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Hollywood Real Estate- Stories of Staging Props And Flops

Odd and Shocking Decorating Choices in Hollywood Homes



hookah and alice

We all know the importance of staging a home in order to get the best price possible. Some sellers do it themselves, while others prefer professional staging companies. I live in a town where many people work in the film business, so I often see movie memorabilia used as house decor. Not all of it is attractive; in fact, some of it is downright absurd, hideous or hilarious. I would like to share a few examples of poor staging I have actually witnessed with my own bloodshot eyeballs:

Maybe You Should Re-think That, Pal

The morgue table being used as a dining room table in the home of a known Hollywood Actor (Ideal for cold buffets.)

The sexy  negligee collection prominently displayed in a Beachwood Canyon home (My buyer claimed to have a few outfits that were similar… and he’s a guy.)

The throne toilet in the Beverly Hills home of a Broadway producer. When someone sits on the seat, it plays 76 Trombones. (For the Rooty Tooty Royal Bootie.)

The in-home bar with an IV bag full of booze, supposedly from the show, ER. (Line up for the ever popular Nip and Drip!)

The soda fountain with stools shaped like open hands. (In case you want a bit of grab_ss with your sweet thing.)

The pot plant in the greenhouse window (Sure…it’s an “herb garden,” wink wink. And I suppose that grow light over the plant is a solar panel…)

The “dead dog” on the floor of one producer’s office that looked so real it was upsetting. (The owner cleverly named the dog “Stay.”)

A rotating electric chair in the living room of one actor’s home. (Bind ’em, Recline ’em, Turn ’em and Burn ’em.)

The clock that said “In ‘N’ Out Burger”…with the ‘B” and the last “R” in burger removed. (The clock was over the bed…in the guest room.)

The double closets, staged by a professional staging company, with male clothes in both. (Unfortunately, the absent and clueless seller was a very married rabbi…)

The mushroom shaped table with an Alice in Wonderland sized hookah and a set of cymbals. (Bang a Gong and Smoke a Bong.)

A pale blue velour arched bed frame with tassels. (Ahhhhh – the mellow bordello.)

The deer heads on the wall of a home library in a very animal rights conscious Los Angeles – the city that invented Bambi! (No wonder Bambi’s mom died in the fire – it was probably suicide.)

Bad Mojo:

The giant White Elephant in a house in the Valley – a house that just…would…not…ever…sell…. (Never ignore the “elephant in the living room.”)

Tacky and Wacky:

The cardboard cut-out of Ed Bundy from Married With Children sitting on the Bundy couch with his hand down the front of his trousers. (The newest in Hollywood decorating themes: Scratch a Patch.)

Bold and the Beautiful

The police mug shot of the owner proudly framed on the fireplace mantle…right next to the framed photos of the kids. ( Crimes and MisdeMinors.)

Dubious Contributions

The bathroom in West Hollywood with the disco ball light and mosaic mirrored walls. (Mo’ glo and a Glitter Sh_tter)

More next time, folks – this bag of crazy is deeper than you think! Have a great week.

For More Real Estate Humor, Please visit

I wear several hats: My mink fedora real estate hat belongs to Sotheby’s International Realty on the world famous Sunset Strip. I’M not world famous, but I've garnered a few Top Producer credits along the way. I also wear a coonskin writer's cap with an arrow through it, having written a few novels and screenplays and scored a few awards there, too. (The arrow was from a tasteless critic.) My sequined turban is my thespian hat for my roles on stage, and in film and television, Dahling. You can check me out in all my infamy at LinkedIn,, SherlockOfHomes, IMDB or you can shoot arrows at my head via email. I can take it.

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  1. Joe Loomer

    October 30, 2009 at 12:21 pm

    You’ve turned me into some sick, twisted semblance of my former self. I spent five minutes wondering if BOTH “R’s” in “Burger” where gone, or just one, and if so, which one?

    I once found a bucket full of human excrement in the walk-in attic of a home. Seems the contractor didn’t like to go out in the rain to the port-a-potty…..

    Smile! Boo! Happy Halloween!

    Navy Chief, Navy Pride

  2. Matthew Hardy

    October 30, 2009 at 1:18 pm

    Boy, what a weird country Hollywood is.

