Q&A with Denise Cable
Founder & Owner of The Home Styling Company
How would you describe yourself?
I’m a business owner, a passionate advocate of home staging and lover of all things property. I work with property developers, estate agents and private vendors to help prepare all kinds of homes for sale. My job is to use my staging skills and experience to ensure properties appeal to as many buyers as possible, sell quickly and for their optimum price.
I’ve been happily married to Stephen for almost thirty years and our son, Michael, is now 21 and has just completed a degree in Computer Science. Stephen and Michael both work with me in the business so it’s a real family affair which I love. My parents were born in the West of Ireland where we still have a large family, but I was born and brought up by my late mum, Mary, and my dad, Jim in Coventry. When I was younger, music was my great love. I played the piano accordion and the cello and after leaving school I studied education at Nottingham Trent University to train for a career in teaching. I specialised in music and subsequently in early years education. I spent 26 years in primary school settings before taking a bold decision to retrain and follow my dream.
I had always harboured a secret wish to create a career based around my love of property and interior design and had a bit of a ‘now or never’ epiphany. I made the rather scary decision to leave the security of teaching and take the leap into a completely new industry. I retrained to become a certified home staging and styling professional before launching The Home Styling Company in 2016. Fast forwarding to today, we continue to grow as more and more developers and estate agents are realising the power of staging as a sales tool.
Staging homes to sell is absolutely standard in many parts of the world but less well known in the UK so it was undoubtedly a risk to launch a home staging business but one which I have never regretted for a moment. Things are changing fast as staging becomes more widely used and it’s exciting to be part of that journey of discovery in such a creative industry.
Who are your greatest influences?
I would say definitely my parents. My mum had impeccable taste. She was a bit of a trail blazer too – always choosing the latest innovations and home trends for our house. My dad is a skilled joiner and carpenter and had his own business designing and creating bespoke fitted furniture so as a couple they were a formidable team when it came to improving homes.
While I was growing up, they bought a rundown bungalow in Warwickshire and worked tirelessly to restore it so I’m sure that’s where the seeds of my love of renovation, styling and design were sown.
Designer wise, I love the effortlessly understated style of Nina Campbell and William Yeoward as well as the chic, modern furnishings and accessories by Harlequin. I don’t really follow trends though – if something catches my eye and I like it I’ll try and buy it either for my staging work or for my own home.
What have been some of your best jobs/experiences at work?
The best moment for my team is always the ‘reveal’ when the client sees the finished project for the first time. There’s always such joy and excitement when a property has been transformed and we are lucky enough to receive fantastic feedback for our work. When a home that has been ‘stuck’ on the market sells soon after we have staged it, that’s always a magical moment and one I never tire of. Since we have made our home in this region, our family has lived in two different properties, both of which have been featured in national interior magazines which is also something I’m proud of and which was partly responsible for giving me the confidence to move into a design led industry.
Traditional vs contemporary style?
My work means I’m a style chameleon – always tailoring my approach to the décor with the age and atmosphere of the property. In my own home I mix the two which I think gives the perfect balance between style and character.
What would you consider your greatest achievement?
Having the courage to follow my heart and change direction when it would have been much more comfortable to stay in teaching. I’d recommend anyone to do the same if they can. When the business was quite new, in 2019 we entered the Home Staging Awards UK and Ireland and to our great delight won the ‘Best Transformation of an Occupied Property’ category. We attended a presentation ceremony at
the Waldorf Hotel in London to collect our award and had a fabulous evening. That success meant a great deal as not only were we pitted against much more established staging companies throughout the UK, but the category was judged by the most respected professionals in the industry. Having our work formally endorsed in such a public arena was a huge confidence boost and absolutely rubber stamped my credentials as a professional stager. Outside of work, I learned to play the saxophone a little later in life and now enjoy playing in the Uppingham Jazz and Soul Band. Music helps me switch off from work and relax.
What would your super-power be?
People often say they feel as though I have waved a magic wand when they see their transformed properties.... I’d love to have a real one.