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Best Staged Plans

3.42 of 5 stars 3.42  ·  rating details  ·  1,410 ratings  ·  258 reviews

As a professional home stager, Sandy Sullivan is an expert at transforming cluttered rooms into attractive houses ready for sale. If only reinventing her life were as easy as choosing the perfect paint color. She's eager to put her family's suburban Boston home on the market, to downsize, and to simplify her own life. But she must first deal with her foot-dragging husband

Hardcover, 256 pages
Published June 7th 2011 by Hyperion (first published January 1st 2011)
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49th out of 220 books — 164 voters
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337th out of 495 books — 612 voters

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Community Reviews

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Loved this book!!!!!!!!!
Not so much the story but the witty tips and trader joe secrets ;)
Carolyn West
I was fortunate that Claire Cook let me read her book prior to it's June 7th release date. As an aspiring writer myself, I love finding an author who reads like I think. If I could write a book, I would want it to sound like a Claire Cook book.

So I'm sitting in my bedroom reading and I'm getting kind of creeped out because it was as if I was reading about my life. How on earth did Claire know so much about me? The main character of the story is Sandy, a middle-age home stager. Me? I'm Carolyn, a
Barbara Sissel
I read this book last fall and have been meaning to review it ever since. The title says so much. Who hasn’t had a best-staged plan? In Sandy Sullivan’s case, best staged can be taken literally. Sandy’s a professional home stager, an expert on interior design. That intrigued me. It’s something I can imagine myself doing, but what hooked me was the opening scene, where Sandy has accidently wrapped her reading glasses in with a package she mailed. That’s something I can see myself doing too, to my ...more
Claire Cook saw into my soul, pulled my life out of the air and wrote it down in page after page of uncanny insight. Each person in the storyline is someone I already know and, with a couple changes here and there, Sandy could be me.

Best Staged Plans is about professional home stager Sandy Sullivan, a married, mid-life, empty-nester, mother of 2. We have son Luke, who has no reason to leave home since his job is computer portable, so turns the basement into his personal fortress, and daughter,
With her typical humorous outlook on the everyday things in life, Claire Cook introduces us to Sandi Sullivan. Sandi stages homes in the hopes of getting them sold. This also branches out to helping people stage homes that they are going to stay in.

Sandi's husband is now retired and spends his days playing tennis and running. Sandi's son lives in the basement, which she refers to as the "bat cave". They have decided that it is time to sell their huge, old home and move on but don't know where t
Claire Cook is back with another gift for beach readers and book clubs everywhere--Best Staged Plans. This is a fun romp involving a woman trying to get her nest emptied and sold so that she and her husband can start their next stage of life (whatever that may be). Unfortunately, the son in the basement and the husband on the tennis court aren't really helping with the project. Sandy is a professional home stager (the person who pretties up a home to help it sell), but she just can't get her own ...more
This was a great short story to read. I did enjoy it but there really wasn't anything that captured my attention to not be able to put it down. We have a woman that stages other people's homes but can't seem to stange her own life. Annoyed with her husband's lack of motivation to put their house on the market she takes a job out of town and leaves. While staging a boutique hotel she finds her best friend's boyfriend cheating and a homeless woman that she takes under her wing to help. This is pre ...more
Helen Gaye Brewster
Sandy Sullivan lives in an old Victorian near Boston with her retired husband and adult son who creates computer games. Her married daughter lives in Atlanta. As Sandy stages homes for sale, she wants to put her own home up for sale and begin a new life of adventure with her husband. But, her husband is dragging his feet on getting their home ready to go on the market, and her son shows no sign of wanting to move out. So, Sandy accepts a job in Atlanta staging a hotel owned by her best friend's ...more
Anita Johnson
I enjoyed this very real sounding account of a woman who is frustrated by her family's lack of cooperation in getting their home ready to put on the market. She has a career as a stager and is constantly learning that you can change a room to be what you envision a whole lot more easily than you can a person. Claire Cook always shares her humor with the reader while focusing on some real life issues.
Jun 11, 2012 Jean rated it 4 of 5 stars
Shelves: kindle
Met Claire Cook at an author event on June 7, 2012. She is as warm and charming as her books. Definitely recommend her work for a light but heartfelt summer read.
Another great book by Claire Cook. Amazing how it always seems I'm reading about me in her books.
Judy Collins
As usual, enjoyed Claire Cook’s humor, her rich characters, and home staging was delightful, since I am a home stager and a marketing consultant for boutique hotels, and best of all centered in Atlanta Midtown) where I lived most of my life!

