Business

Decorate for the Next Chapter works to make someone's house a home

A living room is staged by Jana Nassif of Decorate for the Next Chapter at a home built by Paul Allen of Allen Custom Homes in Cedar Rapids  on Wednesday, May 22, 2019. Nassif sources gently used items to stage homes, which can be purchased fully furnished.  (Rebecca F. Miller/The Gazette)
A living room is staged by Jana Nassif of Decorate for the Next Chapter at a home built by Paul Allen of Allen Custom Homes in Cedar Rapids on Wednesday, May 22, 2019. Nassif sources gently used items to stage homes, which can be purchased fully furnished. (Rebecca F. Miller/The Gazette)
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CEDAR RAPIDS — Jana Nassif knows how to make herself at home.

Or rather, she knows how to make other people’s homes inviting for those who might be considering purchasing the house while it is listed on the market.

As owner of Decorate for the Next Chapter, she works with clients — many of whom are retired and seeking to downsize — to prepare a home for sale.

Nassif, ironically, has not moved from her own home in 26 years. She said working with clients and staging homes fulfills her desire to change things up.

Nassif stayed home while raising her children for several years, but once they were grown and out of the house, she began to tap into her merchandising and marketing degrees.

She had worked in a small retail decor store doing the merchandising and many customers requested that she visit their house and decorate their home.

“That got to be super busy because I had a lot of people wanting me to do this,” she said.

So Nassif decided to launch her own business. For the past two years, she’s worked on helping individuals downsize and stage their homes for sale.

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She also has began to work very closely with local Realtors requesting these services for their own clients.

“I do a home consultation,” she said. “A Realtor will call me and ask them to go with them to a listing. I make recommendations on what they need to do to prepare their home for sale.

“Sometimes I move furniture around,” she added. “We talk about what we need to get rid of and what to keep. Then I send them a complete write-up for every room of what they can do or what I can do for them.”

Nassif has managed to build a network of contractors she recommends working with — an upholsterer, a flooring and tile person, a person that does driveways, a painter and a landscaper.

“When I am downsizing, I talk with the Realtor a little bit because they have me on a deadline. But I spend all my time with the homeowners. We set up a timeline, usually about three months, and we meet weekly to make sure things are getting done.”

Realtors also began asking Nassif to stage homes, without working with their clients directly, so she invested in some key furniture pieces. “When staging, I seldom even meet the homeowner,” she explained.

She works to find something different to make every home distinct.

“I reuse the furniture pieces, so my goal is to challenge myself to find different accessory items to make this merchandise look different every time I stage it,” she said.

And to remain thrifty, Nassif taps into local resale shops to find pieces she might need for staging — from furniture that she reupholsters to decor and bedding.

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Nassif recently worked with local builder Paul Brundell, whose 2019 Parade house was energy-efficient.

“I didn’t want to fill the home with new items because it was against what he was saying to the customer,” she recalled.

Handling all the marketing and making time to generate new design ideas, Nassif works about three days per week on her downsizing and staging business.

“I am not an interior decorator,” she said. “My goal is to help people to make changes to be happy in their new homes.”

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At a glance

• Owner: Jana Nassif

• Business: Decorate for the Next Chapter

• Address: Cedar Rapids

• Phone: (319) 929-0009

• Website: facebook.com/nextchapterdecor

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