Industry profile: Anthea Baker – Staging and Interiors


If you’ve ever sold a home, then you’ve probably heard the terms ‘property styling’ or ‘home staging’.

Some may think it’s only about adding colourful cushions, but home staging goes far beyond just re-arranging furniture.

Presenting a home at it’s best, is a crucial part of marketing a property and home staging, or styling, plays a very integral part in making that all important first impression a great one.

Homebase is a Staging and Interiors company that offers a range of services to help style and decorate a property.  We asked owner Anthea Baker to tell us a little bit more about her company, exactly what home staging is and her top tips for getting a property ‘open-home’ ready…

Q. What led you into interior design and home staging?

For as long as I can remember have had a love for Design, Colour and Fabrics. When I was a young child my mother would spend hours in fabric stores looking and buying fabric to sew our clothes. This is where I would say I developed my love of fabric – the textures, colours and even the smell. Using my mother’s off cuts I would use the scraps of fabric for the renovations of my dolls houses, adding extensions and making furniture for the new rooms I had made.

My very first job, while still at school was in a fabric store where I found a natural talent for putting things together. After leaving school I became an apprentice hairdresser where I honed my still in colouring. During my lunch breaks I would leave the salon and spend time in furniture stores, I started buying pieces of furniture that I loved, paying them off on layby as I was on a miniscule apprentice wage. The very first furniture item I bought was a chrome and glass art deco tea trolley which I still own today.

Recognising my passion for Interior Design I trained in this area starting with a correspondence course while still working. In the late 90’s I started buying and doing up houses. From the collection of furniture that I owned I would dress them up to add value to them for sale or rental. I saw how this really increased their value. A friend saw what I was doing and asked if I could put some furniture into an empty house he was selling. It took me a week to stage his one property, once it was done the real estate agent asked me to stage another two properties that she had coming onto the market, essentially I fell into starting a Homestaging business quite by accident. Over the next few years I worked and grew the business buying furniture as it was needed into one of Auckland’s largest staging businesses, staging between 60 and 90 properties at any one time.

Thinking back to the time that I was staging my own properties I guess I unwittingly came across a service that is well needed by many people selling their homes. I would use what I had but would find that there were a few bits missing, maybe art, furniture or accessories. I struggled to find someone who could just hire me the bits that I needed. I did ring a Homestaging company at the time to see if they offered this service. I was met with a very hostile response and told that I would need to remove everything from the house and that they would come in with an entire house lot to dress the house. This was not what I needed as the furniture I had was actually very nice. This very thing is a product that we offer to our customers, we call it our “Pick n Mix” service where someone is living in the home and they just need some help with a few select pieces.

Q. What do you love most about what you do?

Every day is a different day, I love working with people to help them achieve the best possible outcomes for their properties.

I also love the instant gratification that you get from Homestaging, at the end of the day I can look back and be proud of what I have achieved.

Q. How does home staging differ to the other interior styling and pre-sale design services you offer?

Homestaging is where we are fully furnishing empty homes to create an appealing home for a potential buyer. Interior Design or Styling is when people are planning to stay in a home and need help to do the finishing touches. Pre-Sale advise is where we  give all of the ideas of how the vendor should present their home for sale using what they have. Sometimes this may mean some cosmetic enhancements as well, for example painting, re carpeting etc. – example of full home staging. - example of partial home staging – example of partial home staging

Q. Much of property marketing is about first impressions and the ability to make an emotional connection with a buyer. What kind of atmosphere / ambience do you aim for in your styling to make that connection happen?

It depends on the location of the property and also the potential buyer in that area. Together with the agent we are able to have a fairly accurate idea of who this person is and how they would like to see the property.

We dress the property to attract this buyer, remember a house is a product, so we need to market to its best advantage.

Q. Do you take a different approach to styling/decorating a clients home that is for sale as opposed to a client who just want’s to redecorate the home the live in?

Definitely, when selling we tend to neutralise the home to attract a wider audience. When someone is planning to stay in a home long term they need to decorate it with their own taste. Which means it could be all painted purple if that is what they like.

 Q. You have an excellent ‘Getting Ready To Move’ checklist on your site.
In your opinion, what is the most simple & effective thing(s) from your checklist that people can do to do get their homes ready for sale, not matter what the condition of their house?

