Buying a new home comes with a lot of firsts, and some of those fall into the category of “furniture,” especially if some (or a lot) of your existing furniture doesn’t work in the new space. 

Art is another one of those categories. And most of us would appreciate some help in that department, unless we personally know an artist or interior designer who can create or commission pieces that fit our new home perfectly. 

If you’ve ever walked into a place and marveled at all the details added by a skilled and intuitive designer—so good you just have to take a moment and soak it all in—you know what I mean. The residences at 66 High Street in Connecticut are a prime example. 

So, what if you walked into a property showing that also gave you a chance to buy some carefully chosen art and furniture that look like they were made with that home in mind?

That’s what luxury homebuyers can expect with Paul Lester, a partner in real estate firm The Agency, who has made it his mandate to elevate the home tour experience for potential buyers. 

He does that by featuring “significant” work by contemporary artists, as well as designer furniture, in the upscale properties he’s listing. Buyers viewing one of those properties have the opportunity to buy the art and furniture included—as a whole, room-by-room, or piece-by-piece.

Imagine going on a home tour, loving how a particular room or rooms are furnished, being able to say, “I want this house. And I love the living room, including the furniture and art. Can I buy those, too?” and hearing, “Yes, you can!” 

And just like that, your new home could be fully furnished, decorated, and ready for company!  

Not only that, but depending on the market value of the art in each home, the buyer of each will come away with an investment within an investment, multiplying their potential for future gains. 

Meanwhile, skilled artists from all over the world get more eyes on their work and more opportunities to enhance people’s homes—and investment portfolios—with art collections that will grow in value. 

CNBC has all the details. 

“Attention homebuyers—and art collectors”

When Paul Lester first joined The Agency in Los Angeles, he took it upon himself to organize a Beverly Hills property viewing that was also an art opening, attracting both high-end homebuyers and discerning art collectors. 

Individual works of art sold, some to the homebuyer and some to those only interested in the art. The properties sold, too—for a premium. 

As Lester told CNBC during a phone interview— 

We were successful in selling the house I would say for more of a valued number than you might expect, because the entire package was seen as elevated.

Paul Lester

Los Angeles Realtor with The Agency

That was over a decade ago. Since then, Lester has added designer furniture to the items available for purchase. 

The Houses at 8899 Beverly

Lester is currently selling several newly-built high-end homes in Beverly Hills—known simply as The Houses at 8899 Beverly—designed by architecture firm Olson Kundig. 

The homes start at around $5 million, and for a handful of them, Lester has already curated a “full collection” of art pieces, which homebuyers will have the option to purchase along with the home.  

After all, why add furniture and art simply as “staging” pieces if you can collaborate with artists and designers to create a whole look the ideal buyer will fall in love with?

It helps that “turnkey” properties—i.e., homes that are move-in ready—have become more popular with buyers. But rather than add generic furniture and accessories, The Agency collaborated with Creative Art Partners to outfit each home with pieces from a variety of artists, including arts director Michelle Mary Lee and British sculptor and painter Irvin Pascal. 

We do see people more than not right now — especially with new construction — wanting an entire package that works well. There have been circumstances where people walk in and say “I want this room … I’ll take the furniture and I’ll take the art. I absolutely love it this way and is that possible?” And we’re able to say “Yes it is.”

Paul Lester

Los Angeles Realtor with The Agency

The art of balancing mass appeal with discerning taste

Lester also works with art consultancy Artelier, which supplies high-end art for real estate projects in the U.S., the U.K., and the Middle East. 

According to what Artelier founder David Knowles shared with CNBC, “the trick with choosing artwork for such properties is to make sure it works well with their interiors.”

It’s hard to get a kind of uniqueness and a character across if what they’re selling is a turnkey project, because the…art has got to appeal to a wide audience. The art needs to feel like it belongs there.

David Knowles

Founder of art consultancy Artelier

To accomplish this, Artelier will go one of two routes: 

  1. Commission art pieces with a connection to the area in which the home is located
  2. Have artists create pieces that precisely fit the dimensions of the spaces they will occupy

As Knowles points out, this often works better than borrowing art from a gallery to display in a given home temporarily. If the buyer loves the art but doesn’t have the option of buying it, they’re left disappointed—and a bit less favorably disposed toward the home they’re touring. 

Lester’s team discusses whether the art they choose for a home should match its overall design and color scheme or contrast with it. For a monochrome interior, for example, they might go with a more colorful palette to add visual interest. 

Sometimes, the art is commissioned; other times, Lester will contact a number of artists and ask whether they have any pieces available in a particular size and color. 

For its part, Artelier has sourced works of art to grace the walls of some of the world’s most notable luxury addresses, including— 

  • London’s One Hyde Park
  • The residences at the Dorchester’s One at Palm development in Dubai
  • An apartment within Eighty Seven Park, an oval-shaped Miami beachfront building designed by Renzo Piano

Read the full article on CNBC for more details.