Author Archives: Kelly Zabel

About Kelly Zabel

Kelly Zabel is an award-winning stager, recognized nationally by the Real Estate Staging Association in 2021 as the Best Rising Star Home Stager of the Year and in 2020 as a Top 10 Rising Star Home Stager of the Year for Vacant Properties in USA and Canada. Whether new construction, remodeled, or in its original beauty, Kelly knows how difficult it is for potential buyers to imagine a home when viewing a vacant property. She loves taking an empty room, filling it with personality and comfort, and showcasing how homeowners could actually live in that space. Her natural eye for layout and design helps highlight the potential of any space.

Summer in Minnesota – So much to do, so little time!

Epic Minnesota Summer Getaways - Mpls.St.Paul Magazine

Mpls St Paul Magazine

If you live in Minnesota, you know summer is swift and special, and there’s so much pressure to embrace the season! Each weekend is filled with community festivals, art fairs, movies and music in the park, and more! Our family tries to balance rest and simple play at home with fun outings for all. Is there anything more fun than popsicles and a sprinkler in the backyard? Even as an adult it’s one of my favorite past times! If you are looking to get out and explore the wonderful communities we have here in Minnesota, here are a few, fun activities this season:

Music & Movies in the Park - Visit Twin Cities

Visit Twin Cities

Music & Movies in the Park

Grab your picnic blanket, bug spray and PB&Js and spend the evening listening to music or watching films outside!

2023 Art Fair Homepage - 50th & France Business and Professional Association

Edina Art Fair

Art Fairs

Decorate your new home with beautiful, unique pieces from local artists.

Minnesota Zoo Treetop Trail sets opening date this summer

Pioneer Press

MN Zoo

Spend many days experiencing the new and improved activities at the Minnesota Zoo!

Wheel Fun Rentals Minnesota | Wheel Fun Rentals

Wheels of Fun

Water Play

It wouldn’t be a Minnesota summer without a swim in a lake!

Steamboat Days | Explore Minnesota

Explore Minnesota

Community Celebrations

Towns throughout the state celebrate their heritage and traditions with community festivals and celebrations. These often include parades, fireworks, concerts, art and more!

Sue Z.'s Picks: Wellness at the St. Paul Farmers Market | Minnesota Monthly

Minnesota Monthly

Farmer’s Markets

Throughout the summer months, support local farmers by doing your shopping at a local Farmer’s market. Our family loves to buy tomatillos, tomatoes, poblanos, cilantro and make homemade salsa! Our kiddos loves visiting the market to pick out fresh flowers and dance to the live music. Everyone has a blast!


Guest Blogger: Katya Larsen, Stager, A Home Revival

Finding Community, Finding Home

When looking for a new home, we often focus on the house itself: four bedrooms, two bathrooms, large kitchen, two car garage, two fireplaces, move-in-ready. Whatever our hopes and needs, we often focus more on the building and sometimes forget to consider the community we’ll be joining. Perhaps a few imperfections in a home could be overlooked if the neighborhood or town is just right. Maybe having neighbors that fit your age and stage in life make it worth losing out on that extra garage stall. Today’s post will share a few things to consider regarding community when searching for your next home!

City Services

When choosing what town to live in, you may want to consider what the city has to offer and how they spend taxpayer dollars. For example, Saint Louis Park offers a free compost bin and pickup service, along with a year’s supply of compost bags, to all residents. They also have a pothole hotline where citizens can report potholes and the city will respond quickly to fill the hole! Other services could include city grants for energy efficiency and global warming mitigation efforts, community gardens, citywide swap meets, street sweeping, mosquito treatment and more.

Home - Excelsior Christkindlsmarkt

Excelsior Christmas

Public Amenities

Whether raising a young family or looking to settle down for retirement, discover what your town has to offer for fun and entertainment. Many small towns in Minnesota are reviving their downtown areas and creating idyllic experiences for communities. For example, Excelsior, MN has incredible restaurants, vintage shops, a classic, tiny movie theater, an ice cream shop, a brewery and more on Main Street. There is something for everyone in downtown Excelsior, including a playground, beach and plenty of beautiful shoreline for a picnic! They host one of the best 4th of July parties around, including fireworks and a parade. During the winter, they provide a European Christmas Market experience downtown, with plenty of opportunity to meet Santa and his Reindeer. What are you looking for in a town? Do you want walkability? Bikeability? Access to fine dining and a busy weekend calendar? Or are you looking for a quiet neighborhood and a nearby Target and Costco? Maybe its all of the above! Whatever it is you’re searching for, cities are becoming evermore intentional about the experiences they offer for their citizens.

Lebanon Hills Regional Park In Minnesota Is Beautiful In Every Season

Only in Your State

Green Space

Depending on your level of love for nature, and your ability to have your own yard, the amount of green available in a town may be an important consideration! Worthington, MN, a small town on the southwest side of the state, focuses on community wellness boasting over 20 parks, including bike trails throughout. Other communities, like Eden Prairie, are home to natural lakes like Round Lake Park and Beach, which is a family-friendly mix of natural shoreline for sand and water play, as well as playgrounds, a splashpad and sport courts! If you’re a hiker but want to be close to a big city, you might just fall in love with Eagan, home to Lebanon Hills Regional Park, a massive park filled with trails, campsites, mountain biking, lakes and more. Minneapolis is known as the City of Lakes and is brimming with trees, water and natural beauty, amidst the concrete! Explore if your new community offers outdoor adventure right in your own backyard!

