A few years ago, home design expert and real estate journalist Melissa Dittmann Tracey had a conundrum for home sales.

She and her husband both worked in the city of Chicago, 45 minutes from their suburban home. When they put the house up for sale, they had to figure out how to handle two lively dogs during exhibitions. Rushing home every time a buyer was interested in a tour was not practical. Nor was having a nanny on call — or fitting in their pets every day.

So Tracey came up with an ingenious solution.

She decided to stage her dogs by buying them matching sweaters and putting them behind a clear barrier in the laundry room.

“Every day before I left for work, I put up a sign in our house at the entrance,” says Tracey in the first episode from her new podcast, “The Housing Muse Podcast with Melissa Dittmann Tracey.” “The sign said ‘Welcome to our home. Excuse our barking. We’re Oscar and Bailey, and we’re thrilled to have you here.” ”

The Traceys received two offers on the house as a result of showings when the dogs were present.

“The Housing Muse Podcast” receives rave reviews on Apple Podcasts, and host Tracey – who is also the creator of the popular “Styled, Staged & Sold” blog and a regular contributor to REALTOR® Magazine – offers a wealth of tips for home staging for listeners.

Tracey also explores the hottest home design trends in the podcast. Recent highlights include paint choices inspired by the Roaring ’20s, multi-purpose furniture for the home office, and the latest options for kitchen countertops. And she takes a light-hearted look at some common DIY and design mistakes. Among the not-so-hot trends Tracey has picked out in recent episodes are millennial pink (especially in the bathroom) and “furry” chairs — faux sheepskin chairs that can be matted. As Tracey says in the episode titled “Top 10 Worst Home Design Trends, 2021 Edition”, “You should never, ever comb your chair.”

Culture Scan recently spoke with Melissa Dittmann Tracey and got the inside story on the popular podcast.

How did your love for home design and staging come about?

The Housing Muse Podcast

Over the years I’ve moved from coast to coast and places in between – all over the US I developed an appreciation for real estate and home design after watching home stagers in action transforming spaces. Often it is just a few adjustments, and it can make all the difference to a room! It really shows a house in its best light. Too bad some homeowners don’t see that until they’ve actually put their home on the market! I want to help homeowners appreciate their home more while they still live in it.

What is your experience as an editor and producer of “Hot or Not?” segment on NAR’s “Real Estate Today” radio show prepared you for your own podcast?

NAR’s “Real Estate Today” podcast and radio show is a fun weekly segment that offers a chance to put the latest home design trends to the test in a quiz-like format. White roofs – warm or not? Speckled Granite – Hot or Not? Velvet sofas – hot or not? My answers are based on what’s trending, taking into account input from home designers, consumer and remodeling surveys, and more. “The Housing Muse Podcast” is my chance to delve deeper into these topics and interview experts from across the housing industry.

You know what stings? When I hit a “Hot or Not?” episode and the host, Stephen Gasque, asks me about a trend I know I have in my own home — and then I have to say “not” (like speckled granite in the kitchen!). That is heavy. Anyway, I’m here to report on the trends; I don’t always follow them myself! Some are too much for me – wallpaper on the ceiling?! No chance!

What does your recording studio look like? Did you experience working from home problems while recording?

I staged my dog ​​in real estate...and it worked!

My home office, which is also my podcast studio, is light-filled with a large window, a crystal chandelier for some extra bling, a tropical plant (since I used to live in the desert), and a favorite piece of art I found in a boutique – rolled up music lyrics which were made into a wreath.

One of the biggest challenges when shooting from my home office is my dog ​​(yes, the dog I staged!). My dog ​​has separation anxiety, so when he’s not around me, he howls. So I just let him sleep at my feet while I was recording. Well, I was doing an interview for the podcast when he started snoring – loud! I tried to wake him up, but he didn’t flinch. So in one of the episodes – I won’t say which – you can hear a dog snoring faintly in the background!

You are known as the creator of the popular blog “Styled, Staged & Sold”. Can fans of the blog look forward to an extension of some of their favorite topics on “The Housing Muse Podcast?”

Yes definitely! I found that so many people wanted to reach out to me to talk more about the trends on the blog that I decided to start a podcast to do just that: talk about it.

One of my favorite podcast episodes was inspired by a recent “Styled, Staged & Sold” blog post, “4 Simple Ways to Show Off the Kitchen.” I had home stager and designer Krisztina Bell on “The Housing Muse Podcast” to talk more about these kitchen trends… is granite really getting a kick out? Will trendy gray or blue cabinets stand the test of time? The blog was the perfect place to showcase and showcase the trends, and the podcast gave me the chance to hear more from Krisztina about the staying power of these trends and their value from a real estate perspective.

What do you hope listeners get away with after streaming an episode of “The Housing Muse Podcast”?

I hope they can get new, practical ideas for their own home. Your home is a reflection of you. It can also be a valuable asset. So let’s make sure it looks good and isn’t outdated or overlooked. You don’t have to spend a fortune for it either.

“The Housing Muse Podcast” is an opportunity to share the “best of” stories and insights from the real estate and home design industry. And I hope that after each episode, you bring with you a new design idea, a new appreciation for your home, or a tip that will help you buy or sell smarter.

“The Housing Muse Podcast with Melissa Dittmann Tracey” is available on iTunes, lHeart, Spotify, Amazon, Audible, and Deezer.