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.

Angela Todd Studios For Custom Furnishings

Angela Todd

Owner & Principal Designer

Angela is the principal designer at her boutique interior design firm in Portland, Oregon. She is known for creating memorable backdrops that tell the story of fascinating and intricate lives.

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