Loved the interior design and gourmet tips, as well as the quick wit of Sandy and her best friend Denise. The banter between mother and daughter and son in law was so much fun. Best of all was Sandy taking Naomi under her wing and saving her life.

Would highl
This was a kind of fun, light, mildly humorous, but shallow beach read, set in Boston by the shore and in Atlanta. Sandy's kids are grown (although one has moved back home after college to the basement, or "bat cave") and she's looking to downsize her home and belongings. She's a home stager and is looking to apply her techniques to her own big Victorian house to get it ready for sale, even if she has to strongarm her overly laid back, retired husband and apathetic son into it. She's a Type A, s ...more
I have been anticipating all the new summer" Beach Reads", this summer. I can't wait to dive into each of them. Claire Cook's, Best Staged Plans is one of them. I recieved the ARC. I don't read chick lit most of the time. I reserve them mostly for the summer, and when I finish school, or what to read something that you don't have to think.

Best Staged Plans, are about Sandy, and her husband Greg living in the suburbs of Boston. Their young adult son still lives with them in the "bat cave". They a
Well, I like a nice cozy book, just right for reading when life is more difficult than usual, but I got much more than I imagined possible in Best Staged Plans. I can thank Claire Cook for her gentle prods to actually see homeless persons -- and there are two men, drinking on the street in the cold Washington DC drizzle, that can thank her as well.

As I was negotiating the rain, the closing pharmacy, no parking and people jaywalking in the dark rainy night, two guys in the next doorway pointed o
Best Staged Plans is Claire Cook's best book yet. Sandra Sullivan stages homes for a living but her own life is badly in need of staging. Her husband is retired but is so busy playing tennis and running that he hasn't had time to help her get their house ready to sell. And her son lives in their basement busy with his new girlfriend. So she gives them an ultimatum "Get it done or I'm gone". Lucky for her an offer comes up that she just can't refuse. Her BFF's current beau has just bought a hotel ...more
If life is a stage, and it's all about presentation, Sandra Sullivan is an expert. Especially in a tough real estate market, when "staging a home" for sale is extremely important.

Too bad that reinventing one's own life is not nearly as easy.

Just when Sandra thinks that she and her husband can finally sell their huge Victorian home and move somewhere simpler for the next chapter of their lives, she meets one obstacle after another. First, her husband and grown son would rather play and procrastin
Stacie Hammond Evers
I really enjoyed this an avid HGTV fan...I LOVED the references to home decorating, staging, etc... This is a great story about 'what comes next...' are we to grow old and stagnant and stop shaving our legs while our children grow up to do things that we marvel at? NO! Says Sandy... get out there! Sell the house, travel, live life and enjoy those years! Love it!

My favorite parts...the 'readers!' Love this! Such wonderfully drawn characters...ponytail guy (can just feel him grunting an
Even if I don't like the author, but I know the books are easy, I'll pick it up. That was the case with this one. From the same author of "Must Love Dogs" (kill me now) comes another lame-ish story! An "I'm cool" older women with grown children and a loving husband acts all quirky. HILARIOUS! Just so not for me at this time in my life.

Anyway. Woman has a staging business, where she cleans up and stages houses that are for sale. A decent, but totally 'burb-type job. She lives in the Northeast (Bo
Michelle Robinson
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Pamela Kramer
Best Staged Plans by Claire Cook is a novel that's about finding out what is important in life (tips for staging one's home and clearing out clutter are also included).

