Interview with Stagetecture.com
Some people who are selling their home want more information about how to “stage” it in order to increase its appeal to potential buyers. Others just want ideas and suggestions on how to design a home that they will be living in for a long time. Thankfully, there is a website called Stagetecture.com, which serves both of these types of homeowners.
We asked Ronique Gibson, the founder of the site, to tell us more about why it has become so popular in such a short time.
Why did you want to become a designer? What drew you to this industry?
When I was a little girl, I remember being infatuated with my environment. From how it felt being inside my house to looking at how buildings were put together, I was always drawn to design — lighting, colors, sound, architecture, furniture, you name it. Then I remember around 4th grade learning what architects did, and I realized that was what I wanted to be and do: help people enjoy their environments around them.
How does your architectural background help you as an interior designer?
Many people think that being an interior designer is just about choosing pretty colors and picking the right furniture. Interior design actually involves taking a design challenge — whether it be not enough space for a family, or a room that is too dark for a home office, etc. — and then finding solutions through architectural means, design, aesthetics, or a combination of all to help create an environment that functionally works well and is pleasing to be in. Being an Associate Architect helped me gain the training and exposure in plumbing, mechanical, structural, electrical, and civil (landscaping/outdoors) arenas to learn the total package of what helps people solve their environmental challenges, and then make it feel and look great to be in every day.
Your site is called “Stagetecture.” To what extent is your site targeted toward home “stagers” in the real estate sales market?
This is a great question, because when I started Stagetecture in 2009 it was a home staging website and service. My husband and I had sold our home in 2009 during the heart of the housing market crisis, and realtors would ask me who staged my home. Once I realized I had this talent, I turned it into a business. Unfortunately, too many people were losing money on their homes already and didn’t want to pay for home staging. So I decided to start the Stagetecture blog to help homeowners with their home challenges. And now it still has home staging topics, but covers “everything home.”
You are a LEED Accredited Professional. Explain exactly what the LEED accreditation means.
LEED accreditation stands for Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design and is administered and run by the USGBC (United States Green Building Council). This program helps professionals become learned in green practices in our environment, homes, workplaces, and in our everyday societies.
What types of people could benefit from visiting your website?
When I first started Stagetecture, it was only supposed to be for homeowners trying to sell their homes. After I realized that the niche of readers was too narrow, I started branching out into home topics that affected staging (organization, decluttering, choosing colors, patterns, décor) and realized that Stagetecture was more than just home staging. Today, Stagetecture is for anyone who loves their home, and wants to make it uniquely theirs. Stagetecture has a broad spectrum of readers: DIY’ers, parents, home enthusiasts, design professionals, green living enthusiasts, and many more.
Stagetecture offers not just categories in designing your home, but also home wellness, food recipes, astrology in your home, and now Blog Talk Radio and reaching out to international and entrepreneurial types to guest blog on Stagetecture. My latest joint venture with Joanne Mathis is called Mathis & Gibson Media. It will combine Radio, Blog, Video, and Digital Magazine to deliver Stagetecture content on the radio, and her guests can come on Stagetecture for guest blogs, advertising, DIY videos and more. So Stagetecture has a place for everyone!
Do you have a specific philosophy when it comes to interior design?
Yes, it’s very simple: What makes you and your family feel good? That is it. Don’t worry about what looks good to someone else. Design your interiors for you and your family and what makes your home uniquely yours. In my e-book — 111 Simple Tips for your Everyday Home — I give 111 tips for 11 rooms of your home to create a home that you love to be in.
If someone is thinking about selling their home, what types of do-it-yourself home improvement or design projects would you recommend?
I always say, “Focus on the rooms that homebuyers look at first, and hold the most in resale value.” Kitchen, master bedroom, and bathrooms are the most important rooms for ROI (return on investment). If you have the budget, get new appliances and upgrade finishes — flooring, countertops, backsplash, plumbing & lighting fixtures.
For those on a tight budget, simple tips such as decluttering and taking a more “minimalist” approach to your interiors while selling your home will help. Remove small appliances from kitchen counters, remove cosmetics from bathroom counters; and if you need to, get rid of some of your large furniture that swallows up your room. Homebuyers want to see space. I tell many homeowners to rent a small storage unit at their local storage warehouse to store excess kids’ toys, furniture, garage tools, etc. Every room — ESPECIALLY CLOSETS — needs to look like a model home, literally.
Neutralize your home. This means choosing neutral color tones that blend from one room to another. Remove personal photos, and any symbols of personalization. This includes sports memorabilia, religious decor, family photos, political preferences, musical artists, etc. Don’t give the homebuyer a reason to not like your home because of you and your family’s personal preferences. Remember — once you put your home on the market, you technically want the homebuyer to see themselves living immediately in your home.
How do you respond to people who say, “I’d like to redecorate my home, but it costs too much money?”
There is no reason why you can’t redecorate your home. Chop up your home into priority rooms and tackle them one at a time. Replace bedding and bath linen colors for a quick but effective facelift to your bed/bathrooms. Paint goes a long way; painting is the cheapest and most effective way to change your room instantly. Also, consider reupholstering old and dated furniture, installing new door and cabinet hardware, and changing out lighting fixtures. All of these can be done for much less than people think.
In the next 3 to 5 years, what will your website look like and provide?
I would love to reach out to international prospects soon to offer worldwide exposure and home information on Stagetecture. So in the next 3-5 years, I will be working on some ways to change the interface at Stagetecture — hopefully to offer more versatility on the website, but also to create a website that is dynamic and can be experienced in multi-media. As mentioned earlier, with Mathis & Gibson Media we will reach out and share content through radio, video, digital magazine, in addition to Stagetecture’s current blog. So within the next 3-5 years, all of these media outlets will be able to be experienced through the blog. It’s very exciting! When I think of how far Stagetecture has come in 3 years, I’m still amazed. But there is never a ceiling — so Stagetecture will keep growing and providing home inspiration for my worldwide audience.
Photo credits: stagetecture.com