Interior Designer Cheryl Eisen Reveals What It Takes To Stage Homes For Celebs – EXCLUSIVE
Do your friends tell you you're "celeb obsessed"? Do you follow your favorite celebs' every move? Know their Instagram histories so well that you can rattle off their inner circle by name and IG handle? If yes, Elite Daily's new series, SideClique, is just for you. We're bringing you everything you've ever wanted to know about the people living their lives right alongside our favorite celebs.
I am obsessed with Cheryl Eisen's Instagram account. As the CEO of Interior Marketing Group in New York City, Eisen makes a living by staging luxury homes for a seriously A-list clientele. Her star-studded roster includes everyone from Fredrik Eklund and Chrissy Teigen to Zayn Malik and Kimye, so scrolling through her IG feed is like taking an aspirational journey into the luxe life. I'm not at all jealous, except that I totally am. I mean, can you even imagine what it's like being Kim Kardashian's interior designer?
Like, does Keeks gift you with samples of KKW Beauty? Do you get an invite to the annual Kardashian Christmas party or Kanye's Sunday Service? I need answers. But I'm getting ahead of myself here. Because the first thing I wanna know is how on earth this real estate agent-turned-designer scored such a glam gig.
It turns out, staging gorgeous homes wasn't something Eisen ever dreamed of doing.
"I was into art," she says to Elite Daily. "I used to paint pictures, but that was the extent of how creative I was. I just happen to have a good eye for spacial placement and an understanding of how people want to live. When I was selling real estate, I watched what buyers would gravitate towards and what they would reject, and it helped me hone my design skills accordingly."
About 10 years ago, Eisen started staging her listings and found that they sold more quickly. "At that time, it was a very rare art form," she explains. "As I started becoming successful, other brokers and sellers took note and asked if I would stage their listings, as well. It very quickly became the main focus of my business, and eventually I just stopped selling real estate altogether. After about two years, I incorporated and launched my business."
A lucky break came Eisen's way in 2010 when she convinced Million Dollar Listing's Fredrik Eklund to let her stage one of his properties.
"It was this really cool bachelor pad that wasn’t selling," she recalls. "So I said, 'Let's do this in a James Bond sort of a vibe. Ten days after Eisen staged the place, Eklund called to tell her that not only had the property sold, but it went in a bidding war at the first open house. Oh, and the buyer? Mr. 007 himself — actor Daniel Craig.
In 2016, Eisen got to design a $10,000-a-night Airbnb penthouse in New York City for Kim Kardashian.
"Kim was coming to NYC with her kids, and we had, like, two days to get it ready for them," Eisen says. "It was a standard listing, and we came in and totally made it 'Kim-worthy.' She was on FaceTime, sort of directing everything from what was on the shelves to what color the bedding should be."
Eisen admits that Kardashian's involvement in the project was pretty unexpected. "Usually, we work with a lot of handlers, so I was surprised they got her on FaceTime to show her everything," she says. "She had great minimalist taste and wanted it pared down. She also specifically asked for a playroom for her kids, so we put in a teepee and a little drawing table. And one bedroom was fully dedicated to clothing."
Of course it was.
In 2018, Eisen designed a three-bedroom penthouse in Nolita that ended up being purchased by another glam power couple — Chrissy Teigen and John Legend.
"We designed that loft and they bought it exactly as is and moved right in," Eisen explains. "They bought every piece of everything. It’s really cool when that happens. We basically nailed their exact design, I guess, and they loved it – art and everything."
That same year, she also staged Keith Richards' New York penthouse.
"It was white and plain and had zero personality," she recalls. "We had the opportunity to infuse his rock-and-roll brand into it. Being able to take risks was super fun. We did cool guitars in the corner, music-related artwork, weird hand chairs, and a 70s barroom kind of a thing."
Eisen seems to have really mastered the celeb luxe aesthetic. If you want to replicate it, she suggests starting with a monochromatic color palette. "The way you make it look not bland and cold is to layer it with texture," she explains. "So you have an ecru velvet sofa, grasscloth wallpaper, and white flowy drapes. And you don’t have to spend a lot of money to make those things happen."
The quickest and easiest way to inject personality in a room, she says, is to start with a neutral set up, then go to a vintage store and get one piece that has a lot of personality.
"One interesting piece, one conversation piece, something sculptural, something different — it just makes a home feel authentic," she says. "I love a hand chair, but it could even be a walnut credenza or a giant baroque mirror."
Of course, staging apartments for the rich and famous is not all fun and glam.
"Very little of it is glamorous," Eisen explains. "There are scorching hot days in the warehouse when I’m moving furniture, or I'm moving furniture in the dead of winter into a place that has no heat. I’m wearing a hard hat and boots on construction sites that are completely dust-filled. This is the daily grind."
Even so, Eisen says she wouldn't trade it.
"It’s the most fun job," she says. "I always thought I’d be an artist or an animal activist, but if I had never gone into real estate, this is something I never would have realized I was good at. It was a weird path to get here, but it’s very cool and really exciting."