Then & Now...My How I've Changed!

Home Stager with Stage to Sell - LA Home Staging

I was inspired by Melissa Marro's blog by the same title to write a little about my own growth as a Professional Home Stager over the last 4-1/2 years. When I first started my Los Angeles Home Staging business in 2004, I was one of the only small companies doing Staging on the west side of LA. There were some Stagers who worked only on estate properties ($3 million dollar + homes), but only one or two of us working on your average every day properties. So many of the Realtors I approached in those days were under the impression that Staging was just for estates. Now that Staging has become more well known, we almost never have to answer the question "What is Home Staging?" I feel that's progress!

But I digress. I really wanted to show you some photos of my work then & now. I am constantly updating my portfolio because after awhile it just gets too big and I have to start weeding out. Now I update it monthly and remove anything that I can't stand looking at, which is usually anything older than 6 months! I am so embarrassed by the photos you're about to see, but I will put aside my ego in order to give you a good laugh and to show you that everyone has to start somewhere!


THEN: Ok so all these old photos are actually all from the same house I did YEARS ago when I had first started my business. It's pretty obvious I didn't have much in the way of an accessory inventory at the time. I mean what was I thinking with that empty cake stand on the table? Or is there actually something in it in the corner? What is that? Schmutz?! Not to mention that the white candles in clear glass candlesticks don't even show up with the white walls behind them! This tablescape (and the furniture) are lacking any pizzaz whatsoever.

Old DR

NOW: Ok, so this is better! Some colorful vases of varying heights on the tablescape, and a buffet in the background with a triptych of modern art to tie into the color scheme. Not to mention the furniture is much more contemporary and substantial.

DR New


THEN: This one just horrifies me. For starters, what are those ugly candlesticks on the coffee table?! I used to have this thing for putting all my rugs at an angle. Sometimes it could work - in this case NOT! I also used to just use the throw pillows that came with whatever sofa I rented to save $$$ on buying new ones. Now that I have over 300 throw pillows in my inventory I would NEVER allow a sofa to look like this - UGH!

Living Room OLD

NOW: Ahhh, much better. First of all the rug is straight! Everything feels more in scale with the room. I love the art, and as you can see, I used my own pillows to dress the sofa!

Living Room NEW

Here's another one I like. It just feels so much warmer! The colors aren't too matchy-matchy, but still they feel cohesive.

Living Room NEW 2


THEN: Now this one really makes me cringe! What was I thinking with that awful Ikea bedding? It looked so nice in the store! Now if I were held at gunpoint and had to use this bedding again, I would fold the bedspread down on the bottom third of the bed and let the white sheets at least break up the pattern. And I would've used lighter throw pillows and more of them to help distract from the print. And of course now I would never leave the night stand looking so empty without even a book or candle to keep that poor lamp company!

Bedroom Old

NOW: What a change! This Santa Monica condo has a much more contemporary look and feel. The colors are rich and modern, while the nightstands are tastefully appointed. And the art ties in with the beachside location of the home.

Bedroom New

Here's another one. The wall was already a burnt orange color so we used that as our scheme for the art & bedding. My assistant almost killed herself getting those 6 mirrors hung in the perfect configuration, but it was worth it as this photo makes me happy every time I look at it! I also love how the throw is perfectly messy. I hate having my throws folded perfectly across the bed. After all, they're "throws" which, to me, means you throw it on and let it fall as it may!

Bedroom New 2

Well, thank you for taking this trip down memory lane with me! I hope it makes you laugh with me and not at me for some of my Staging faux pas!

Oh, and please take a second to vote for me (you can vote once a day!) in the StartUp Nation Leading Moms in Business competition! I appreciate your vote. :)




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Annie Pinsker-Brown | Stage to Sell
Owner & Principal Designer

"We get you to SOLD so you can get on with your life!"

Stage to Sell is the premier West Los Angeles Home Staging Company.

Owner & Principal Designer Annie Pinsker-Brown is an ASP Home Stager, a member of IAHSP (International Association of Home Staging Professionals), an affiliate member of the Beverly Hills/Greater Los Angeles Association of Realtors and a member of the Culver City and West LA Chambers of Commerce.

Annie has Staged LA homes for Bravo's hit show "Million Dollar Listing" and TLC's "Property Ladder." She has also been featured in recent articles on Home Staging in Los Angeles Magazine, The New York Times, Costco Connection and Frontiers Magazine.

If you would like to see more of our Home Staging work, visit our website. There is an extensive gallery of before & after photos, as well as a list of our Staged properties currently on the market.

Janice Sutton
1st Stage Property Transformations - Murrieta, CA
Home Stager - Temecula Murrieta

Ha ha...thanks for sharing!  It is nice to know I am not alone.  I still have my staging pictures from 3 years ago!  Some still on my pathetic website.  I cringe when I think about all the rooms I did in different color schemes for the same house.  What was I thinking??

The job I did last week is like night and day compared to what I did in the beginning!  Practice make perfect.  Here's to growing older and wiser!  Ok enough with the cliche's.  Thank you!

Feb 05, 2009 08:24 AM
Annie Pinsker-Brown
Stage to Sell - LA Home Staging - Los Angeles, CA
Stage to Sell, Los Angeles Home Stager

Janice, Glad I could brighten your day! :) You should post your old & new photos too. I'd love to see them!

Feb 05, 2009 08:44 AM
Anne West
Coldwell Banker - Chicago, IL
Your Guide to Real Estate on Chicago's North Shore


These are great- thanks for putting you ego aside and sharing...just ges to show that we all get better with practice.


