by Cynthia Cummins

Cynthia is owner and founder of Kindred SF Homes and a top San Francisco Realtor. Check out RealEstateTherapy.org for refreshing reflections on the meaning of home and for more “best real estate advice (since 2013).

Reading time: 2 minutes and 30 seconds

“Please gag me with a huge silicone spatula,” I said to my friend and fellow Realtor as we emerged from a fancy house we’d toured together.

I said this:

  • Because a teaspoon (as in “gag me with a spoon” a la the 1982 Frank Zappa song Valley Girl) wouldn’t quite do the trick.
  • Because we’d just seen one of those gigantic, colorful KitchenAid countertop mixers on display in the fancy house’s kitchen. 
  • Because an extra-large spatula is required if you’re whipping up some cake batter in your Professional 5™ Plus Series 5 Quart Bowl-Lift Stand Mixer.

Only 4% of said mixer owners* actually use them and most of that minority don’t live in $5,000,000 homes. The mixers on display in multi-million-dollar properties are mainly for show. Or they’re a stand in for something the owner aspires or aspired to do or be. 

I’m not immune to the siren call of the KitchenAid pro mixer. It conjures a plethora of feelings and fantasies about my lives unlived. In this case, a life where I whistled away rainy Sunday afternoons while baking and decorating cookies with my two little sons. As a working mom/real estate agent, weekends were for open houses, come rain or come shine. So, alas, I can count on two hands the batches of cookies produced during those child-rearing, house-selling years.

Just the sight of the pro mixer stirs the slurry of regret that lingers at the bottom of my heart: A yearning to return to the ephemeral years of my boys’ childhoods. Remorse over the time spent earning a living vs. hanging with my progeny. Jealousy at stay-at-home mom friends who not only used the mixer and baked the cakes but invited my kids over to help ice them. Resentment at the stager who decided the candy apple red KitchenAid mixer was just the thing to capture the buying audience’s attention.

Clever stager! Evoking emotions in the target audience is the primary aim of staging. I understand its efficacy and I recommend it to every selling client. Yet I simultaneously am annoyed by it – especially when they include the mixer in the arsenal. It’s just one of many powerful weapons.

Witness the staging in the fancy house that made me want to gag: The cafe table with tea set for two on the front sidewalk. The antique hobby horse in one child’s room. The teensy weensy drum kit in the other kid’s room. The pair of high heels tossed on the faux sheepskin rug in the primary bedroom. The gardening trowel and gloves draped on the deck rail next to a glass of lemonade. The fictional grocery list written in chalk on a blackboard in the mud room.

AND the stupid KitchenAid mixer – prompting a sad trip down memory lane.

You see, I owned an earlier iteration of that very item and it sat on my kitchen countertop for a decade. I used it maybe six times, but almost every other day I told myself, “I need to bake something with the kids using that KitchenAid Pro.” 

Should I be so lucky as to one day have grandchildren, I promise to make good on that old promise. If I do, I bet I can find a never-been-used mixer for sale at a deep discount on Craigslist. Or I’ll ask my favorite stagers if they have an extra one lurking in their warehouse. 

(*I made up the statistc about 4% of mixer owners.)

Photo Credit: Kolby Milton

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