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Home Stager says TV role was ‘glass slipper that fit’

As a professional home stager on HGTV’s The Stagers, Matthew Finlasonsays he often gets requests from people to help with their decorchanges.<br />

As a professional home stager on HGTV’s The Stagers, Matthew Finlason says he often gets requests from people to help with their decor changes.

The 33-year-old, who was born in Jamaica and raised in Toronto, moved to Vancouver in 2005 to further his career in design.

The process of staging is a mystery to some. Finlason explains the ins and outs:

Q What do stagers do exactly?

A Stagers breathe life into dull spaces. I like to think I paint a room with a sofa and vase to have people fall in love with your home so that they will buy it.

Q How did you get into staging?

A I answered an ad on Craigslist that sought a particular skills set. It was an ad placed by (home staging company) Dekora for a home stager. I met with Ron Sowden, the owner who used to set-decorate for Disney and Mirimax.

I quickly recounted my set decoration experience in film and TV and the many years I had shlepped in art departments for commercials and indie films. I think he was amused by the cocky kid who walked in off the street with no experience pretending to know it all. Fake it till you make it.

Q Have you always wanted to work in TV?

A
Yes and then no. I had walked away from wanting to be on TV after many years of chasing an acting career in Toronto. I quit acting and moved to Vancouver where I disappeared behind the camera to work in art departments hauling boxes and learning from the ground up how productions are designed.

I thrived in this creative environment, which I found to have meaning and freedom to be experimental.

Q How did the show come about?

A I was staging with Dekora for about a year and a half before Paperny Films showed up looking for designers to lead a new show about home staging. I approached my interview like it was an audition. When they discovered I had experience as a set decorator and production designer, it was a glass slipper that fit.

Q How has staging been affected by the global economic crisis?

A With property values declining and markets crashing, there is less money to go around. People are making half of what they expected ... Yet staging has never been more relevant. The moment you put your home on the market it becomes a product. In this market, standing out from the rest has never been more essential.

 
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