Feb 05, 2009 09:19 AM
Annie Pinsker-Brown
Stage to Sell - LA Home Staging - Los Angeles, CA
Stage to Sell, Los Angeles Home Stager

Anne, So true, so true! :)

Feb 05, 2009 09:25 AM
Allegra Dioguardi
Styled and Sold Home Staging and Staging Training - Westhampton Beach, NY
Home Staging & Training, Suffolk Co. Long Island


Your confidence shows through, congratulations!

Feb 05, 2009 09:52 AM
Annie Pinsker-Brown
Stage to Sell - LA Home Staging - Los Angeles, CA
Stage to Sell, Los Angeles Home Stager

Thanks Allegra. :)

Feb 05, 2009 10:05 AM
Heather Cook
Beyond the Stage Homes - Kitchener, ON
Delivering beautifully staged spaces

Annie - its amazing to see your progress documented like that! My partner and I have already "updated" our portfolio album without some of our first stages! We cringe at the pictures - even though we were so proud of them then - and thank god our inventory has expanded as well as our confidence in our own staging designs!

Feb 06, 2009 01:29 AM
David Peterson
Synergy Staging ~ specializing in vacant home staging - Portland, OR
Home Stager Portland OR-Synergy Staging-Portland Oregon

Annie, Thanks for sharing these pictures.  Love seeing your personal transformation.  Your style has evolved and it is just beautiful.  Congrats!

Feb 06, 2009 11:29 AM
Lisa Sherman
Interior Aura - Salem, OR
Home Stager, Interior, Redesign & Decorating - Salem Oregon

It can be a bit daunting looking back at some of our very first before & after photos - we all have them! The good news is that even what we think are our worst photos almost always look better than the house did before the home was staged. Your work is beautiful... thanks for sharing!

Feb 06, 2009 03:39 PM
Reece Mack
Simplicity Home Design, Thousand Oaks, CA - Thousand Oaks, CA

Annie,  funny thing you should write such an article as I was just looking at some of my photos from my first few jobs and boy there are some things that I look at and wonder..."how could I have done that?"  Each job is so different and each one is a learning and growing process, just like with any other job.  The best thing though is that at least we are all improving and not staying the same stagnant way. 

Kudos to you on all of your beautiful work and growth!


Feb 07, 2009 03:42 AM
Michele Hess
Simply Staged Inc. - Rockford, IL
Home Stager Rockford - Simply Staged Inc

I am guessing most of us have improved our skills over the years and have photos we would rather forget.  You have become a stager with great talent Annie.  Something to be proud of as you look back at your journey.

Feb 07, 2009 09:25 PM
Terri Lucas
Exclusive Home Staging - Redondo Beach, CA
Exclusive Home Staging Los Angeles

Annie, it's funny that we cringe when looking at pictures of our first stagings but, remember how proud we were and look where it has led us.  Your work is exceptional.  Thanks for the peek into the past.

Feb 08, 2009 01:12 AM
Annie Pinsker-Brown
Stage to Sell - LA Home Staging - Los Angeles, CA
Stage to Sell, Los Angeles Home Stager

Heather, thank you. I know how you feel! It's really good to update your portfolio as often as possible. Thanks!

David, thanks for the compliment!

Lisa, you're right - at least it looked better than the before shots! :)

Feb 08, 2009 06:55 AM
Annie Pinsker-Brown
Stage to Sell - LA Home Staging - Los Angeles, CA
Stage to Sell, Los Angeles Home Stager

Reece, I got the idea from Melissa Marro's post so I can't really take credit for the idea. But it's so true that the most important thing is not to get stuck in a Staging rut and to keep evolving!

Michele, Thanks so much!

Terri, thank you for the compliment. Looking forward to seeing you this week.

Feb 08, 2009 06:57 AM
Sheila Kennedy
J29 Project - Rochester, NY

Wow Annie!  I was just looking at photos of some of my first projects and thought I could never post them - I would get laughed out of the Rain.  I can certainly appreciate shoestring budgets.  Most homes that are contracted here are occupied and I work with most of their stuff.  I don't always achieve the look I would like, but it does save us all money.  Thank you for showing your progress as a Stager.  You are fabulous and I love your pictures!

Feb 08, 2009 12:18 PM
Annie Pinsker-Brown
Stage to Sell - LA Home Staging - Los Angeles, CA
Stage to Sell, Los Angeles Home Stager

Sheila Thank you! Oh, go ahead and post them. So far everyone has been nicer than I am to myself! :)

Feb 08, 2009 01:30 PM
Norma Toering Broker for Palos Verdes and Beach Cities
Charlemagne International Properties - Rancho Palos Verdes, CA
Palos Verdes Luxury Homes in L.A.

The pictures portray your growth beautifully--nice job, and we should always be evolving to a better me!

Feb 09, 2009 11:09 AM
Annie Pinsker-Brown
Stage to Sell - LA Home Staging - Los Angeles, CA
Stage to Sell, Los Angeles Home Stager

Norma, thanks so much! It's true - we've got to constantly evolve or we become stagnant.

Feb 09, 2009 03:40 PM
Linda D. Pufford
Stage with Divine Style - Home Staging - Novato, CA
ASPM, Marin/Sonoma Home Stager


You really do beautiful Staging!!!  Your NOW photos really show your current style and the gorgeous colors you now use.  It's great to take those photos out every now and then and compare.  Thanks, I enjoyed the post

Apr 27, 2009 07:01 PM
Annie Pinsker-Brown
Stage to Sell - LA Home Staging - Los Angeles, CA
Stage to Sell, Los Angeles Home Stager

Hi Linda, thank you so much for your compliments! Glad you enjoyed this post!

Apr 28, 2009 10:10 AM