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Designers turn entrepreneurs

Two local designers are using economic-driven layoffs as an opportunity to become entrepreneurs.

Daniela Heath and Miriam Allen have founded Simpatico Design, a home and real estate staging company.

“Home staging is popular everywhere else, but just not in Knoxville, so we want to educate people about home staging and how it can help sell a home faster,” Heath, an architect and native of Germany, said.

“Home staging is detailing, de-cluttering, depersonalizing, re-designing, and preparing a seller’s home to give it a model-home appearance so that the potential buyer can better imagine themselves living in the home.

“You have to present your home right,” she added.

The pair recently held an open house demonstrating home staging for a Farragut client, Lori Caldwell, at her condo, which is for sale off Loop Road.

In Caldwell’s home, Heath and Allen said their work largely involved rearranging furniture to best show off a room’s potential.

“A lot of times, all you have to do is know how to arrange furniture and present the rooms in your home,” Heath said.

Heath and Allen also worked on depersonalizing rooms, removing family photographs, posters and the like.

“For staging, it’s important to depersonalize so buyers can imagine themselves here,” Heath said.

Heath said she and Allen could work with clients within their respective budgets, largely using existing furniture and design elements.

“We try to work with the client’s furniture to try to keep the budget low,” Heath said.

If the pair is hired to help sell a home that already has been vacated, they’ll use rental furniture.

Heath and Allen said they provide free 30-minute consultations to potential clients, typing up a report on “everything in every room,” including the best way to arrange each room.

“It’s typically everything per room, all the way down to trim and ceilings and if you need to touch up paint,” Allen said.

“After that, the client will decide ‘You know, actually, I can work with these ideas,’ or ‘I really need your help because I don’t really know what color my wall should be or where to place my furniture,’” Heath said.

The name, Simpatico, is an interpretation of an adjective meaning “having attractive qualities” and being “of like mind or temperament,” Allen said.

“Our interpretation of the word is through the use of architecture and interior design to create functional, unique, visually stimulating spaces.

“In addition, Daniela and I come from different professional backgrounds and from different sides of the world, but we are able to combine our skills and work as a team to create these pleasing spaces. And have fun in the meantime,” she added.

Caldwell’s home is listed with Judi Starliper of Realty Executives Associates.

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