Jennifer Paxson is an interior design expert who owns and operates Intuitive Solutions Home Staging in Las Vegas with her husband Nathaniel. Their work has been featured in numerous magazines and television networks like HGTV and Fox Business Network. They were also featured among Redfin’s Top 37 Professional Home Stagers in the United States and awarded Best Design for 2018 by Houzz. Jennifer Paxson talks to Filthy Lucre about her business and the art of staging a home.
What first got you interested in interior design?
As a child I was constantly around art and interior design. My grandmother was an art teacher and taught us at a young age about color and perspective. My Aunt Mary was a huge influence on me as a child as well. She was always moving and when she purchased a new home, she would immediately start renovating it. I saw her transform spaces by knocking down walls, painting, adding new flooring and wallpaper and I was always amazed at how her homes were so nice after she was finished with them. That truly was the beginning of my love of interior design and the transformations you could make in a space or home.
Can you describe your first design project?
Honestly, my first project was my first house. It was about 18 years ago when the trend was yellow and brown, lots of wood and very Tuscan. I painted the walls that very “yellow” paint that I cringe to think about now but at the time it was so “in”. I purchased a lot of dark wood furniture and gave it a very traditional but almost Mediterranean vibe. When I went to sell the home, the buyers wife fell in love with everything I had done. That experience is what first inspired me to the realization that I could be a home stager, before I knew what home staging even was.
What is the fist thing that catches your eye when you enter a room?
It really depends on the room. If it is a vacant space that I am previewing for home staging, it is the scale. How big is the room? How tall are the ceilings? What are the finishes, like flooring and paint?
If it is a furnished space, I again look at the scale. Is the room set up correctly? Is there a focal point? Does it flow with the other spaces in the home? Is it balanced? I think once you think like an interior designer, there is no going back. You will always look at the backgrounds of movies to see how the home is decorated and if the art is hung too high, or a restaurant when you are eating dinner and what they did wrong when designing the layout or furniture that does not belong with the style. It becomes a blessing and a curse.
Is there an art to staging a home?
Yes, definitely! Home staging is a different service than interior design. For home staging, we have to design a home to appeal to 90 percent of home buyers. Our palette should be neutral but welcoming, the furniture should be contemporary and in-style. When a potential buyer sees the photos online or walks into the home, we want them to be wowed by the space, to emotionally connect to it. That is how you sell homes — when that buyer walks in and can then visualize themselves and their family living there that they say to themselves “this is it, this is the one we have been searching for…this is home.” We know we have done our job and it is truly the magic of home staging.
The art of it is the emotional connection and the marketing we do when designing. It could be as subtle as a book on a chair with a throw blanket in a cozy corner, fluffy white towels and bath products in a master bath on the big soaker tub, a coffee tray setup with their favorite Starbucks coffee and two mugs or even how we create the flow of a space where we allow the space to be the star and not the furniture. We are truly in the business of selling space and not furniture. But the furniture definitely helps set the stage for all of the work that we do to sell the space. When a home is staged it takes the buyer’s eye away from the negative issues a home may have and directs it to the beauty of a space.