This Gentleman’s Grooming Lounge Is As Layered As A Three-Piece Suit

The Junior League of Detroit—veterans of almost five decades of showhouses—hosted its biennial event in September 2020, bringing together 27 design teams to reimagine the city’s historic Bingley Fales House. Migrating for the first time to Detroit’s Indian Village neighborhood, the 2020 Designers’ Showhouse transformed the first two floors of a more than 100-year-old Georgian mansion into a dynamic mix of decorating styles. “The home has a very interesting history, and it has all its original features,” says charity chair Liana Dabir of the 16,000-square-foot estate set on over an acre of meticulously manicured land.

In our recently released aspire design and home Showhouse Issue, we sat down with Andre Jordan Hilton to learn more about his creative process in designing the Gentleman’s Grooming Lounge for this project.

aspire design and home: How much time did you have to complete this room, start to finish?
Andre Jordan Hilton: I had roughly 3 days to complete my room from start to finish.

aspire: What was your biggest challenge? Did you have a Eureka moment during the process?
Andre: A designer who previously had the space opted out of the show house. I received a call from the JLD asking if I’d like a larger space, and of course I didn’t turn it down. The challenge itself was having to recreate my previous design to fit the scale of the larger room without ever seeing the room in person.

I did have a Eureka moment when I discovered the overhead lighting for a pendant I had wanted to use, was placed perfectly in the left corner of the room. The design came together instantly.

aspire: What did you and your team accomplish that you thought would not happen in time?
Andre: My team and I accomplished finding a wallpaper hanger for the ceiling that came the next day to install (This NEVER happens). All of the paint was complete, and our previously scheduled paper hanger had gotten injured on another job. Nothing could be installed until this was handled.

aspire: What was your inspiration for this room?
Andre: My inspiration for “The Gentlemen’s Lounge” was my grandfather, Mr. Bobby Lee Hilton. He taught me the value of self-care and was the epitome of sophistication, intelligence, and a well-groomed gentleman.

aspire: Did you step out of your comfort zone for this project, and if so, why?
Andre: Yes, I stepped outside of my comfort zone by creating an amazing space with a big design concept yet inserting it into a small narrow space, while still hitting all points in the design to make it functional for its purpose.

aspire: Despite the fact that there were so many designers involved, there is an inherent cohesiveness to the home. Did you all converse/collaborate? Or was this a completely individual process?
Andre: Surprisingly, we did not converse or collaborate. It was just a vibe I think the home had that we naturally gravitated toward. We could feel the history of the space, and that’s something each space seamlessly incorporated into our designs.

aspire: Is your preference for a showhouse a small space or a large space? Does one or the other provide a better opportunity to stretch your creativity?
Andre: Out of state, probably a smaller space, however, I’m not opposed to a larger space. The smaller space stretched my creativity, however, in a larger space it’s much easier to get more creative.

aspire: Describe Detroit in one sentence.
Andre: Detroit reflects life; it displays its ups and downs, but still displays so much beauty and history within it.

This or That?

aspire: Paint or wallpaper?
Andre: Wallpaper
aspire: Hardwood or rug?
Andre: Hardwood
aspire: Beach or Mountains?
Andre: Beach
aspire: Saturated Color or Black and White?
Andre: Black & White
aspire: Brunch or Dinner?
Andre: Dinner
aspire: Midcentury or 18th Century?
Andre: Ugh!!! Both, but 18th Century
aspire: Draperies, shades, or nothing?
Andre: Draperies
aspire: 2001: A Space Odyssey or The English Patient?
Andre: The English Patient
aspire: Week at the spa or Week of Broadway shows?
Andre: Week at a Spa

Photography by Jeff Garland.

Click Here to view more interviews with our Junior League of Detroit Showhouse designers.

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