Friday, November 8, 2013

Meet the Real-Life Staging Lady In a Pink Toyota

Listen, children, rather than (diss and/or) discuss a multi-million dollar mansion being bought or sold by a rich and/or famous person Your Mama's gonna veer slightly off-track for a minute, okay? If this not your cup of blog-reading tea, well then we kindly ask that you shutcher trap and recognize we'll be back with our regularly scheduled celebrity real estate programming soon enough...Okay? Okay.

For the last five or six years this property gossip has mercilessly poked, prodded, joked and jived about the aggressively generic decorative handiwork of Staging Lady in a Pink Toyota, a fictitious home staging professional with an all but pathological thing for white slip-covered sofas, potted orchids, and throw blankets ever-so-carefully splayed on ottomans. Well, children, the real-life Staging Lady in a Pink Toyota does indeed have a thing for white upholstered furnishings—they're inoffensive and fit every style of home, she says—and the lady apparently never met an orchid she didn't like—they require little care and look exotic and important—but she actually drives a late-model Range Rover and her name is Meredith Baer.

A staged home, at its best, is specifically and very much purposefully designed to transmit a luxurious if slightly generic decorative quality that allows a potential home buyer to view the home without the distraction of clutter and daily life detritus of the home's occupant(s) and nobody does that better or more prolifically than Miz Baer, a former model and journalist who spent her childhood on the grounds of the prison at San Quentin where her father was an associate warden. Today, Miz Baer is a home staging industry pioneer and veteran with more than 16 years of experience who owns and operates an eponymous L.A.-based luxury home staging concern where she employs more than 100 people, including 18 interior designers. The decorative goods and wares of her trade are catalogued and stored in a 135,000 square foot warehouse just south of downtown Los Angeles (above). To put that in perspective, children, the average size of a Home Depot comes in at just 105,000 square feet. Oh, and P.S., she's also got smaller satellite warehouses in Bridgeport, CT and Boca Raton, FL.

It takes Miz Baer and her team just a couple of days to plan and execute the installation for an average sized house. A 10,000 square foot mansion can be done three or four days and it takes a week or maybe two to coordinate and install temporary decor for a 20-30,000 square foot mega-mansion. As y'all might expect, home staging is a fairly pricey proposition and the cost is almost always absorbed by the homeowner. A regular-sized home costs between fifteen and twenty grand to have staged by Miz Baer and, of course, the bigger the house and/or the more elaborate the installation the fatter the bill. She told Your Mama the most she's ever been paid to stage a house was about $250,000 to do up a large estate in the tony seaside community of Montecito, CA, but, when asked, assiduously declined to identify the owners citing a non-disclosure agreement "signed in blood and headaches."

Even though she's often hired to stage celebrity-owned homes Miz Baer says that she and her team usually deal with the famous person's people and not the famous person. However, sometimes a high-profile homeowner does want to get involved in the process. One client, the "former owner of a major baseball team," wanted to discuss every detail of the staging installation and a male movie star who Miz Baer described as "gorgeous" actually went to the Rose Bowl flea market in Pasadena with Miz Baer so that he could hand pick accessories and haggle with vendors.

Since most have their own team of well-compensated lady designers and nice-gay decorators Miz Baer says a rich and/or famous person is unlikely to buy a house-full of staged furnishings and/or accessories. They do however, sometimes cherry pick one or two pieces from the staged decor of a house they've bought. Architecture and design aficionado Brad Pitt bought a contemporary residence staged by the Baer team and purchased a tribal stool they'd put in the master bathroom. Reese Witherspoon dropped a wad on some vintage paintings hung in a house she bought and, in happier marital days, Arnold Schwarzenegger and Maria Shriver once toured a house staged by Miz Baer and snatched up $50,000 worth of antiques out of the house right on the spot.

In addition to staging homes for sale Miz Baer and her team also do up short-term luxury leases. This service, she says, is particularly popular in Tinseltown with wealthy divorced men, young starlets, sports stars, and others who require a fully-furnished rental on short notice and/or for a six or eight month stretch. Miz Baer snitched to Your Mama that she recently did a luxury lease for someone she would only identify as a "major baseball player" who asked that she furnish a second bedroom as a den with a sectional sofa that could turn into a huge bed so he could—ahem—entertain a more than one lady at at time.

In addition to her busy staging services Miz Baer and her staff currently appear on the HGTV program Staged to Perfection, a half-hour reality-based home make-over show during which Miz Baer's 18 designers comb through Baer's Brobdingnagian warehouse for just the right items for staging properties listed for sale around Los Angeles.

26 comments:

Anonymous said...

Hahahahahahahaha
Mama, sometimes I google 'staging lady in a pink toyota' to get a few good laughs out of your archives.
Love that hgtv show and how she just walks around and points at stuff.

Great post

Carla In California said...

Love this post, Mama. Thank you.

Anonymous said...

Interesting read Mama, and does this mean that in all future posts she'll be referred to as 'Staging Lady in a Late Model Range Rover'?

