Creative, passionate and dedicated, sisters Sara and Amy Chamberlain are the incredible duo behind boutique property styling company, The Real Estate Stylist (TRES). Their impeccable style and attention to detail have helped to transform and add value to thousands of sale properties around Melbourne, including for high profile clients such as Hamish Blake and Rebecca Judd. I was fortunate enough to have a chat with bubbly, humble and down-to-earth Amy about TRES’ amazing success, styling tips, Scandi trends and Step Brothers.
Danni: TRES has really revolutionised property styling in Melbourne, and has turned it from sterile staging to artful styling. What do you think makes you stand out from the crowd?
Amy: We try to push the boundaries a little bit and let people know that it’s now about actually selling the dream as opposed to just placing the furniture in. We focus on the architecture and on who the particular demographic is going to be, so really we individualise a bespoke design for every space that we do, which sets us apart from the majority of property stagers out there.
Danni: You’ve already partially answered this next questions, but when you start working with a client, what’s your process for deciding on how to style their home?
Amy: Our whole goal is to add value to the property. To just place furniture in the property can actually devalue it if you’re not thinking about the certain nuances of the space. You need to really hold on to a design that fits in with the architecture and with that particular demographic. Individual clients have their own personal tastes as well, but their personal vision for the space may or may not fit in with the exact demographic that might be looking at buying it. It’s about the bones and it’s our job to make those bones shine.
Danni: How many properties do you think TRES has styled since its inception?
Amy: Since inception? Oh my gosh, um I think it’s now up to about 1,250!
Amy: I know, it’s ridiculous! And when you think about that, they’re all bespoke, so there are no two properties that we’ve styled the same. Last year in particular we did 350 properties in just the year - we were pretty much smashing out 2 – 3 jobs in a day. It was busy…very, very, VERY busy! Our heads hurt a little bit but it’s wonderful. We’re the type of people who love things to happen really quickly - I could never do interior design because that beginning to middle to end process is too long for me. I love to see it the day before, design it that day, get it in a couple of days later and then we’re good to go!
Danni: Could you ever have dreamed that you would get to over 350 properties in one year alone when you first started out in 2012?
Amy: Absolutely not! It’s been a really unique experience because Sara and I being sisters, we’ve lived and breathed it the entire way together, through the ups and downs. We had no money when we first started, we both threw in our jobs and literally lived off baked beans. Sara moved in with me and my partner at the time and we weren’t paying ourselves a wage. We started at Kennards storage and then we got our first warehouse space and we were like “This is ridiculous!” We had to break that lease within 12 months because we completely grew out of it. Even when we walked into this space we’re in now at Tullamarine - there are 10 offices here and we laughed and laughed, and I was like “I’ll have that one in the corner and you can have that one over in that corner”, and we were just dancing inbetween because there was so much room for activities! And now we don’t have a desk spare, a space spare, anything to spare…no, we could not have dreamed it at all!
Danni: Did you just quote Step Brothers??
Amy: Oh…uh, yes, I did just quote Step Brothers (laughs loudly), it’s the best movie that’s ever existed, of ALL time! Let’s make bunkbeds, let’s make bunkbeds (chuckles again)…
Danni: That’s awesome (now I REALLY know that these girls are uber cool)
Amy: Good pick up there, good pick up!
Danni: Have you got a couple of tips you can share with readers who have moved into a new home and don’t know where to start in terms of furnishing an empty space?
Amy: Turn to Pinterest – I think that everyone gets confused with so many options, so once you go to Pinterest and start your own board, you’ll see similarities in what you are adding to that board and that will define your style. You’ve also got to be thinking about the current bones that you’ve got, and what you want to live in as opposed to what you want to look at in a magazine. It has to suit yourself and your family. Don’t go and buy your furniture until you have been in the space, that would be my first thing. Get in the house and experience how the house lives, don’t purchase on a whim or on a style that’s a passing trend. Always start with the living space first and then spread yourself out to the bedrooms etcetera after that.
Danni: On the topic of trends, in Australia we’ve really embraced Scandinavian design and all its different variations – do you see this as the kind of timeless style that will stick around?
Amy: It’s why we’re classic contemporary, we don’t tend to overdo any particular style. When you’re thinking about a summer Scandinavian palette, like a cool palette, that is not what we touch on, but we certainly are trending in that more Icelandic Nordic style where it’s the wools and it feels a little bit more layered. From a timeless perspective, I don’t believe grey is going anywhere EVER! And I think that your brasses are still sticking around - gold will always be in the mix, and black and white photography and prints will never, ever, ever date.
Danni: Do you have any tips for readers who’ve been in their house for a while and have had the same furniture and décor for years, but just want some easy ways to refresh their look?
Amy: Soft furnishings is where it’s at – it doesn’t cost very much to grab a couple of cushions. A plant always makes a nice adage to a house. And changing your space around, I loved it! We lived in a house where every 8 weeks Mum would change the living room around. It’s just one of those things where it’s an instant update and gives you an opportunity to see things a bit differently. I know large scale items, like couches, coffee tables and TV units are often the things that stay, but the rest of the stuff can be played with. Maybe you can swap an occasional chair out…artwork is definitely one that I recommend having a play with.
Inspired to do some styling of your own? Check out Amy’s top picks of her favourite homewares and furniture from our range.
If you’re looking to sell a property, fetch the best price possible by getting in touch with TRES first to make sure it is expertly styled! Visit http://www.therealestatestylist.com.au/ for more details or to contact the girls who will be happy to help you out with a quote.
All images used with permission from The Real Estate Stylist