The latest trend is for home sellers to employ a “stager” or “fluffer” to make their space more appealing, sexier, dolled up. It’s taken off here in Los Angeles–home of the faux–and the prices I’ve heard quoted from some companies are as varied as the services.

The changes from home staging can be miraculous and I’m a big fan. I even employed someone when I sold my last house just to give it a bit of a fabulous lift.

But last Thursday night, the real stagers came together for a chic event of their own at the new and gorgeous Minotti furniture showroom on Beverly Boulevard in West Hollywood. The Academy of Television Arts & Sciences’ Art Directors/Set Decorators Peer Group held its annual Emmy nominee soiree to honor the talented folks in the television industry.

Hosted by Architectural Digest magazine, you could tell the true appreciation from the attendees for their surroundings and choice of venue. “Oohs” and “aahs” erupted over the showroom and the Italian-designed furniture inside. Do you think these guys from the academy are moonlighting in the home-staging biz?

Always appreciated, the event offered guests a take home goodie: the latest issue of Architectural Digest, September 2004. The issue included “Designer’s Own Homes,” featuring L.A.’s very own Greg Jordan with his fabulous mid-century, Doheny Hills pad and Stephen Erhlich’s stunning contemporary masterpiece at Venice Beach. The architect on our last home, the enormously talented Hagy Belzberg, was also mentioned in the architect’s own homes story. 

Each home was so completely different from each other and yet each so quintessentially Los Angeles. I’ve been in Greg Jordan’s house and it’s even more beautiful than in the photos.

This staging thing in real estate has gotten so popular that it came as no surprise to me that there’s actually a group who has given a title to this design role – ASP, Accredited Staging Professional – and are touting their certification and training on the Web. 

Is it possible that a new listing service is already in development to showcase only those houses that are really decoratively irresistible? No pitfalls, only perfection. Every house done to the nines and glowing? Real estate nirvana. Maybe it could be called Houses Without ShortComings.com.

In support of all of this design mania (fueled I’m sure by the real estate boom of the past few years), the city of West Hollywood recently designated the Avenues of Arts & Design for those streets that border the Pacific Design Center. This building hasn’t exactly been the center of design life in L.A. since the early ’80s when it was erected. Things have sort of gathered around it. 

Still, it’s great to know that one of the co-owners of Minotti, Fouad Mizra, recently was appointed to the committee that will be charged with the future of this area. You just can’t get enough people with great taste around something like this.

Let’s only hope that they don’t start tearing up the sidewalks like they did in Beverly Hills this past year. And those of us with really long memories are still wondering what they did in “WEHO” (West Hollywood) on Santa Monica Boulevard. Some improvements just can’t be explained.

Julie Brosterman is a consultant to the real estate technology, mortgage and servicing industries. After she spent 15 years in the title insurance industry, the Internet “spoke” to her and she has never looked back. She lives in Los Angeles and can be contacted at juliebrosterman@hotmail.com.

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