some laughs, didn't we?  Thanks for the congrats.  I'm looking forward to seeing you next year.  BTW, good luck with your first RESA meeting.  Let me know how it goes.   


Feb 02, 2011 05:45 AM #14
Valerie Sagheddu
Apostle Art Home Staging & Design - Stroudsburg, PA
~Home Staging Professional, Poconos, PA

Charlene...What a blast!! I am so glad I had the chance to meet so many of my AR friends in Vegas...especially you!! What an awesome time. I didn't get back until Saturday but I'm not complaining one bit!!!

Congrats on your award!!!!

Ahh, now I can gaze at yout turquoise again!....LOL!!!

Feb 02, 2011 10:00 AM #15
Charlene Storozuk
Dezigner Digz - Burlington, ON
Home Stager - Burlington Ontario

Valerie - I'm really glad that I got to meet you too.  You livened up our table!  It was an awesome time.  I hope you enjoyed your extended stay in Vegas.  I'll be keeping an eye on your blog.  I know that you've got some interesting posts coming up soon ;-).  The turquoise - you're so funny!

Feb 04, 2011 04:37 AM #16
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Charlene Storozuk

Home Stager - Burlington Ontario
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