Cleaning, particularly the windows. This helps a property sparkle. Then secondly, look at the entry to the home, this is what is going to entice your buyer. Buyers make a decision if they like this home or not within the first few seconds of standing at the front door.

Visit for more information on the services they can provide and head over to facebook and like their page!

Industry Profile: Colour Consultant.

Whether you’re building new or renovating, choosing the right colour scheme is vital in making a house feel like a home. Luckily, for those who just don’t have the knack for picking colours, (or are colourblind!) there is help. Just as you would hire an architect or builder, hiring a professional colour consultant will ensure that you get the best results possible.

Nikki Morris, has been a Colour Consultant with Resene for the past six years. We asked her what were some of the common mistakes people make when choosing colours and some of her top tips to help avoid them:

Nikki Morris

Nikki Morris – Colour Consultant with Resene.

Tell us what your role involves..

As a Colour Consultant with Resene I’m involved in the creative and colour aspects of the company. My role is to be the inspiration, help instil confidence when it comes to using colour, and to help solve colour predicaments and to ensure our clients create beautiful colour schemes for the interior and exterior of their homes that are also practical and sustainable.

What do you love most about your job?

I love meeting new people and being the one to help them create their perfect home. Being continually surrounded by colours and inspiration I have an abundance of ideas to toy with (and trial out on you all).

Can you describe what a typical day might be like for you?
(We bet there is no typical day!)

Busy! Every day is very different, but is always colourful. I spend the majority of my day in one on one appointments working with clients renovating their homes, discussing the atmosphere we want to achieve and talking through and showing how to pull it all together to create something unique but tasteful. A typical day involves lots of people, laughter and colour challenges to work with and overcome.

What training and qualifications would you recommend to someone who wants to become a colour consultant?

Interior Design and Colour Theory and Psychology courses are worth investing in. These courses are invaluable when it comes to working with colour.
I think as long as you have a natural flair for people and colour and enjoy helping others to overcome their design challenges then being a colour consultant is an avenue worth pursuing.

Which should you tackle first when redecorating an interior room? Wall colour? Curtains? Carpet or furnishings? Are there any hard and fast rules that should be followed?

First off you need to know what atmosphere you want to create! Otherwise you are in for a long and confusing project. Then tackle the areas that are least likely to change during the next 10 years (carpets, cabinetry, tiles). Then move to the window treatments and paint colours. We recommend the paint colour is picked near the end as it is the last link that connects everything together and creates the balance and harmony.

What seems to be the most common mistake, people make when choosing a paint colour?

Not trialling the colour out first! Yes it looks amazing on the villa three streets up but you always need to purchase a Resene test pot to confirm this colour looks just as stunning on your home. Second biggest mistake is being afraid to go bold with your statement walls. If it’s not a strong enough contrast to the main colour – then there is no statement!

First impressions are so important when selling a house. What are your top colour picking tips for someone renovating before selling?

Consider the environment around you and pull your look into a timeless earth inspired colour scheme. Avoid being too personal with your colour choices on the exterior of your home as we want everyone to think – Yes! I can and want to live here!

For some people, choosing one colour, let alone a whole colour palette can be overwhelming! What are some of your online tools that could help with their decision making?

Resene’s website is well equipped to help make decisions. If you are not familiar with our website jump on! You can ask a colour expert your queries, view our virtual colour and wallpaper library that showcases an assortment of options available and even view inspiring houses painted with Resene colours.

Resene New Zealand Website

Resene Australia Website

We also have our online Resene EzyPaint which allows you to virtually paint houses similar to yours to see what looks you can achieve.

So tell us…..what’s the hottest colour trend for 2014?

2014 is all about mixing trends and colour palettes. It’s the year to be adventurous with your accents and create personal and unique spaces! Resene Knock Out, Resene Big Bang and Resene Half Escape are my favourite Resene 2014 on trend colours.

View the full range of Resene Paint Colour trends for 2014.

A big thank you to Nikki and the team at Resene for taking the time to chat with us.

NZ GIVEAWAY: Head over to our NZ Facebook page to win a $250 Vouchers to use at any Resene Colour shop in NZ!