Staging Model Units in Manhattan’s Trendy ‘FiDi’ District

Developer Africa-Israel USA drew a crowd to 20 Pine for an open house featuring Tui Lifestyle and HGTV interior designer and staging professional Cathy Hobbs, ASID, LEED AP.

By Diana Mosher, Editor-in-Chief

With its high-end finishes, soaring ceiling and dramatic lighting, the lobby (pictured right) of the luxury condominium 20 Pine The Collection is an important merchandising tool. Developer Africa-Israel USA drew a sizable crowd to 20 Pine recently for an open house built around this very topic. The headliner was interior designer and certified staging professional Cathy Hobbs, ASID, LEED AP. Hobbs is a finalist on Season 6 of HGTV “Design Star.” Attendees also had the opportunity to tour model units by Miami-based designer and retailer Tui Lifestyle.

“We were thrilled to team up with Cathy Hobbs and Tui Lifestyle, two of the most influential names in the design world,” said Lori Ordover, managing member of The Ordover Group, sales and marketing consultant for Africa-Israel USA. “The event was fantastic, with guests taking in valuable tips and being the first to see our new models.”

Hobbs provided numerous practical tips and shared her creativity generously. Using before and after shots, she showed dramatic transformations of multi-housing spaces many of which called upon the basics that brokers, leasing agents, and property managers already know but frequently fail to implement.

For example, refinishing wood floors, hiring a professional cleaning crew, steam cleaning carpets, and treating walls to a new coat of paint are musts according to Hobbs. When selling or renting a furnished home, the editing process is key, she added. Get rid of clutter and pack away any and all unnecessary items and furnishings; put in storage all personal mementos.

According to Hobbs, professional stagers also recommend minor repairs that can help put a property in its best light. Rental furniture is another option to keep in mind, and Hobbs suggested investing in simple but effective accessories such as throw pillows, artwork, mirrors and throw rugs that will pull a room together. Repeating color from room to room is a design trick worth remembering; and painting molding an unexpected bright hue or sophisticated dark tone such as chocolate or ebony is a valuable tip worth repeating.

However, Hobb also embraces the versatility of a white-on-white palette. She showed several examples of apartments with predominately white and off-white walls, floors, furniture, accessories and art. Texture and pattern provide visual interest and help ensure the outcome isn’t bland. Into the mix she introduced pops of color in accessories that can be swapped out for a total change.

Designed by Armani/Casa, 20 Pine The Collection’s 409 residences boast 67 distinct floor plans, 9- to 13-foot beamed ceilings, private terraces and oversized windows for ample sunlight and open space. Kitchens are by Italian designer Bontempi and feature a Sub-Zero refrigerator, Fisher & Paykel dishwasher and a stainless steel Miele stovetop. But even in a luxury building like 20 Pine, an empty space may underwhelm prospective buyers. That’s where suppliers like Tui Lifestyle can make a difference.

Residence #1913, a studio home at 20 Pine The Collection, features 286 square feet of outdoor space. Interiors by Tui Lifestyle. Priced at $899,000. Photo by Garrett Rowland.

Tui Lifestyle wowed guests with luxury turnkey packages featured in home 1912 (a 666-square-foot studio comprising 219 square feet of outdoor space listed at $855,000) and residence 1913 (an 817-square-foot studio with 268 square feet of outdoor space, on the market for $899,000). The first model was outfitted with Tui Lifestyle’s Innovative 2011 with Thai Outdoor (in white) collections, while the second featured the Luxe (in grey) with Thai Outdoor (in brown) collections.

The 38-story 20 Pine was originally designed by Graham, Anderson, Probst & White as the headquarters of the Morgan Guaranty Trust. The award-winning firm of Gruzen Samton, LLP was chosen for the conversion to residential condominiums. Their vision was to blend the building’s original 1920s style with modern design features. Luxury facilities include a 24-hour doorman, billiards room, pool pavilion and spa, and golf simulation room. A number of communal spaces such as the Library Lounge, Collection Club Lounge, open-air Terrace Lounge, and Concierge Lounge, where a continental breakfast awaits residents daily, are open to all residents, as is private on-site access to the 2, 3, 4, 5 and J subway lines. Homeowners above the 25th floor are members of the Collection Club, which offers complimentary service from Quintessentially, a leading concierge service.

Warburg Realty is the exclusive sales and marketing team for 20 Pine The Collection which is located in the heart of one of Manhattan’s fastest growing neighborhoods.

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