  3. Gwen Banta

    October 30, 2009 at 1:55 pm

    Joe, you were already sick and twisted – which is why I like you so much. For you personally, I added the word “last” to explain which ‘r’ was dropped to spell “In and Out Urge.” Your discovery in the attic beats anything I have ever found…but I’m the fat lady hasn’t sung just yet. Have a spooky Halloween. (I am hanging small boxes of cereal on my clothes with little daggers through them. Behold the cereal killer.)

  4. Gwen Banta

    October 30, 2009 at 1:59 pm

    We’re not a country yet, Matthew, but when the next big quake sets us loose into the Pacific, we will finally qualify. I plan to be Queen, unless the boys in West Hollywood assassinate me first in order to claim the title.

  5. Joe Loomer

    October 31, 2009 at 5:55 am

    When the big one hits, go get that elephant ! Ride that puppy around and you’ll certainly be the queen!

  6. Baltimore County Homes

    October 31, 2009 at 11:25 pm

    O’my, I though that the house I recently view with a client in Baltimore, MD where they had a collection of manikins staged around the house was odd. Eccentric people who have money tend to express themselves in very unique and colorful ways. I guess when you take away the basic desires of survival and the common upscale trinkets (homes, cars, trips, jewelry) in life you are left with exploring the odd and dark side of the spectrum.

  7. Roy Cleeves

    November 1, 2009 at 6:29 pm

    I love these great stories of weird things we find in People’s homes.

    The weird one for me was when the Sherrif was changing the locks and due to a Power of Sale for non-payment of Mortgage. The Sherrif has to ensure that the home is empty and secure. In the Master Bedroom we found a deadbolt on the walk in Closet. Once the locksmith opened it we found a closet with clothes lining both sides of the closet. The Sherrif pushed some clothes and behind the clothing was the Wife who was to have already left the home. What a shocking surprise that was! She left without incident.

  8. Nick Haertel

    November 6, 2009 at 12:05 pm

    Al Bundy……not Ed Bundy.

  9. Gwen Banta

    November 6, 2009 at 3:20 pm

    Well put, @ Baltimore!

  10. Gwen Banta

    November 6, 2009 at 3:21 pm

    I had a tenant I had to evict who did that Roy…and she was packing a weapon!

  11. Gwen Banta

    November 6, 2009 at 3:23 pm

    You are right, Nick – thanks for catching that. You must have been a fan of Married With Children.

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Business Marketing

How to make sure your newly remote team stays productive.

(BUSINESS MARKETING) The tide of change is rolling in and may never recede again, so managers should know how to handle the new normal, here’s some advice.



managers new role

The Coronavirus pandemic has changed the way people work. Working from home is the new normal. It’s not only employees who have to think about how they perform, but managers have to learn new skills to keep their team engaged and efficient. I’ve worked on remote teams for over 6 years. Here are some things that have helped me.

Ask “What can I do to help you?”

I’ve worked with some great managers and some awful ones. The best ones had a collaborative attitude when discussing problems. Instead of laying blame, the question was “what can we do to correct this?” It takes a little longer to think in those terms if you’re not used to it, but it reduces stress. If you’re communicating through email or message apps, it pays to reread before hitting send. We’re all learning new skills in this new normal.

Make sure your employees have the technology they need

One of the companies I work for has specific programs they use and technology requirements. Before I was allowed to proceed through their final onboarding, they made sure that I could access their technology. If your team is working from home, they need to have the resources to be productive. It’s not just computers and software, but access to internet. One of my friends said that it took them over an hour to upload a 5-minute video to Facebook.

Define success; don’t micro-manage

As I’m writing this, Ask a Manager’s Alison Green posted a question about “what’s reasonable to expect from parents who are working from home. Just a reminder that managers may have to lower expectations from their team, not only for parents, but for everyone. I don’t have kids at home, but there are many distractions out of the ordinary. Managers have to accept that people aren’t going to be as productive in these not-so-normal-times. Identify priorities. Check in when you’re on a deadline. Find a balance between managing and micro-managing.

