Angela Todd Portland Interior Designers

The Ugly Side of Staging

I may get some flack about writing on this topic.   Oh well.  It is the ugly side of staging and creating show homes: Theft.

Just nine days into the Street of Dreams, items are missing from the Luster of the Pearl penthouse.  This happens with 6-7 volunteers in the penthouse at all times watching visitors and answering design questions.

Sure we took precautions.  You know the tag guns they use at department stores to tag on clothes and  merchandise?  We fired away at towels over the bathbars and shot pillows into place.  We used museum glass under vases and used putty under fine wood pieces.  The truth is, our safe guards aren’t a full proof deterrent, but they discourage theft and also remind visiting “re-decorators” and cleaning people not to move our accessories.  For the record, moving an item an inch this way or that way DOES matter in the overall design, but I digress.

You might be asking yourself what is missing just 9 days into the show.

  • A local photography greeting card staged in the yoga room/home office on a blotter.   The other two greeting cards were left.  Now we have an even number on the blotter.  It drives me nuts!   (Design in odd groupings!)
  • A few days later, the pen that accompanied the greeting cards.  It was wood and way cool.  Dang!
  • Oh and my favorite – why the heck did you steal that?  I laughed today when I noted a bar of soap missing from behind the commode.  Really?  You paid $15.00 to attend a show, and stole a $0.99 item?


I suppose I should be thankful nothing of major value is missing.  I wonder how the other penthouse designers are fairing?  For the record, the show will likely have close to 60,000 visitors before the month of August commences.  We easily have 300 people a day in the penthouse.  There are only a few bad apples, right?

I am left wondering, should I replace the bar of soap, greeting card and pen?  Will this affect voting for the people’s choice for best in show?  I must know what you think!

PS. If you see someone sitting at a bistro in the Pearl District with a greeting card, a pen and a bar of soap, call 911.


  1. Marta says

    Dear Angela,
    I love your sense of humor, of course the details matter, but I guess your taste was also liked by some thiefs. Personally, I appreciated the chance to walk around freely and experience your design from all angles, as opposed to being roped off and restricted to one point of view.
    I really enjoyed the way you incorporiated texture on all surfaces. The entry mirrorr and colorfull walls were superb ideas.They made the room fresh and even more interesting. Your color palate in the whole place is amazing, so ellegant, fun and cutting edge at the same time. Very memorable!!! I could write much more…

    I dont think you have anything to worry about, the best design of all thoughout the whole street of dreams, stolen soap and pen shouldn’t stop you from winning.

  2. Daava says

    Okay. Here’s my thoughts after seeing all your pictures, and then walking through yesterday. That maid staff!!! They move everything! Your coffee tables in the living room, the floor vases in the zen room, and don’t get me started on the pillows in the master which I tried to fix for you, but was unable to.

    All in all we enjoyed the show though. And my husband and I feel that “hands down” you had the best in show. I loved that you didn’t over accessorize, and really made a home that person could move into and live in.

    One thing I noted in your unit compared to the others, is that when we got there, almost every seat in the living room, and every seat on the balcony was being sat in. I didn’t see that in any other unit, people just made themselves at home. Truly a testimony to your design. The other thing was people couldn’t keep their hands off the shimmer screen in the kitchen, it was definitley a WOW factor.

    Good job Angie!

    • says

      Daava – I have been visiting the condo every couple of days to reposition pieces. I admit I haven’t been there since Thursday. I am now curious to see what moved now! As for sitting on the furniture, that is a “no-no”. The volunteers know better! It is not that sitting is a big deal, but multiply the wear and tear with 60,000 people, and you get the picture. The penthouse will get more traffic in a month than a homeowner would have in their home over the course of many, many years.

      Thanks for the compliments. We really tried to create a wow factor and still make it comfortable and livable. It can be a fine line. I am very excited to find out how we did at the awards.

  3. Rebecca Michael says

    Hello, I’m in the process of doing some research for a post that I’m writing for my own blog. I’ve found this post extremely useful and I was wondering if I may link to your article as it will be of some interest to my readers? Thanks for your time. Rebecca Michael

    • says

      Hi Rebecca,

      Feel free to post on your blog piece of my blog. Just make sure you provide a link back to my blog.

      Warm regards,
      Angela Todd

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <s> <strike> <strong>