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Conversations with local design Talent

HOUSETALKS with Kathleen Usherwood Featuring Mary Zipkin

15 minutes with Mary Zipkin, Home Stager and Stylist


You’ve been a home stager and stylist in the Bedford areafor many years now. How did you get started?

As a kid, I loved spending my Saturdays arranging and rearranging my bedroom furniture. As an adult, my friends would invite me for dinner and I’d find myself rearranging their living room. Friends started to refer me to other people for home styling and I then turned my passion into a career!


When you style a home for resale, what is the first thing you do?

The first thing I do is to remove family photos to facilitate the separation process and help clients become comfortable with it. Selling a home and moving can be one of life’s major stresses.  And a less personalized home helps a buyer to imagine their own photos in the house.


Decluttering is very trendy now…  how do you start the process for a client when they are thinking of listing their house for sale?

I start by visually assessing a room, sometimes with photo. Then I can “see” the transformation and edit that needs to happen in order for a buyer to visualize their personal style fitting perfectly into the home. It’s so important to get the buyer to linger on the listing, not swipe right!


Decluttering a home for sale can be overwhelming for some people, how do you get started and where do the discards go?

Many people have lived in their homes for decades, raised their children and gone through many life stages with a lifetime of “stuff” in the house. I help with sorting out the “must keeps” and mementos from the “no longer relevant” and “no longer needed” pieces. I offer a tag sale and online auction services to all my clients.


I understand that you offer organizing and restyling services for clients who are staying in their home and need a “fresh eye“.

Organizing comes easy to me, and a ‘fresh eye” is sometimes just the right touch.  I usually charge by the hour and I move furniture and artwork, replace a vase or two and declutter a corner to maximize someone’s style. I’m not a minimalist by nature, I LOVE stuff, so I try to utilize all the unique pieces that my clients already have. I often get called to help with organizing a kitchen so that a client’s cooking and entertaining area becomes more spacious and definitely less cluttered. 


Are there any paint color trends that clients should know about? Have you ever suggested a change of paint color in order to make a house more updated? Does it matter? 

YES, it matters. The buyer is more style savvy  and expects a house to more updated now.  Paint is the greatest gift of all…It just clears the palette and sets the stage. Grey has been trending for 5 years now…I’m feeling whites and bisque colors now!


I’ve heard rugs should be rolled up for more appealing listing photos…what’s your thoughts?

Not always, but an old oriental or floral is best rolled up for the photos…grab a sisal rug for a refreshing replacement.


Any parting thoughts?

Your home is your special space….  a spiritual garden of sorts, replant and refresh it!

Mary can be reached at KnackofAllTrades.com or call  914-274-7390.

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