My story

Remember when you used to be curious? Wondered about things, imagined, asked questions? To think that, you know, this could be the best day ever. Or worry that you are wrong about what you are almost positive about.

I think that pretty much sums it up for most of us. We’re all a mixed grill of happy anticipation and dread.

And then one day without warning, the open road beckons.

To just go, not knowing where or for how long.

Sometimes there’s nowhere to go, but on that road.

Sometimes you don’t have anywhere to go, if it’s not on that road.

A few years ago, okay, more than 30 – this happened to me. I left Edmonton for Calgary, lured by the liberal arts education promise of being taught how to live.

My ambition knows no bounds. 

Alas, I also had to leave the Shumka dancers behind.
Wait – that’s not them.


As the reality fell short of the promise and as my intellectual, creative, and spiritual development began to not unfold, I thought that there was a distinct and important lack in my new life, as I was mainly occupied with staying on my side of the road, keeping my coffee cup upright, and wondering why worker bees can’t have sex. 

I realized that was not ever going to be offered the experience of helping people sell their homes for more money faster. 

So at the end of 1999, all the stars were aligned and I conceived the idea of home staging.

The rest, as they say, is history.

You have been part and parcel of it. And I thank you.

I had no idea at the time that this labor of learning would animate me with a new sense of purpose. This would now become both my mission and something to do during the week, Saturdays and Sundays. 

I received a lot of television, radio, newspaper, and journal publicity in those early years because the concept was so newsworthy. As I like to say, I started at the national level and worked my way down.

“I don’t care what the newspapers say about me as long as they spell my name right.”

– Mae West, P.T. Barnum, George M. Cohan, Will Rogers, W.C. Fields, Mark Twain, Oscar Wilde, and Big Tim Sullivan

Now there are some salient core principles involved when undertaking such a fundamental endeavour as deciding to stage your listing.

Number One: Ours is a culture that measure our worth by our efficiency, our relatives, and our ability to make good decisions.

Anne Dillard said something like, how we spend our weeks is how we spend our lives.

Number Two: You need to allow yourself the luxury of changing your mind. 

We live in a culture where one of the greatest social disgraces is not having an opinion, so we often form our “opinions” based on the face our seller makes, or the mutterings of your partner siting next to you, without investing the time and thought to come up with your own true feelings.

You may also have to make peace with the fact that some of the best people in your life are fallible, unreasonable, and downright annoying. Befuddlement is one of our greatest asset, one that distinguishes us from squirrels.

So cultivate that capacity for negative capability and take your God-given poetic license to say, “No – we need to stage this home.

I mean, once you start overachieving, people expect things from you.

Number Three: Expect anything tasteful to take a bit of time.

It’s hard to capture something so fundamental, yet so impatiently overlooked as the best presented house, yet, the myth of the overnight staging success is just that – a myth.

I know what’s going to happen here.

This is going to lead to a litany of questions. “Are two loveseats better than a three-seater and a chair?”, “What wall colour is best for selling?”, “Is grey trendy?”, “Should there be art on the walls?”, “Are matching chairs passe?”, “Would you have voted for Trump?” And so on.

Thus our present definition of success needs redefining. For example, you have to ask:

1. Does the house look like it just backed up to an IKEA store. 
P.S. If I never see another LACK wall shelf or an IKEA frame without a wire again, I will consider my life a triumph.

2. Does the furniture in each room act like wallflowers at a party – strained and stationed against involvement, quietly alone, making everyone feel awkward for having a good time?

3. Is the art hung correctly? Is there any art at all?
P.S. This may almost be my final post reminding you of the perils of hanging art badly. (Please hold your applause.)

4. And the last one. Upon entering the home, does it remind you of the aroma of your socks after a three day hike?

Number Four: Presence is far more intimate and rewarding than productivity.

Which is why I usually prefer the comfort of a beach chair and a good book. Preferably by the beach.

By the way, there is also a 97% chance of getting eaten while sitting at the water’s edge in a beach chair munching on Cheetos. That’s just a scientific fact. 

Showing up is good, but so is the hard, but rewarding work of getting the job done right, quickly and efficiently.  

Amen to that.

And now I’ve over-explained this, and none of this is even the point.