We’re all just trying to do the best we can

It doesn’t matter who you are or where you work, I think it’s safe to say that we’re all adapting to these crazy times. How managers handle their teams will set the tone for years to come. If you want to keep those employees who have been hard workers, you’re going to have to adjust to give them the benefit of the doubt.

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Business Marketing

Easy email signature builder quickly updates your info

(BUSINESS MARKETING) When’s the last time you updated your email signature? That long? You might want to look at just sign, a new, quick, and easy, email signature generator.



just sign email

The last thing any of us are thinking about right now is email. While we’re all staying safer at home, though, it’s a good time to think about all the little things that need our attention, but typically get neglected: clearing out the email inbox, unsubscribing from things no longer relevant, and updating our email signatures. Why the email signature?

Oftentimes, we change emails when we change jobs and forget to change our signatures to reflect our new address. The same is true with social media; if we happen to change jobs, due to our own choice or by necessity thanks to the virus, we may need to update our social media profiles accordingly, especially if the new job suddenly makes this a requirement.

One of the fastest ways to update your email signature is with a generator. An email signature generator can help you quickly make a professional looking signature in about half the time it would take you to manually add each individual component.

Just Sign is one of the quickest options I’ve seen. This email signature generator is ultra simple, ultra easy, and ultra effective. It allows you to add clickable social links, a profile picture or logo, and all relevant contact information. It also allows you to choose a color scheme and tailor the formatting a bit to your preferences. As you begin to add options to your signature, you can see a preview of what the final product will look like in the right-hand panel.

Just Sign welcome

This allows you to make any necessary changes before downloading the finished product. When you have your signature perfected, simply click the purple “generate signature” button and you’re ready to go.

Just Sign is an easy, quick way to check another thing off your to-do list while we’re all at home. If you have already updated your signature, you might save this link for later use as it’s a good idea to revisit your signature a few times a year. Oftentimes, I revise mine simply to keep the attached picture updated. Have you updated your signature lately? Do you plan to? Let us know what you think of Just Sign.

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Business Marketing

How one employer beat an age discrimination lawsuit

(BUSINESS MARKETING) Age discrimination is a rare occurrence but still something to be battled. It’s good practice to keep your house in order to be on the right side.



Jewel age discrimination

In January, the EEOC released its annual accounting for reports of discrimination in the previous year. Allegations of retaliation were the most frequently filed charge, which disability coming in second. Age discrimination cases accounted for 21.4% of filed charges. As we’ve reported before, not all age discrimination complaints rise to the level of illegal discrimination. In Cesario v. Jewel Food Stores, Inc., the federal court dismissed the claims of age discrimination, even though seven (7) plaintiffs made similar claims against the grocery store.

What Cesario v. Jewel Food Stores was about

In Cesario, all but one of the seven plaintiffs had spent years with Jewel Food building their careers. When Jewel went through some financial troubles, the plaintiffs allege that they began to “experience significant pressure at work… (and) were eventually forced out or terminated because of their age or disability.” Jewel Food requested summary judgment to dismiss the claims.

The seven plaintiffs made the same type of complaints. Beginning in 2014, store directors were under pressure to improve metrics and customer satisfaction. Cesario alleges that the Jewel district manager asked about his age. Another director alleges that younger store directors were transferred to stores with less difficulties. One plaintiff alleged that Jewel Food managers asked him about his retirement. The EEOC complaints began in late 2015. The plaintiffs retired or were fired and subsequently filed a lawsuit against their company.

Age discrimination is prohibited by the Age Discrimination in Employment Act of 1967, (ADEA). The ADEA prevents disparate treatment based on age for workers over 40 years old. However, plaintiffs who allege disparate treatment must establish that the adverse reactions wouldn’t have occurred but for age. Because none of the plaintiffs could specifically point to age as the only determination of their case, the court dismissed the case.

A word to wise businesses

Jewel Food was able to demonstrate their own actions in the case through careful documentation. Although there was no evidence that age played a factor in any discharge decision, Jewel Food could document their personnel decisions across the board. The plaintiffs also didn’t exhaust all administrative remedies. This led to the case being dropped.

Lesson learned – Make personnel decisions based on performance and evidence. Don’t use age as a factor. Keep documentation to support your decisions.

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