By LANDON WOODROOF
Amy Greenman and other members of the greater Nashville chapter of the Real Estate Staging Association were looking for a way to give back. They wanted to make a positive impact in their communities by collectively working on a staging project.
For Greenman, the inspiration came from close to home. She lives on the Brentwood campus of the Tennessee Baptist Children’s Homes with her husband Rees, a social worker serving the kids there.
“I said, ‘You guys this is just on my heart,’” she remembered recently. “‘I really think this can make a huge difference in these kids’ lives,’ and all of these ladies just immediately jumped on board. It’s such an amazing group of women to be involved with, to have as colleagues and friends.”
The RESA members decided to redecorate two of the girls’ cottages on the Brentwood campus using the skills they have picked up in their professional lives over the years. They finished one cottage at the end of last week and are beginning work on another one this Friday.
As they explained, although the RESA members certainly tried to make the house look better than before, there is a deeper meaning behind the decorating. A living space can affect the way you feel, and the stagers all wanted their work to improve the quality of life of the girls who live in the cottages.
Audrey and Jordan Frazier are the live-in houseparents of four girls at the cottage that was redecorated last week. As Jordan explained, the girls are on a two-week rotation of living spaces. They stay at the home where the Fraziers live for two weeks and then go to a relief house for one week.
That shuffling around can be hard for the children.
“The type of kids we serve, any time they have a transition it can be really difficult,” Jordan said. “We have to learn as parents how to make those a little easier for kids.”
By redecorating both homes in a similar fashion, Jordan said he hoped that the RESA members could make the girls’ transitions a little easier.
Of course, there was also the fact that the cottages were badly in need of updating.
Jordan said the walls were painted a peanut-buttery color and the whole place was just generally dark.
“It kind of made you feel like you were in a cave a bit,” he said.
That’s where some of the principles of psychological home staging enter, which many of the RESA members are expert at.
“A lot of the children that we serve here come from hard places, but they also have sensory issues,” Amy said. “Creating an environment that is calming, relaxing, so they can go in their rooms and just feel peaceful, it helps.”
RESA Regional Vice President Kristie Barnett picked out the color scheme for the cottages. She said one of the goals was just to lighten up the homes, which the stagers did by having the walls painted and changing some of lighting fixtures and light bulbs in the home.
In all, 13 RESA members are involved in redecorating the cottages, Barnett said. They have taken time out of their own businesses over the past few weeks to put their expertise to work on this project.
“What these business owners have done, it’s just amazing,” Rees Greenman said.
Jordan marveled at the dedication the stagers had shown throughout the redesign.
“They’ve basically lived here this week,” he said. “I know their husbands, their kids, their dogs’ names. We’ve become great friends.”
Also helping out were several local foundations and businesses. RESA got a grant from the CLARCOR foundation that funded a lot of the work. Sherwin-Williams donated paint. Ferguson in Lebanon donated lighting. Nashville Painting Solutions did a lot of the painting.
The end result impressed the TBCH staff.
“It really does feel like an HGTV home makeover,” Rees said. “It’s beautiful. To be honest, when I walked into the girls’ rooms today…I teared up, because these girls have been through a lot of stuff, a lot of really not great stuff, and they deserve to have wonderful, beautiful, great, well-cared for things, and we’re already doing that, but this has really put it over the top where it does feel like a total home makeover.”
Jordan and Audrey could not wait for the girls to see their new home. Work on the cottage finished last Thursday.
“One of our girls was asking, ‘What does my room look like? Does it have this or does it have this?’” Jordan said. “I remember looking at her and said, ‘Honey, it is way more beautiful than you can imagine.’”
When the girls did finally see their redecorated rooms, Jordan and Audrey could not have asked for more.
“The reactions were awesome,” Jordan said. “They were really priceless. I think it was a way bigger impact than even the girls could express with words. It was a huge deal.”
Before pictures courtesy of Kristie Barnett.
From left: Karen Hattan, Shelley McCoy (seated) Jamie Watford, Kristie Barnett, Elizabeth Scruggs, Amy Greenman, Carol Lindsay, Jordan Frazier, Audrey FrazierHere are some before and after shots of some of the rooms: