I was thinking about our Monday Morning Millionaire last week when my pal and fellow stager, George Bass, texted me a photo of this Highland Park French traditional home he’d just finished staging. My first thought was “WOW!”
I was certain it was a 1920s Hal Thomson design that’s been completely redone. So, I started researching. I was encouraged in my line of thinking by 4205 Lorraine and 4266 Armstrong Parkway, both built by Thomson. If you drive by, you’ll see a striking resemblance. Imagine my surprise when I found out 4415 Lorraine Avenue is a brand-new build, and it was created by quite the dream team.
Builder Chad Brown brought in a talented group that included architect Paul Turney, designer Philip Vanderford, landscape designer Matthew Murrey, and of course, George Bass Stage and Design put the finishing touches into place.
I had to know the story because this home had all the earmarks of a classic Highland Park French traditional from the 1920s. Brown was pretty pleased that I thought it was a refresh of an original home. That’s precisely the look and feel he wanted to create.
“We wanted to do something on-trend but with the bones rooted in classical, timeless architecture,” Brown said. “So, we set out to build a house that might not appear new to people, and one that would feel as if it might have gone through a significant renovation. We wanted it to be more in line with a custom home in terms of quality, details, and layering, and we wanted to give the house character.”
Well, you know you’re in for something special with those Polo Blue shutters, don’t you? That feature alone makes me want to explore every nook and cranny of this Highland Park French traditional.
The home has 6,938 square feet, five bedrooms, five bathrooms, a powder bath, and a guest apartment over the two-car garage. It has every classic element, updated in a way that is fresh and exciting from the moment you enter and you’ll find that heavenly blue theme creatively carried through the home.
“The foyer is a classic gray and white Bardiglio marble,” Briggs Freeman Sotheby’s listing agent Joan Eleazer said. “The fixtures and finishes are not the kinds you see every day. There is a simple elegance to this home not unlike a beautiful European hotel. It fits into the neighborhood like as if it were an original classic Highland Park French traditional but with a fresh look.”
“It’s refreshing,” Eleazer said. “Is it old or is it new? That’s the biggest compliment we could have.”
“I’ve noticed something over the years,” Brown said. “The best projects, especially when there are multiple team members, take on a mind of their own. You end up with something that is greater than the sum of its parts. I was very pleased with everyone’s contribution and the way it all worked together.”
I’m always impressed when a builder fully embraces the absolute necessity of staging a house at any price point, but especially in a multi million-dollar range. Too often the thought is that the architecture will sell the home. It won’t. People want a relatable space, regardless of price point. They have to connect emotionally.
“I think staging helps give people an indication of what they can do with a home,” Brown said. “You have to enhance the architecture. This is especially true from a photo standpoint, and everything is photo-driven today. Photographs of empty rooms are not interesting, and no search engine is going to pick them up. It’s the first impression. It gives the place life. It also helps people get a sense of scale and proportion. One of the things George does so well is staging in a way that the house can take center stage. It gives you an ability to imagine.”
Bass brought in a few antiques, Feizy rugs, and Theodore Alexander furnishings. He also installed some very large artwork.
“We were all amazed that the walls handled the scale of the art so well,” Brown said.
“The house is stately and regal,” Bass said. “I wanted to make it approachable and bring it to life. If a home is not staged, it’s missing the human factor. Potential buyers want to sit around, lean on a chair, and look at the scale of the furnishings to understand how their own will fit. They have to think when they are here about the possibilities of how they could live in the home. Staging allows that to happen.”
If you ever doubted the power of imagery, this Highland Park French traditional has already been picked up on Instagram by Williams Sonoma Home and has popped up in various Instagram architecture and design posts. If you’d like to have it pop up on your own Instagram feed as your new home, you can follow @candysdirt or give Eleazer a call. This can be your blue heaven for $5.85 million.
Karen Eubank is the owner of Eubank Staging and Design. She has been an award-winning professional home stager for more than 25 years and a professional writer for 20 years. Karen is the mother of a son who’s studying music at The University of Miami. An ardent animal lover, she doesn’t mind one bit if your fur baby jumps right into her lap. Find Karen at www.eubankstaging.com