We all know by now that the North Dallas tornado has devastated Preston Hollow. And a lot of you know Dallas Star’s center Tyler Seguin’s mansion on Camellia Drive was struck. What you may not know is that it was beautifully staged by Lisa Stapp, the owner of Staged by Stapp. Along with Seguin’s home, about $55,000 worth of Stapp’s inventory of furniture and accessories were destroyed.
While it may pale in comparison to losing a house worth a couple of million, the livelihoods of those that serve in the real estate community have also been severely affected by the North Dallas tornado.
“I heard the sirens Sunday evening, but I don’t have a TV, so I got in the closet for about 20 minutes, then went to bed,” Stapp said. “Monday at 9 a.m. I was in the warehouse, preparing for a stage with the movers. I got a call from my mom, telling me what had happened. I had no idea about the North Dallas tornado or the devastation. People started texting me because they knew I had Tyler’s house staged. I called the listing agent, and she told me his house had been hit. I just dropped everything and raced over to Preston Hollow.”
Stapp had no idea what she would encounter. The North Dallas tornado hit the neighborhood so hard that Preston Hollow looked like a war zone.
“It took an hour to get into the neighborhood, and I had to walk the last 10 blocks,” Stapp said. “I just started crying. I was in complete shock and could not believe what I was seeing. It looked like a bomb exploded. I saw families walking down the street with rolling suitcases and backpacks. That’s not a sight you think you will ever see in Preston Hollow. School busses and huge trees were upside down. It was gut-wrenching and heartbreaking.”
Surveying The Aftermath
When Stapp made it to the corner and saw Seguin’s house, she stopped in her tracks. Police had not yet arrived, so she walked right up to the house to look in and see if anything could be salvaged. It’s a huge house, so Stapp had multiples of everything. There were at least 22 dining chairs, three dining tables, four sofas, 12 armchairs, and 10 accent tables — and that’s just off the top of her head.
She had used her family dining table on the covered patio because the area necessitated a big one. This one was 12 feet long, heavy, and sturdy. It was blown off the patio like doll furniture and broken in two. She’d placed an iron console table in the entry area.
“It looked like it was on the floor because the debris was four feet high,” Stapp said.
Some items looked to be OK, but Stapp found out the hard way that everything was covered in microscopic shards of glass.
“I picked something up, and my hands were immediately cut,” she said. “Everything is covered in glass. Nothing is salvageable. There is so much glass, sheetrock dust, and dirt. Debris is sticking inside things like a sheet of glass inside a couch.”
Stapp’s contract stipulates once the items are in the hands of the property owner, any damage is their responsibility. This is a standard clause in staging contracts. It could be six months for the seller’s insurance to cover losses, but as a stager, that’s the tip of the proverbial iceberg. It’s not as simple as heading over to the Design District to purchase new inventory.
“You can place a monetary value on inventory, but stagers collect items over the years that cannot be replaced,” Stapp said. “The real value of the inventory outweighs any check I’ll get because some of the things are irreplaceable.”
Then there is the process of staging. This house had gone to contract. Stapp was due to take out the staging only a few days after the North Dallas tornado hit.
“Every piece was designated to three new planned stages.” Stapp said. “I’ve had to scramble, push jobs back, and quickly purchase more inventory.”
But Stapp is known for pulling off miracles. She’s worked long hours to keep all the balls in the air but has not let one drop, and knowing Stapp, she won’t.
“I’m more worried about my Realtor,” Stapp said. “She has been great and in constant touch, but she worked for months on this deal, and now it’s not going to close. We are a tight-knit community, and we are all doing the best we can.”
Karen Eubank is the owner of Eubank Staging and Design. She has been an award-winning professional home stager and writer for over 25 years. Karen teaches the popular Staging to Sell class and is the creator of the online course, The Beginners Guide to Buying Wholesale. Her love of all dogs, international travel, good chocolate, great champagne, and historic homes knows no bounds. Her father was a spy, so she keeps secrets very well!