When New York City-based Halstead Property agents Julie Cushman (originally from Houston) and Ivana Tagliamonte were approached by HGTV Selling New York producers to showcase one of their properties, the women were beyond thrilled. And then challenged.
They had the listing on an 1,800 square foot Tribeca loft with stunning views of the Hudson River — just right for the popular reality show. But the $2.25 million property was bare bones empty. They had to have it staged (decorated in layman's language) for an open house that was less than a week away.
So with cameras rolling, they called on Lucinda Loya, whose interior design business extends from home base in Houston to Manhattan and points beyond. (A long-time family friend, Cushman was the agent that found the spectacular place that Lucinda and Javier Loya purchased as their New York residence.) The challenge was on.
"I pulled some little creative tricks. We had blow-up mattresses on the beds!"
"I finished this apartment in two days with zero budget," Loya said. "I don't mean a limited budget. I mean no budget." Quite the change from the four other projects she has in New York, projects with serious dollars available for decorating.
The HGTV producers were not convinced that she could pull off this design miracle in the limited time frame — two days to line up resources and two days to collect furnishings and install. But they didn't know Loya's tenacity, energy level or ability to function with little sleep. Or her contacts. Alton LaDay, who handles public relations for the Houston Design Center where Lucinda offices, helped out with his NYC contacts.
"It was a blast, just a whirlwind for us," Loya said. "We had three carts filled at Bed, Bath & Beyond. Twice we did that, picking up bedding and linens."
When the job was completed, expenses totaled close to $50,000.
"We made it really look fabulous. I pulled some little creative tricks. We had blow-up mattresses on the beds!" she said. "It was crazy and to tell the truth it was a difficult project . . . The best thing the loft had going for it was the view."
Loya reports that the HGTV producers loved the results and the show will air in September.