Before & After: Real Life vs. Pretend Life on South Logan Street


Our latest staging job was simple thanks to my mother. No - she wasn't there 'helping' me which would have included something like Huh. See? I wouldn't have put that there but you know what you're doing, honey ...you're the PROFESSIONAL but her presence is always felt - even though she lives thousands of miles away.


MY REAL LIFE AND AMAZING MOTHER ON HER REAL LIFE 70th BIRTHDAY

I PRAY DAILY FOR THESE GENES


My mother showed us the importance of presenting ourselves in the very best light. My sister and I were taught to be pleasant, well-dressed, charming. Be interested and interesting. Move about the room and smile. Don't cross your arms when standing and only cross your legs at the ankle when sitting. Wear lipstick. Never chew gum in public. Keep your hair out of your face because You are so pretty but nobody can tell with all that hair hanging in your eyes. Fold your coat over your arm don't Just throw it somewhere because We aren't saving seats here. A cake is done, a person is finished. Are you a cake, Stephanie?


REAL LIFE CAKE FOR A (MUCH) DIFFERENT STEPHANIE WHO CLEARLY HAS AN ODD ATTACHMENT TO 'MY LITTLE PONY' AT 30 YEARS-OLD


I'D STILL EAT IT EVEN IF 'MY LITTLE PONY' STEPHANIE IS SOME SORT OF FREAK

IT'S CAKE


Handbags should not be bigger than a small teacup poodle. Also, don't ever bring a poodle. Don't even talk about poodles. All this talk about dogs - I just don't get it. Don't people talk about books anymore? Always bring a gift and always send a thank you note to everyone you have ever come in contact with.


If someone asks what you'd like to drink your only response is Thank you, what are you having? and then have that even if you hate it. Don't say hate, hate means you want someone or something to die. Do you really want lima beans to DIE, Stephanie? No. You strongly DISLIKE lima beans.


If you are a child and fully choking and/or suffering from heatstroke and/or experiencing anaphylactic shock and/or currently on actual fire you ask FOR NOTHING but tap water.


If you don't remember someone's name, fake it. If you don't like the food, fake it. If you don't like the conversation, fake it. If you don't like the host's obnoxious husband who is taking large bites and talking about poodles and not wearing a stitch of lipstick, fake it. Pretending is polite.


PRETEND DOG THAT COSTS $21 - WHY DIDN'T SOMEONE TELL ME THIS WAS AN OPTION?


REAL LIFE DOG VINNIE WATCHING OUR EVERY MOVE DURING STAGE DAY


Staging a house is basically the same as the above. It's all about being pleasant, pretty, well-dressed, charming. So staging comes easy for me because it's in my blood. Don't talk about blood, that's so crude.


When The Neighbor's House was asked to stage this already stunning Denver bungalow we knew all she needed was a bit of make believe magic in order to present herself in the very best way. So, that's what we did. We took away the everyday and added some temporary sparkle. Now she's the belle of the ball. Take a look:


REAL LIFE BEFORE

Where you pay actual bills and order actual socks, in bulk, from Costco

PRETEND LIFE AFTER

Where you make big money in the stock market even though there isn't a computer, pen, or paper in sight

REAL LIFE BEFORE

Where a flammable tent right in front of the fireplace is totally fine because That's how kids learn

PRETEND LIFE AFTER

Where you do the Sunday New York Times crossword puzzle in pen

REAL LIFE BEFORE

Where you feed your two year-old food shaped like dinosaurs and discuss why cat's don't like their nails painted

AFTER

Where you cozy up to take out sushi and chilled sake after your meditation walk with a spiritual healer

REAL LIFE BEFORE Where you ask your husband to Taste this and tell me if it's still good and he actually does it and you think I love this man and am completely disgusted by him all at the same time

PRETEND LIFE AFTER

Where your friends sit sipping cafe au laits while you map out the biking trip through the French countryside

REAL LIFE BEFORE

Where you both pretend to not hear the baby at 3AM because I got up with him last night for F*#$^ sake

PRETEND LIFE AFTER

Where you climb into bed in matching monogrammed silk pajamas as classical music plays softly in the background; you drift to sleep wrapped in each others arms and nobody snores and the baby sleeps for twelve hours straight and everything smells like lavender mixed with the scent of two live-in night nannies.

Isn't it pretty? We think so too.


And, just so you know, I am beyond grateful for those seemingly surface level lessons because I have built a whole career out of making things beautiful and, hopefully, making people feel special. Maybe I will never do the NYT crossword puzzle in pen and I can promise you that Andy Blackford will never wear monogramed pajamas. That's okay, because that's not real life. Real life is wondering if the milk is still good. Real life is toys on the floor and dogs that bark and bulk buying from Costco. Real life is beautiful.


How do I know? Well, as soon as we finished being pleasant and pleasing and pretty and polite like our parents taught us we went home and changed into our favorite nightgowns. We watched The Love Boat (but not Dynasty because That's trashy) and had cookies and milk sitting on our favorite quilt with the frayed edges. The sound of the dishwasher humming and the grandfather clock chiming is actually way better than any old stuffy classical music. Trust me. I know about these things. Because my mother taught me.


If you like this house, check out the listing by the REAL LIFE real estate dynamo Natalie Hengel. And if you don't need a giant primary suite, check out our rendering that makes one room turn into two:



If you like this blog please share it and visit us on Instagram and Facebook. We promise to write a thank you note.


Want to check out our site? Take a peek here. See you next time at The Neighbor's House!