7,200+ Neighbors Illustrations, Royalty-Free Vector Graphics & Clip Art - iStock | Neighborhood, Neighbors talking, Community

Istock Photos


When my family and I moved to our neighborhood, we couldn’t have imagined the joy and support our neighbors would bring us. We are surrounded by young families whose kids can romp and play. We started a mom’s group that meets once a month to share stories and commiserate over the joys and hardships of parenting. We have a few elderly neighbors that have lived in their homes for over 50 years, and the surrounding families are sure to care for them, help with whatever they need, and ensure they aren’t lonely. I never knew just how lovely it could be to actually have neighbors who share sugar when you’re out, or pop over to sit with your kids when you have to run out quick. It might be worth driving through neighborhoods and getting a feel of who lives there and how they do life with one another. I even knew a family that toured neighborhoods in a community for months, waiting for the right home to go on sale, based on the interactions they saw in the neighborhoods! Find your people, live near them, it will make a difference!

Why kids need a strong network of supportive adults, and how to build that tribe - The Washington Post

Washington Post

Schools, Healthcare and other forms of Access

I listened to a scientist give a speech recently on how much influence parents actually have on how their kids turn out as adults, and it turns out it’s not very much! A lot of who you are is determined by your genetics, but the other factor that was pivotal to the development of a person is where they live. The researcher shared that the schools, healthcare, services and adults surrounding your child is the other, largest influence on who your kid becomes. Community  matters! Even if you aren’t raising young children, accessibility matters. Do you have a mobility service available if you need support getting around town. Are their age specific communities you can be a part of that offer additional services for aging adults. Is there an active adult community in the city — rec leagues, festivals, volunteer opportunities and more? Consider your needs and wants beyond the four walls of your home!

What do you love about your community? Did you know what you wanted or would appreciate before moving there? Share you tips, tricks and thoughts at!

Guest Blogger: Katya Larsen, Stager, A Home Revival

April Showers Bring Staging Flowers!

It’s almost May here in Minnesota, and that means we are crossing our fingers and toes hoping that spring, and the beauty it brings, will be arriving soon! There is nothing better than the blooms of a magnolia tree, the bright colors of tulips and daffodils emerging once again, or the sweet smell of lilacs in the breeze. Close your eyes: imagine the scent, the joy, the warmth a fresh bouquet of flowers brings!

When staging a home, or during a staging consult, we suggest using plants and flowers to bring additional color and life to a home. It is a simple, lower cost way to add color, texture and freshness to a home.  Consider these basic methods for sourcing and displaying greenery in your home.

Trader Joe’s is A Home Revival staff favorite for sourcing fresh flowers and house plants. They have a variety of sizes and styles of plants and flowers, and tend to have a reasonable price point! A few ideas for Trader Joe’s greens:

  • Grab some baby blue eucalyptus and baby’s breath, toss them in a simple, neutral vase, and you have yourself a centerpiece that will last for weeks! Center it on the dining table, an entryway credenza, or on the dresser of the primary bedroom.
  • Take home a few succulents to stage bathrooms. Set small succulents in the corner of the vanity along with a candle or soap pump for a fresh, spa-like effect!

Treat Yourself to Fresh Flowers - The Purple Hydrangea

The Purple Hydrangea

  • Toss a mixed bouquet of bright, fresh flowers in your cart and use as a focal point in the kitchen or dining room during your home photo session! A fresh bouquet is also a nice touch for showings, but should be replaced when blooms begin to wilt. Bonus? They smell great without the overpowering effects of fresheners and spray (which we do not recommend using for showings).
  • Use a variety of house plants on coffee tables, nightstands, sunrooms, etc. to add interest and livability to the home. Plants tend to reduce stress and increase creativity, just what a potential homebuyer needs to envision their new life in your property!

Maybe you’re not into live plants, I get it! For vacant staging, we use artificial plants and stems for the sake of maintenance and longevity. A few favorite spots for faux plants:

Ikea – low price point, good variety of plants and stems, and cute pots and baskets to boot!

FEJKA Artificial potted plant, indoor/outdoor/lavender lilac, 4 ¾ "

World Market – great for artificial trees and larger house plants.

Target – wide variety of styles and price points available.

Medium Ribbon Fern Leaf in Pot - Threshold™ designed with Studio McGee, image 2 of 10 slides

Nearly Natural – an online retailer that has mastered the art of the faux plant. At a higher price point, this is a great option for investing in faux greenery you can incorporate into the design of your new home.

spring captions when in doubt add flowers

Good Housekeeping

When deciding whether or not to incorporate greenery in your staging design, just remember, plants are lean, mean, selling machines! They are one of the simplest, low cost ways to freshen and brighten a space. Not up for the effort of purchasing and placing plants? No problem! You can always reach out to us to do the heavy lifting with an occupied or vacant stage of your home.


Guest Blogger: Katya Larsen, Stager, A Home Revival