Property Dressing In The UK: How Did It Begin?
PROPERTY DRESSING IN THE UK: HOW DID IT BEGIN?
A brief history re-cap by Natalie Fernbach from Cullum Design
What is Property Dressing and how did it all start? This concept is now firmly established in property marketing. But how did it begin?
Cullum Design is one of the original companies that developed this concept in the UK back in 1990! Yes, we have been a family home staging business since 1990! Then, it was a very new idea and only a few estate agents were familiar with the concept who would then explain the idea to their clients, usually developers. Our parents, Antony & Vicky, realised that their renovation projects sold quicker and for more if they were shown with furniture. The idea quickly caught on and the concept grew naturally into a furniture rental business as they were asked to supply their furniture to other developers. They had started using their own furniture - from the kitchen table to sofas and ornaments. As interest grew, furniture started to be purchased and hence the furniture rental business grew.
At first, property dressing was a very theatrical concept. A narrative, a stage, like theatre, was presented to help the rooms show better. Accessories adorned the antique furniture. As furniture was very expensive to buy, there were only a few companies that were in this business as the trend was more antique furniture, large classical oil paintings, silver e.t.c. Its much more competitive as entry costs are much lower. Now, the trend is to keep it simple, stripped back of ‘personality’ to make it appeal to a larger audience. Our parents used to light a fire, leave change on the side table, make the house feel lived in. The idea was to make the sale appear as a private sale, i.e. not a developer project, as otherwise the purchaser may negotiate more on the price.
Cullum Design is now managed by brother and sister Natalie and Esmond. We share our parents' love for building, interiors and design. We both would help our parents in the holidays and together our skills compliment each other. You can say for sure that we have both gained our 10,000 hours!
We have kept true to the origins of this concept; we too like to create what I refer to as a narrative, a story. How do we do this? We like to mix our style due to our large stock of furniture to include some antiques, some contemporary artwork, interesting decorative items, to create a feeling of the passing of time. Our property dressing projects are presented as homes. A place where you want to live, raise a family, create memories. A home should be filled with your collection from your life- your travels, your birthday presents from friends, your hand me downs from family. It’s a creative extension of the people who live there, and I hope our property dressing shows that we give our homes personality and identity.
Our large stock of items, always carefully chosen for their beauty and design, means that we are one of the few companies that can work with classic country houses to contemporary Hackney flats. We work with a range of styles and briefs to assist our clients in achieving a successful sale.
If we counted how many homes we have helped to sell through property dressing it would be in the thousands, and seeing how the trends have changed over time you may ask what is the next ‘trend’ in design and property dressing?
Find out more about Cullum Design and their projects on their website.