If you looked in a copy of the Property Press 23 years ago, home staging was unheard of. The page spreads featured empty houses.
At the time Dinah Malyon was doing renovations then styling them. She discovered her impact was instant—stock sold very quickly. People were wowed. Yet her real estate friends said it would never work commercially.
Then Dinah received a fateful call. One of the same agents offered her a home staging job.
“I pulled all my furniture out of my house to do it,” she says. That was the beginning of DMI Homestagers—the first professional service of its kind in the country.
Cold calling agents with empty houses in the Property Press built the business up from scratch. Dinah pitched how to turn a listing from “now into wow” with her professional expertise. It turned unrealised opportunity into a thriving business reality.
Today with her daughter, Philly, who’s grown up in the business, they “bring homes alive” by transforming them into glamorous desirable residences.
It’s not unusual for their handiwork to increase the sales price significantly. “Vendors often comment that they can’t believe the price we go,” says Dinah. The DMI Homestagers website is full of testimonials and flawless photos of their work.
“What we do is bespoke, personalised and luxe—there is a real depth to it,” says Philly. “I’ve had agents say our beautiful bedding helps sell the property. People just fall in love with it.”
Although phenomenally busy, the duo are meticulously organised and completely hands on, personally attending consultations to get a feel for the property then selecting the furniture themselves. They have up to three trained stylists in their team helping them with each installation.
“It’s quite an intuitive process,” Dinah says. “We become advisors when vendors are downsizing after many decades in the same home.”
They style up to three homes a day—the whiteboard in their Parnell office shows the running tally of turnarounds. Philly calls it “interior design on steroids”. The pace is intense, they’ve been told what they can do in three hours could take three weeks typically.
Projects range from high-end homes to little apartments through to new builds. “When clients see our aesthetic in the flesh, they get it—it’s massive for me as then I know we’ve met the market—it often leads to interior design work too,” Philly says.
She often calls agents particularly to hone in on who would use the space. “I want to get it 100 percent right. Some homes have five bedrooms and tiny living areas. You need to provide the right amount of seating without overcrowding yet still ensure good flow.”
They say, “A home is usually your biggest asset – you have to get it right by using an experienced home stager or you risk devaluing your property.
“People can’t visualise spaces—they’ll put a single bed in a double room—we say put a double in there as it will look larger.”
They explain a few key rules that they train all their team in. “Don’t put a sofa in front of a window with a view or a chair in front of a door that’s going to open, use a big rug in a big room and be mindful about coordination – having a theme right throughout the house works best.”
After over two decades the adrenaline of achieving unseen potential still keeps them both going. Many times, it’s stressful, however no job has ever been turned down—even in the early days.
“It’s euphoric—you do get a buzz. We always say to our clients that it’s a real privilege for us to come into your home to help sell your property.”