In May 2014, MH said, “Patricia Turton was so awesome at Staging our home that we sold it in four days!” In November 2016, ZT said, “I was very lucky to work with her. Patricia is into details. She is easy to work with. Has bright ideas and good taste. She definitely knows her work.” And in October 2017, FYL said, “Patricia transformed my tired-looking condo into a work of art!” These unsolicited testimonials from grateful Turton Interiors clients were our initial introduction to Patricia Turton here at Spotlight on Business. Her colleagues, like the folks at Tapis Essgo Carpets, are equally impressed: “We have been working with Turton Interiors for years. Patricia is a talented and a true professional.” The popularity of her “classic yet modern minimalism” approach has Patricia’s phone on permanent glow-up mode. She is an interior decorator, an accredited Staging professional, and the owner of the above-mentioned Ile-des-Soeurs, Quebec-based business. She has worked as a design professional and “Home Stager” since 2004. “After earning my Bachelor of Commerce degree, I spent close to 10 years in the banking and investment worlds,” she told us when we first spoke. “But I was looking for a change and contemplated one of two options: to go back to school to do my MBA; or pursue a more artistic path in Interior Design.” But taking the road less travelled wasn’t the end of Patricia’s days in the classroom.
What was your time like in New York learning the art of Staging from the creator of the Home Staging concept, Barb Schwartz? How did that come to pass?
PT: Initially, I was unsure how viable a career in interior design would be, so I decided to prepare my application for the MBA program. One night, after work, I had my books open and the TV on in background and there was a program by Barb Schwartz about Home Staging. I was so intrigued with the concept and came to the realization that I really should try to do what I was passionate about. Home Staging was not well-known at the time here in Quebec and I knew an opportunity was before me. I signed up for the next course and my journey began.
The Accredited Staging Professional Course that I took with Barb Schwartz was an intensive three-day program which consisted of two days of classroom work and one day in the field Staging a home. The course was essential in giving a framework with which to set up and run a Home Staging business. We went through everything from pricing, to marketing, and the different types of services you can offer. It was so exciting to discover all that was possible – but the third day was certainly the most amazing. She brought the class to a home that was about to be listed and we were divided into teams and assigned various parts of the home. We deconstructed, peeled away, and Staged the home. And it was so amazing to see creativity at work – we were only able to use what was already at the house to Stage. The end result was a complete transformation.
Most of all, I remember the reaction of the owners coming home to see the home they’d lived in for several years take on a whole new life. They saw some of their belongings that had been stored away at the back of closets take centre Stage. This all left such an impression on me. To this day, it’s still one of my favourite parts of my business.
Styles and trends implicitly come and go, but is there anything about your approach to each project that has remained unchanged since your time in New York in 2004?
PT: My approach to each project is very much the same as what I learned in New York in that it is very pragmatic. Whether I’m “Staging to Sell” or “Staging to Live” I follow the same guidelines. While “Staging to Sell” and “Staging to Live” have very different objectives, I’m always looking with an eye of the potential buyer or homeowner and what you will see when you first enter any given room. People shop for a lifestyle when looking for a home; and a homeowner is looking to make their home more enjoyable – whether that is in form or function. So I always follow a step-by-step approach – exactly as I was taught in New York and provide solutions that are both sensible and realistic.
How would you describe your style, Patricia?
PT: I would say my style is definitely more towards a classic yet modern minimalism, but I like my spaces to have a sense of character that reflects the style of the home as well as the homeowner. Each of these facets will take priority depending if I am Staging for the real estate market or Staging for a new homeowner. One of the things I’ve learned from stagedhomes.com, one of the leaders in Staging education, is to try to limit surface items in a room to either one or a grouping of three. This is something I still do in my day-to-day designs. It helps keep my spaces from feeling cluttered and more minimal.
In what ways has your background in banking and investments been an advantage as a business owner and a Stager?
PT: I was an Investment Advisor Assistant for seven of the 10 years I worked in the banking industry before starting my Home Staging and interior design business. And I would have to say that it has enabled me to look at each project from this standpoint: as an investment. Even my dialogue with my clients is not so much how much they want to spend, but rather how much they want to invest. It helps them to appreciate that the money they are putting into Staging their property or how much they are putting into a renovation is in fact an investment that will provide them with a return. Either in their sale price, time on the market, or in pleasure for the years to come. It helps them to feel a little more at ease when making decisions.
What can a Turton Interiors client expect from your services?
PT: The right understanding of their needs, respect of their budget, their deadlines and that they get the benefit of my extensive experience in the field. They can also expect that some of the ideas I will bring forward may also be a little outside the box so to speak – because after all, to me, this is why they’ve decided to work with a design professional. I will always look for ways to add value to working with me.
Can you share a few words with the readers about any particular projects that you feel exemplify the Turton Interiors touch?
PT: There is one particular Home Staging project we completed earlier this year that comes to mind. The client lived abroad and had been trying to sell his father’s home located in TMR [Town of Mount Royal]. It had been on the market for roughly six months and was not getting any viable offers. The agent brought me in to do a consultation and estimate. After going through the various recommendations with the client via WhatsApp, we did several cosmetic updates and Staged the home with rented furnishings and accessories. The home was completely transformed. Buyers were able to see the full potential and renovations became an option, rather than a necessity. The home itself had generous proportions and made for a wonderful family home.
How has the Staging industry changed since your accreditation in 2005 and where is it headed?
PT: With all the electronic and communications developments of the last 10 years, working with clients abroad has become so much easier. I’ve worked with several clients that I’ve never even met! Of late, we’ve seen an uptick in foreign investors purchasing property that they intend to rent out and the realtor refers them to us to make the property stand out from other rental properties on the market. So for us, it’s doing a little of both: “Staging to Sell” and “Staging to Live.” We set up the property so that they will have great photos for the MLS [Multiple Listing Service] listing, but also the spaces are functional and representative of the area they are located in. We have had great success in this area and look forward to taking on more projects like this. The client can rest assured that we will understand their objectives, work within their budget and time frame and the end result will be a product that will provide them with a great return on investment.
Please visit turtoninteriors.com for a complete description of Patricia’s real estate and Staging packages as well as her interior design options.
By David MacDonald