Q + A

the voice of Nest + Nestle Owner, Denise Winkelmann

A well-laid-out home has the power to shape residents’ everyday life in ways that may not be readily apparent. An open floorplan encourages easy flow between spaces; a south-facing orientation drenches the home in sunlight, offering simple joy in the daily minutia. However, even the most architecturally stunning floorplans benefit from thoughtfully curated furnishings and décor. As a seller, it’s important to market a home with beautifully executed staging in order to make a lasting impression on potential buyers. That’s where professionals like Denise Winkelmann, owner of Nest + Nestle, come in.

How did you find your calling in staging homes?

When I was a young teen, my family built a house in Florida. Across our street were three model homes — that is my first memory of what a staged home could feel like: beautiful perfection in my 14-year-old brain. Fast forward a few years, I went on to receive my BFA (I love art in many forms) and bought my first home. I enjoyed remodeling and finding ways to make my home feel warm and inviting. Both of my daughters are brokers and gave me the opportunity to “stage” a few of their listings. From there, I was bitten by the bug.

When you enter a home, how do you determine the style of décor and furnishings that will suit the space the best? How does the style of the home affect your choices for staging?

I always try to stay within the style of the home to some degree. I usually work with the broker to understand the potential buyer and what will resonate with them. Once I have a better idea of the audience, I design accordingly (of course, with a little warmth and flair).

“I want a buyer to walk into a home and feel themselves living there. I want them to sit on the furniture and imagine it being their space.” 

Where do you find inspiration for your staging compositions?

I study any and all home décor magazines, visit open houses, walk through design homes and absorb catalogs. There is inspiration wherever you walk.  

Describe how staging affects the way potential buyers interact with the home.

I want a buyer to walk into a home and feel themselves living there. I want them to sit on the furniture and imagine it being their space. My staging should inspire them to see the beauty or potential of that home for themselves.

What are your favorite types of homes to stage and why?

I personally don’t have a favorite; I seriously love all homes. I love to stage a stucco Spanish-style home just as much as I love to stage a downtown loft or a mid-century modern home. My wish is to have a variety of furniture to stage all types of homes.

“What’s more important than having someone give you design tips — like putting your couch on the largest wall — is to be curious and explore why you like a certain look.”

What key tips do you have for homeowners looking to amplify their home space?

Embrace the weird spaces, take advantage of the outdoor spaces, play around and don’t be afraid to move furniture. It’s okay to have some empty space; to wait for the right piece of furniture. Don’t follow the rules and just have fun. Man, I could go on forever with that question!

What’s more important than having someone give you design tips — like putting your couch on the largest wall — is to be curious and explore why you like a certain look. I think it can be overwhelming to think you need to follow someone’s rules. It’s more important to understand why you like something and then try to incorporate it into your day to day. Does a certain space make you feel relaxed? Are you drawn to a certain piece of art? Are there colors you are drawn to? It’s ok to be a pioneer in your own home.