Sandpiper said...

I'm awestruck by the magnitude of Miz Baer’s transformations. It's mind-blowing.

I now need to confess something:

I'm sorry for my vicious attacks against staged lap blankets. I'm also sorry for having coined the phrase "karate-chopped" as it relates to dented pillows.

These meanie words seemed appropriate toward our sweet but ineffective resident Staging Lady in a Pink Toyota.

I now feel as if Mama just told me there's no such thing as Santa.

lil' gay boy said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
lil' gay boy said...

Genius post Mama -- pure genius.

No Santa, no Easter Bunny, no Great Pumpkin...

=8-O

What color is the Range Rover?

Anonymous said...

:(
Drive on into the sun with your pink Toyota, staging lady!
You'll always have my heart, but Mz Baer runs this town now.
Cool post Mama. This and the stories about you smokin a doobie in that abandoned house are some of my favorites.

Madam Pince said...

Love this, Mama!

doug-g said...

This was a great post, Mama. I hope to see more behind-the-scenes stories in the future.

West Bourne said...

I got stuck at the thought of a Home Depot filled with white slip covered sofas ...

Mark from CA said...

Yes, West Bourne, a Home Depot filled with white slip covered sofas, surrounded by a massive parking lot populated with pink Toyotas.... :)

Anonymous said...

She was talked about in a video on WSJ’s website.

But her reviews on yelp.com are atrocious.

It’s scary how awful they are.

Rosco Mare said...

Will now smile as I pass by the large selection of white orchids at Home Depot.

Thanks for this fascinat'n Saturday mor'nin post, Mama Dearest. Dealing with muy grande headache from watching premiere of good, yet loud, too long, and in some cases over-acted, OSAGE COUNTY. I'm sure something in your medicine cabinet or big magical purse would help this situation, Mama Dearest.

Anonymous said...

So where are all the guitars and guitar stands?

Anonymous said...

Mama, this post is an oytser, a true treasure! At the wholesale flower market, the Rabbi observed a parked, pink range rover with LA BAER plates and a bear claw bumper sticker. Inside were a crate of orchids, a box of white slip covers, a bag of throw blankets, a trio of ceramic roosters, and the latest issue of 100% Beef magazine.

Rabbi Hedda LaCasa.

Rosco Mare said...

My dear rabbi
I recently saw something similar in Palm Springs...must have been a Meredith Baer company retreat. Hundreds of large bearded men wearing Levi jeans, leather vests, and t-shirts with a bear claw logo. Who knew the home staging business is so lucrative?

lil' gay boy said...

Rosco, hun...

Are you sure you weren't there during the Wet & Hot weekend?

;-)

Sorry; some times ya just gonna "go with the flow" as it were...

...tee hee...

Jak Manson said...

That place has so much stuff. That is crazy that they really do have everything that is needed to furnish an entire house. I was wondering though, if anyone knows of a great house for sale in Glencoe il. I am moving into the area for work, but before I can I need to find a place to move.

enorman said...

Yelp?? I'd believe Brad Pitt over Yelp!

Alexander Ali said...

Love this post Mama. Please do more. I could get lost in that warehouse.

Anonymous said...

Why does everyone hate orchids?

Any suggestions, Rabbi? Little? Which plants does the Rabbi's kind of feng shui recommend?

By the way, isn't that whole feng shui kind of a heresy for a believer of the religion of Yahve?

Anonymous said...

The Rabbi is not an orchid-hater; however, she is mildly annoyed that Staging Lady in a Pink Range Rover reduced this usually perennial epiphyte to a cliche.

Halacha, Jewish law, isn't necessarily at odds with feng shui concepts. The Torah provides specific commands for the orientation of the Mishkan, the portable real estate of the Divine Presence, in the wilderness. Zohar, the Book of Splendor, recommends we sleep with our heads to the east, and the Shulchan Aruch, Set Table, a 16th century Halachic compendium, advises on window placement.

On the other hand, residing clutter-free in a feng shui minimalist residence, without dozens of photos of the grandchildren, scores of important papers (mostly personal medical reports), four sets of dishes (meat, dairy, Passover meat and Passover dairy), and hundreds of books is antithetical to Yoddishkeit!

Rabbi Hedda LaCasa

Don Juan's Wreckless Daughter said...

jeeez, I feel tacky for even asking, but....

any chance Baer does a yearly warehouse sale?

I'm too lazy to deal with decorating in the desert o_O

Anonymous said...

The purpose of staging is to draw a potential buyer's eye away from flaws. It is not about de-cluttering. It is to keep a buyer from focusing on the structural underpinnings of a property.

Anonymous said...

Staging a home for sale is really important as it shows the home init's best aspect, when done properly. Also it is a good idea to have some positive subliminal messages that is unconsciously picked up, like baking bread smell or this http://www.mindmoviesitereview.com

Anonymous said...

Wow! I see one of those elegant chandeliers that has beautifully lit oil droplets oozing down a stream of fishing line.