Meet your home staging team
My experience as a Home Interior Stager began in 2005 in the real estate business. I was working on a huge renovation project, converting 12 multi-family apartments into beautiful, warm and inviting condos. This meant I was creating new floor plans while also bringing the units up to current building codes. Challenging, but so rewarding!
I have also been a general contractor for the design and construction of my own new home, and on another ranch-style home, I added an entire second level, seamlessly converting it to a Cape. The passion I have for updating a home and the neighborhood is in my blood—the desire for taking something broken or worn and restoring it to its former glory and/or giving it new life.
Finding home staging…
It was easy to move into interior home staging work when I saw the need for the décor of the home to look as good as my renovations did. The homes I finished needed to feel more like dream homes, and they needed to sell more quickly. Without home décor, there is no emotional connection to the property.
I once hired an outside staging company to fully stage a townhouse that we were building, and I was amazed by the difference! The transformation of a partially staged home (using small vignettes and nicely decorated mantels) to a fully staged home was marked! It had become a model home overnight, and I knew right then and there that this is what I would always do for my own “flips.”
From then on, I added home staging to my list of services for my clients, along with my consulting and renovation business. I also began building my own furnishing and décor inventory.
I have owned and operated Design To The Nines as it is today since 2008. I have staged, redesigned and consulted on more than 75 homes on the North Shore, ranging from small condos to multi-million dollar estates. I work regularly with dozens of real estate offices, homeowners, builders and house flippers, providing my expertise in consulting, home staging, painting and renovations.
Proven results in home sales…
I am happy to say that the jobs where homeowners have hired me for home staging services have resulted in increased home sales, selling faster than others that have not had my services.
Perhaps more importantly is the satisfaction and joy I see on the faces of my clients because, at the end of the day, it’s all about my clients and the positive results I achieve for them.
Diane is a native of the North Shore and is involved in North Shore life. She appreciates and loves all that this wonderful area has to offer. She has extensive knowledge of the market and what it takes to sell a home on the North Shore and the Greater Boston area. Her expertise and the quality of her home staging and renovation work are unsurpassed.When she’s not staging homes and flipping houses, Diane writes music and sings with a band playing gigs at local restaurants, and singing most often with a four women ensemble called the Voice of Peace. Once, she was also one of 16 finalists selected for the Boston Pops Search and sang with members of the Boston Pops in Symphony Hall in Boston.
She and her husband, Lou (a painting contractor who was once a featured guest on the TV show “This Old House”), have a real-life “Brady bunch” blended family of six children—each bringing three children of their own to the marriage—along with five grandchildren.
I came to this business with a background in social work and psychology and found my work as a social worker helped me connect with people, which I consider one of my biggest strengths. It’s about ‘relationship,’ which is my focal point in this business. I have fun along the way, but my emphasis is on the relationship and communication. I believe this mindset—the importance of communication—is what sets our business apart from others of its type.
I’ve always loved working with my hands. I began working with my grandfather when I was seven or eight years old, so I’ve been painting for over 50 years. In 1980, I worked for a painting contractor as an estimator and salesman, and after that, in the 1990’s, I started my own company. We had 25 employees and picked up some great clients such as Phillips and Harvard, and in 1993, we were featured on the hit PBS TV show, This Old House. The project house belonged to an employee of Harvard who wanted me to do the painting work. The show even made the This Old House Classics!
The Cambridge Historical Society also chose me to work on several historical properties in and around Cambridge, Massachusetts.
Diane and I married in 2002, and by 2005, we were working together flipping homes for clients. Those projects continue to this day. We started with three properties that we converted to condominiums and then sold. We have had successful flips in Massachusetts and Florida, averaging about two per year. To date, we have completed over 30 successful flipping projects.
I attribute our success to the relationships and good communication we establish with our customers, along with doing great work. There is nothing more satisfying to me than taking something that is ‘broken’ and restoring to its natural beauty…or making it even better than it was before.
We commit to our clients—to establishing a home that they will be proud of and love to live in. Diane is extremely talented, and she goes above and beyond to please her customers. She often gives more than what she charges for, and our clients simply love her.
The most rewarding part of my job is to help create a home for our clients and to see the look on their face when we’re done with the project. It’s great fun—and hard work—but very rewarding. I wouldn’t have it any other way.
Besides being a talented painter and carpenter, Lou started a singing group over 30 years ago named the Solstice Singers of North Shore, a choral group of 40 that sings four-part harmony. The group is still going strong today and has traveled to sing in New York City, Quebec, Montreal, and as far south as the Hersey Estate. Along with being the founder, Lou sang in the group for over 30 years.
Lou is also a veteran of the Cabot Street Cinema Theater in Beverly, Massachusetts. In 1976, he was one of the original 18 theater investors. He built many of the illusions for the magic show, which boasts of being the longest running magic show in the world, running for over 35 years. He also performed as a clown and sang in the show for 11 years. It was there that his superior painting and carpentry skills were honed.
Lou and Diane met in musical theater and married in 2002. They have a real-life “Brady bunch” blended family of six children—each bringing three children of their own to the marriage—along with four grandchildren. Together, they run Design To The Nines.
As a Design Assistant, I assist in the physical process of staging. I enjoy consulting with Diane and Janet regarding the design aspects of the business. I also enjoy working with our clients and hearing about the memories they have of their homes, along with seeing the history of the style and architectural features of the home.
I’m pretty down to earth, but when we get ready to leave a job site and look back at our work, it’s incredible to see the magic we make! It’s very satisfying and is the favorite part of my job. I also have the benefit of having Diane as an amazing mentor. She is constantly molding me and nurturing my potential, so I’m very fortunate.
One of the reasons Design To The Nines is so successful is because we are a ‘one-stop shop.’ Anything a client needs, we either get it done or can help our clients find what they need. Diane will skip lunch, postpone personal events—whatever it takes to get the job done. We go the extra mile to satisfy our clients.
As a ‘people person,’ I love getting to know our clients. We work with some of the nicest people, so it’s a pleasure. We are in their home because they want us there, and they love what we do. I love staging a home—making it look pleasing and comfortable.
I help with the entire staging process, including placement of the furniture, pictures and accessories, as well as de-staging when the home has sold. If Diane needs help shopping for items for a particular staging job, I’ll do that. Whatever I can do to help sell a home, I’m happy to do.
Quite frankly, I’m a bit of a neat freak, and I balance that with being very organized and punctual! It’s another aspect that gets incorporated into our business that our clients benefit from.
I think one of the main reasons Design To The Nines is so successful is because we have the attitude that no job is too big or too small. Diane doesn’t stop until the client is happy and satisfied with our work, which I think sets us apart from other staging companies.
My favorite part of the job is when the final picture comes together, and the home is beautifully transformed. We’re happy, our clients are happy—and who doesn’t love working with happy clients?
Design to the Nines has staged, redesigned and consulted on a variety of projects, from small condos to multi-million dollar estate homes, from Boston to Rockport. We work regularly with a dozen real estate brokers on the North Shore. No project is too small or too large for our expertise.