Established in 2002, Six Elements Inc. offers home staging (also called house fluffing, property styling or real estate merchandising), interior redesign and color consulting services to homeowners, home sellers and real estate agents across the US and Canada.
Based on her own personal experience of buying, decorating and selling her own properties plus working with hundreds of real estate agents, company president Debra Gould also offers unbiased real estate advice to home buyers and home sellers.
As a recognized leader in the home staging field, Debra Gould’s media coverage includes: HGTV, CityTV, GlobalTV, Toronto Star, The Globe and Mail, National Post, CBC, CBS Radio, CNN Money, Wall Street Journal, Woman’s Day, Reader’s Digest, MoneySense, Entrepreneur, House and Home, Home & Decor, Style at Home, Centre of the City, USAA Magazine, FabJob Guide to Become a Home Stager, Home Style, Post Homes, This Old House, Home Business Magazine and others.
In response to hundreds of requests Six Elements received from aspiring home stagers, the company began offering the Staging Diva® Home Staging Business Training Program in late 2004. Today, it is one of the most respected and recognized brands in home staging, with over 4,000 students on 5 continents.
Debra Gould’s Formal Education
Debra Gould has a Diploma in Creative Arts from Dawson College and a BA in Communications “With Distinction” from Concordia University.
Afraid trying to earn a living from her creativity would lead to a life as a “starving artist,” she pursued an MBA in Marketing from Canada’s top business school, the Schulich School of Business (York University), and began a corporate career before moving to advertising.
In the 1980s, Gould launched one of the country’s first integrated marketing services firms, which she ran for 10 years, before embarking on a journey of personal and career reinvention.
A Big Leap Into the Unknown
Realizing life is the adventure we make it and tired of not living her creative dreams, in 1998 Debra Gould gave up her home and Fortune 500 clients and bought an acre of land on Salt Spring Island.
Completely out of her comfort zone, she picked up a paint brush and rediscovered her passion for color, pattern and design.
Starting with floorcloths (hand painted rugs), she developed the Debra Gould Home Collection and began doing custom accessories for clients’ homes, landing a magazine cover story and book feature, followed by her first of several HGTV appearances.
A Home Stager or House Fluffer is Born
Over four years, Gould had a remarkable and creative journey that took her back and forth across the country. With those moves, and the two properties she had owned previously, Gould completed 11 real estate transactions.
Experimenting with her own houses, Gould developed a process to quickly decorate her homes to sell at great profit, and began offering her Home Staging by Design™ service when she returned to Toronto in 2002.
Since that time she has staged homes for hundreds of clients in addition to providing home staging training.
Even if your house is your home, it’s also probably your single biggest financial investment.
Debra Gould’s rules for making money in real estate are:
Sell High. Sell Fast. Sell Smart.™
A Personal Mission
Six Elements products and services are based on an underlying approach called Empowerment by Design™ which Gould developed after her own journey of reinvention, and in working with thousands of clients.
While she helped decorate their homes to sell, choose colors, redesign their rooms, or while she created their custom accessories; Gould was struck by how many clients started to realize that by letting what they wanted into their homes, they could begin to let what they wanted into their lives.
No matter what product or service she offers, Gould believes her mission is to design new possibilities for others.
“I learned how to do this first by creating dramatically new possibilities for my own life and what inspires me is being able to do this for others,” says Gould.
Imagine the new opportunities she is able to create for clients with the $10,000 to $70,000 profit they make from her services.
Some take time off to travel, others realize they have the capital to start that business they’ve always dreamed of. One client was able to live mortgage free for the first time thanks to the extra $100,000 they made when they sold their home!
Through her own career changes and house moves, and later in helping hundreds of clients, Debra Gould noticed a common theme.
“We all have a desire to express ourselves and be true to who we really are,” she explains. “If we don’t start by allowing free expression into our own homes, how can we be ourselves in other areas?”
Most clients don’t entirely reinvent their lives, but each is changed from having worked with her.
From the extra money she is able to bring into her clients’ lives through her home staging results, or in helping others realize the one thing that bothers them most about their homes and having the problem solved; Debra Gould is able to make a significant difference in their lives.
“Often we are so accustomed to tolerating something, we don’t even realize how it drains us,” Gould says. “Having a solution can make a big difference in our daily experience because it reduces stress and brings more enjoyment.”
