Johnny Depp’s rustic-chic home might not be rustic-chic at all

Have you ever flipped through photos of a celebrity’s home and admired it for its impeccable design, or how does it all seem put together? Have the photos convinced you that the famous actor has a style of his own?

Often times, these ad photos have nothing to do with the celebrity’s personal style but rather are a tasteful mirage put together by a professional director.

The services of professional decorators or interior design experts who prepare homes for everything from open houses to a registration photo shoot are becoming more common as the price of property increases.

Because homes owned by the rich and famous frequently command tens of millions, professional staging is a prerequisite when it’s time for the home to be listed. Brian Ferrick, a senior designer with a staging company Meridith Baer Home, told Inman that agents and developers specializing in high-end houses often have relationships with staging companies and professionals. When they get a runway, they reach out and start planning a specific look.

A Tribeca apartment that once belonged to Meryl Streep directed by Meridith Baer Home | Photo credit: Maison Meredith Baer

“They invite our team to take a look at the property and talk about what is needed – the size of the property, the look they are looking for and the buyers they hope to attract,” said Ferrick said. “Our salespeople then make a proposal, then we bring in the designer and make a plan for what we’re going to bring home. “

For homes in Los Angeles, the default design is what Ferrick calls a “laid back California” look of natural wood, white furniture, and stylish but not overly flashy accessories. The design is ambitious and inviting. Ferrick said if the owner is famous, his personal style – a guitar on a wall, a movie poster of a starlet – might make a cameo appearance, but it’s rarely a big influence on how the house is. decorated for sale. .

In other words, these neat images of domestic bliss aren’t iconic for how, say, Seth Rogan really lives.

“We’re trying to update it and market it to a new owner, because if someone lived in their house for 15 years, what they liked or liked 15 years ago might not be what is all the rage right now, ”said Ferrick, adding that his company has a 200,000 square foot warehouse from where they pull all the furniture and decor items they might need. “Even if it’s very well done, it’s often too precise. We’re trying to neutralize that and make it a little more accessible to everyone. “

A house directed by Meridith Baer Home | Photo credit: Maison Meredith Baer

In the case of the Meryl Streep apartment, which was decorated by the directors of Meridith Baer before selling for $ 15.8 million in 2020, that meant sleek, light-colored furnishings to accentuate its characteristic la more remarkable – an enveloping terraced garden which offers a 360 degree panoramic view. of New York City.

A Los Angeles home that once belonged to Johnny Depp, also staged before listing by Meridith Baer, ​​has a more restored and rustic-chic look – wood furniture, leather sofas, overhanging lamps, and dining rooms. eccentric art and accessories.

Ashley Quinn, vice president of creative services for luxury design and real estate marketing firm Interior Marketing Group, also said a nod to the former occupant is better than a full look since the goal is always looking to the future and creating a vision that a new buyer can imagine living in. Multi-million dollar homebuyers are often not fazed by fame and prefer to see the features of the home, Quinn told Inman.

“The goal is always a high-end, wide look, regardless of the occupant,” Quinn said. “We achieve this by working in neutral tones and adding texture and color through accessories and artwork. Sometimes we have a little fun with it. When designing Keith Richards’ house, for example, we created a rock and roll style living room with a fun purple sofa and guitar-inspired artwork.

Quinn said the typical staging process also involves meeting with a real estate agent to fully understand the demographics of a potential buyer and noting details such as number of bedrooms as well as architectural details and unique finishes. . After that, the creative process begins: the directors take measurements, choose the paint and wallpaper, decide on the floor finishes and present a general vision of how they want the house to look.

A Tribeca apartment that once belonged to Meryl Streep directed by Meridith Baer Home | Photo credit: Sotheby’s International Realty

“Modern, clean low lines are our go-to furniture selections for staging,” Quinn said. “There are some things my little designer heart loves, but they just don’t work in settings. A four poster bed, for example, takes up too much visual space in a room and often takes away the view.

Aspiration, or creating an image and atmosphere a few levels above what the potential buyer currently has, is a key part of most real estate, and staging doesn’t do exception – Ferrick said this often results in situations where the photos and the open house that emerges from them make the owner feel a tinge of nostalgia or even doubts about selling the house.

“There are people who, when given the opportunity to see someone reinterpret their home, suddenly wonder why they are moving,” Ferrick said.

Email Veronika Bondarenko

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