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Former Cobber, Red River grad to host TLC home staging show

A 1986 Grand Forks Red River High School graduate will soon host her own show on the TLC cable network.

Lisa Lynch, whose last name was Waddell while in Grand Forks, will take to the airwaves on "Stager Invasion," premiering at 7 p.m. today (Channel 32 in Fargo-Moorhead). The show features Lynch and her team as they help stage homes, which she described in an online video as "undecorating."

Basically, stagers rearrange existing furniture or bring in new items for homes on the market, make sure the arrangements clearly show buyers what each room is used for and make the rooms feel spacious. They also make sure the home is a neutral space so it won't lose potential buyers, Lynch said, which can be hard for the seller.

"I have to give them the bad news," she told the Herald. "But most of the time after it gets done and it's staged, they end up liking it a lot. Sometimes they say I like it so much, they say, 'I don't want to move now!' "

From Grand Forks to Los Angeles

Lynch lived in western New York until she moved with her mother to Grand Forks in the eighth grade. She was involved in the theater department at Red River, performing in "West Side Story," "Pippin," "Death of a Salesman" and "Equus," and said the creative things she got to do have stuck with her through the years.

"That was a big part of my happiest times in high school, was being in choir and theater," she said. "Those are, like, my favorite memories."

She liked to hang out at Whitey's ("the old Whitey's," she said), and still gets back to Grand Forks every couple of years to spend time with old friends. But Lynch does have a preference of when she visits.

"I like to go back always when it's summer because it's so beautiful except for the mosquitoes," she said. "I'm scarred for life by the winters."

After high school, Lynch attended Concordia College as an art and communications major. She worked in sales in Minneapolis for a while, but in 1998 had a "pre-midlife crisis" and decided to make the move to California.

Once on the West Coast, she did some acting work, mostly in commercials, and also worked as a real estate agent. It was her real estate work that helped her decide to start a home staging business about four and a half years ago.

"I saw that how people presented their home could make or break whether it sold or not," she said. "I always enjoyed helping my clients listing their home get it kind of spruced up. Then it was a natural progression for me to move from being an agent to being a stager."

Landing a TV show

Lynch said she always had an "obsession" for rearranging furniture, even if she was just watching a movie at a friend's place.

"I'd be thinking about where I wanted to move their couch and rearrange their room," she said. "It's just always been something that I've had in my blood."

When she found out a neighbor had hired a professional stager and realized it could be a full-time job, she made the switch. Lynch said it's a fulfilling job for her because it's the perfect balance of doing what she loves and earning a living.

"I felt like it would be a good way to make a living but also that I knew would bring me a lot of happiness and help other people," she said. "It feels like I'm doing what I'm supposed to be doing on this planet."

Her obsession doesn't stop when she's done with the workday, either - she said she's always changing her pillows or painting a wall a different color, and switches her house around about once a month.

Last year, a neighbor told her about an ad looking for someone with acting and home staging experience. She auditioned for the part and found out in January that she was chosen as the host of "Stager Invasion."

Lynch said she isn't too nervous about the gig. "There's a whole team of people that I bring on board every time I stage a house that makes it really fun and interesting," she said. "It's not really so much about acting; it's more like I'm just doing my job and there happens to be cameras here."