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Designing Duo Jerry Hooker and Jacob Sudhoff Tell You How to Stage Like a Star

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By Marene Gustin            

Jacob Sudhoff, president of Sudhoff Companies, which handles consulting, marketing, and sales for builders and developers, is a very busy man.

“I’ve been in real estate since I was in high school,” laughs the Corpus Christi native. He began showing homes for Hoffman International, and by the time he turned 18 and could get a Realtor license, he was ready to sell million-dollar homes on his own. When you’re that driven, there’s only one thing to do. Marry someone who’s just as ambitious.

Enter Jerry Hooker, a principal at Mirador Group, an architectural, interiors, and landscape firm. They met Christmas Day 2010 and were married in 2015 in Napa. “We don’t work for each other, we work with each other,” Sudhoff says.

Last year, they started a new company together, Mirador + Sudhoff Showcase Homes. They have finished and sold two million-dollar homes and have four more on deck. Sudhoff handles the marketing and finance, and Hooker the design of both the home and the furnishings and art. So what potential buyers see is a fully furnished home, and they can even purchase all the contents.

“We start at the beginning with the land,” says Hooker, “so it makes sense to see the project through to the end.

“I’ve toured countless staged properties where the décor and details don’t relate to the space or simply don’t feel warm, welcoming, or like a real home,” he explains. “Our goal is to take the generic and impersonal facets out of the equation with a curated collection of furniture, art, and accessories that not only fits the residence, but also creates a memorable environment.”

“Buyers are much more educated than they were in the past,” says Sudhoff. “They know brands and they are willing to pay more for quality.”

The couple love to travel, although even then they are always “on,” touring properties and collecting furniture, fixtures, and cabinetry wherever they go.

“So much staging is just poor, or they do only one room and not the entire house,” Hooker explains. “This will be a way to show a space that you can actually envision living in.”

And for those who aren’t quite ready to buy a home, he hopes people will come to see the décor and shop, whether it be for an original painting from Milan, an adornment from Marrakech, or a candle from an exclusive and hard-to-find line. They hold media events in the homes that are finished, and there are brochures detailing all the furnishings and art that can be purchased separately.

You may not want to sell off your artwork if you’re selling a home, but you can take a few pointers on how to stage a property from Hooker and Sudhoff.

“First, embrace the architecture,” Hooker says. Basically, if it’s a Tudor-style house, don’t decorate in early Spanish Mission. It just gets too confusing.”

And you know all those Realtors who tell you to take down anything personal? Maybe not.

“Resells that get the most money aren’t just beige and boring,” Hooker says. “You need some personality to the property—don’t take down all the family photos—you need to strike a balance so that it looks like a real home, not just an empty shell.”

And lastly, not everything needs to be updated in an older home in order to sell it.

“We bought a 1909 home on Courtlandt Place last year,” Hooker says. “Obviously, the appliances had to be updated, but in homes like this, you don’t rip out the walls or crown molding when you’re dealing with authentic artisan workmanship—that’s a selling point.”

“It’s a beautiful home,” says Sudhoff. “It’s where we want to raise our children, and we can’t wait to get back to the hood—all our friends are in Montrose.”

Right now the couple rent at the high-rise 2929 Weslyan where they live with their two dogs, Buddy and Bella, while the Courtlandt Place home is being renovated. It may not be finished until next spring, but they are already planning an addition to the family when they move in.

“We just picked out a fertility clinic,” says Sudhoff. “But it’s hard having a baby when you live on the 33rd floor.”

And as for the furnishings for the new home? Hooker is busy ordering custom-made furniture from Italy, and they are selecting artwork specifically for the historic manse.

“I’m so proud of Jerry,” Sudhoff says. “He just gets better and better at this. It will be a beautiful home.”

Marene Gustin is a regular contributor to OutSmart magazine.

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Marene Gustin

Marene Gustin has written about Texas culture, food, fashion, the arts, and Lone Star politics and crime for television, magazines, the web and newspapers nationwide, and worked in Houston politics for six years. Her freelance work has appeared in the Austin Chronicle, Austin-American Statesman, Houston Chronicle, Houston Press, Texas Monthly, Dance International, Dance Magazine, the Advocate, Prime Living, InTown magazine, OutSmart magazine and web sites CultureMap Houston and Austin, Eater Houston and Gayot.com, among others.
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