Consistent with her mission of empowering others with new possibilities for their lives, in creating the Staging Diva Training Program, Debra Gould has inspired over 4000 students and graduates to start their own home staging businesses. Located across the US, Canada, and as far as Europe, Australia, New Zealand, Israel, Brazil, Barbados, South America and South Africa, Debra Gould also sends them project leads generated by the significant traffic she gets at her many websites.
The Staging Diva Directory of Home Stagers is an effective advertising vehicle for Graduates as it makes it easier for homeowners and their agents to locate home stagers. Participation in the Directory has also generated free publicity for many graduates as key media find them through their association with Staging Diva.
The “Piano Lady”
Here’s a real life example of the Empowerment by Design™ approach Debra uses with clients to help them see new possibilities.
One client wanted a new color palette and some help redecorating her condo. Her living room was completely dominated by a huge covered object. It turned out to be a beautiful mahogany baby grand piano under layers of protective padding.
The woman kept it covered except under very rare circumstances so that it would never get dusty or scratched. She hardly played it, or even allowed herself the simple pleasure of looking at it.
It took some coaxing, but she finally unwrapped it so Gould could see how it looked in the room. They left it uncovered as they discussed other aspects of the interior.
Gould was struck by how often the woman’s gaze drifted back to the piano, like a long lost friend. Finally, she said, “I almost forgot how beautiful it was to look at. If I left it uncovered, I could play it whenever I had even 10 minutes to spare!”
Gould says, “It was as if she needed me to tell her it was okay to take the small risk of leaving the piano exposed because of the greater joy it would give her every day. If she was living in such a restrained way in her own home, how was she living in the outside world?”
Letting What We Want Into Our Lives
While our living environment is often thought to mirror who we are, Gould’s philosophy is that it may also be a reflection of where we are in our lives and how we are living.
The fear of creating a living space that reflects your needs and desires may be a metaphor for the fear of living the life you have always wanted.
Taking something as simple as what’s in our homes and changing it can be a process that begins to lead us to rediscover who we are. By letting what we really want into our own homes, we start to let what we really want into our lives.
External Changes Have a Ripple Effect
Had Gould stayed in Toronto in 1998, continued consulting for her large corporate clients and put her “what if?” questions and creative dreams aside, she would not have had the wonderful adventure that has unfolded.
“I want to help others, especially women, create new opportunities for themselves. Even if it’s ‘only’ giving them the courage to paint a wild color they’ve always dreamed of.
Whether we ever comment on it or not, it is more than just about the color! It’s about putting aside fears of making the wrong choice, or what other people will think. This can be very liberating and have ripple effects in other areas. I’ve seen it over and over again and it’s fabulous,” says Gould.
“I can help you transform the home you’re living in with color, pattern and with design. I can help you make $10,000 to $70,000 extra when you sell your home,” she says. “In either case, in the process, you may become more empowered and inspired to make other changes in your life. I see it happen naturally, as my clients home is transformed. Things start to shift externally and it opens up subtle changes internally.”
What’s Holding You Back?
So think about it— if you felt empowered to design the life you really want, how would it change the way your are living? How would it help you become the person you’ve always wanted to be?
Ask yourself, what’s holding you back in your environment?
Empowerment by Design™
“My passion is design, color and pattern. That’s what empowers me. So now I help people use design to change their environments. By creating a home that inspires them and reflects who they really are and what’s important to them they often begin to transform their lives in other ways,” Debra says. “Like the woman who finally uncovered her piano.”
Let us show you how Empowerment by Design can help empower and inspire you.
If you call 416-691-6615 or email, we’ll show you how we can begin to design possibilities for your home and your life!
Debra Gould’s Staging Expertise is Available To You No Matter Where You Live
Through her personal Home Staging Coaching Service Debra Gould offers advice by phone and email to clients all over the US and Canada.
“Virtual Staging,” as this is also called, is an excellent way to have your questions answered by a home staging pro as you need help. It’s also less expensive than an in-home consultation. If you want to do most of the work yourself, and your home is not vacant, this is a good option.
You may also want to visit the Staging Diva Directory of Home Stagers to find a home stager in your area.
Thinking of starting your own Home Staging / House Fluffing business?
The creator of the Staging Diva Home Staging Business Training Program, Debra Gould has trained thousands of home stagers to start and grow their own businesses. Learn more about becoming a home stager.
Gould is the author of “Home Stager’s Guide to Twitter“, Staging Diva Ultimate Design Guide: Home staging tips, tricks and floor plans,” “Staging Diva Ultimate Color Guide: The easy way to pick colors for home staging projects,” and “Staging Diva Ultimate Portfolio Guide: Winning clients with the perfect home staging portfolio.”