Sandy and her husband have raised their two children and are ready for a new stage in their lives. At least, Sandy is. Frustrated with her husband, who is procrastinating about getting their lovely Victorian home in the Boston suburbs in perfect shape to sell, and about her grown son living in their basement, she takes a staging j
As soon as I started reading The Best Staged Plans, I knew that I was going to love this book! This is the first book that I have read from author Claire Cook, and she didn't leave me disappointed. The way she setup the storyline with characters such as Sandy and Denise makes it so easy to relate to them, it's as if Ms. Cook had been looking into my life! I found myself laughing so hard throughout the book, it made it really hard to put the book down, I just had to finish reading it! Sandy's int ...more
4.5 stars - reviewed for

Best Staged Plans is Claire Cook’s delightful and entertaining new novel! This book is simply one of the most relatable stories I have ever read. The characters are realistic, down to earth, everyday people that I felt I could be friends with. They reminded me of neighbors and family. The novel has a very natural feel to it. It is evident that Claire did her homework with this novel.

The story takes place in the Northeast and the Sou
Colleen Turner
This review originally posted at

Best Staged Plans was an entertaining exploration of a woman going through her very own “mid life crisis”. Regardless of whether you personally have made it to this stage in life or not, everyone can relate to coming to a crossroads and feeling the urge to change those things which we interpret as stagnant. For Sandy this is her home, her life, possibly even her husband. If I only had one word to describe Sandy it would be “determined”!

For m
Sandy Sullivan has accidentally wrapped up her favourite pair of reading glasses and has no idea which box they are in, if any. Maybe they have only become waylaid in this packing nightmare. Sandy is packing up her and husband Luke’s long-time Boston home and moving into a smaller place so they can down-size.

Sandy loves her job as a professional home stager and is thrilled when she lands a contract to stage a boutique hotel in Atlanta. Her daughter, Shannon, and her husband, Chance, live in Atl
Lydia Laceby
Originally Reviewed at Novel Escapes

I really enjoyed this novel. It was easy to read with warm characters, snappy dialogue and a story line I found interesting and somehow relatable, even without having any knowledge or experience with empty nest syndrome.

I loved Sandy’s character. She was warm and funny and never takes herself too seriously, which always leads to humorous situations. Even with not being a huge fan of TV design shows, I found her career interesting and liked the home decorating
Sandy Sullivan can easily “stage” a home, transforming its décor into appealing rooms which more quickly sell houses. Her problem, (a mid-life crisis?), seems to be that she cannot transform her own life in a direction she would like to go. Her retired husband cannot be motivated to update their own home for sale; her grown son has career trouble and has moved back into their lives. In order to get away from a home situation that she feels has stagnated, she accepts a job to renovate a hotel tha ...more
Pam Barton

I can always count on Claire Cook to get my summer reading off to a good start and Best Staged Plans did that again for me this summer. Sandy Sullivan stages houses, (gets houses ready for selling). As she looks toward retiring herself, she wants to get her house in order and gets frustrated with her family because she seems to be the only one who wants to get the house in Boston ready for selling. Getting frustrated with everything she takes a job in Atlanta to stage a new hotel for her best f
Claire Cook has written a funny, warm, entertaining book that is a perfect summer read. It is the story of Sandy Sullivan, a home stager who works at getting client's homes ready to sell. She declutters, organizes and freshens homes up to look there best. We find out that she is also getting ready to sell her own home that she shares with her tennis playing husband and her son, who has recently finished college and lives in the basement. Sandy is the only one in a hurry to get things ready and b ...more
Julie Barrett
best staged plans by claire cook
Great memory book. This woman is telling others what they need to do to sell their house. She tries to impleemnt the same thing in her house so
her 20+ yo son and her husband will help with the manual labor and get their house ready to sell or she's leaving.
She has things in her junk drawer that I also remeber having: mood ring-and she knew what all the colors meant. This is a hilarious book at times
and a serious one at times. Maps that are more uptodate online, ga
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Reinvention is the story of my books and my life. I wrote my first novel in my minivan at 45. At 50, I walked the red carpet at the Hollywood premiere of the adaptation of my second novel, Must Love Dogs, starring Diane Lane and John Cusack.

I’ve just reinvented myself again by writing my first nonfiction book, Never Too Late, to share everything I’ve learned on my own journey that might help you
More about Claire Cook...
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“What do I want? What kind of question is that? I want what everybody wants. I want someone who has my back. I want someone's name to put in the space after "in an emergecy please call." I want someone who will drink the other half of the bottle of wine so I don't. And someone to make it worth sitting down at an actual table to eat. I want someone who's dying to get home after a long day because I'm going to be there.” 20 likes
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