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 this Lounge designed by A.Lane Architecture, the designer imagined a female version of people like John Mellencamp and Dave Chappelle: Midwesterners who could live anywhere but choose to live in their home states in the Midwest. The aesthetic is Daisy Buchanan meets old school lodge. The room incorporates all 12 of the state symbols of Michigan, including the Alexander McQueen Monarch rug. Coincidentally, there is legislation pending to make the Monarch butterfly the state insect of Michigan, which Lane did not know until after she selected the rug.
In our recently released aspire design and home Showhouse Issue, we sat down with Angie Lane to learn more about her creative process in designing this space.
aspire design and home: How much time did you have to complete this room, start to finish?
Angie Lane: 4 weeks.
aspire: What was your biggest challenge?
Angie Lane: The biggest challenge was turning the existing closet into a display hutch and mounting one HUGE door panel over the opening. Did you have a Eureka moment during the process? Not so much a eureka moment, but a very happy accident. My room incorporated all 12 of the state symbols of Michigan. The rug I used was the Alexander McQueen Monarch rug and it turns out there is legislation pending to make the monarch butterfly the state insect of Michigan. I didn’t know that until after I had selected the rug.
aspire: What did you and your team accomplish that you thought would not happen in time?
Angie: Lol, there is never anything I don’t get done in time.
aspire: What was your inspiration for this room?
Angie: I was inspired by the likes of John Mellencamp and Dave Chappelle; Midwesterners who could live anywhere but choose to live in their home states in the Midwest. My room was designed for the female version of that kind of person. The aesthetic was Daisy Buchanan meets old school lodge.
aspire: Did you step out of your comfort zone for this project, and if so, why?
Angie: No, that’s what’s great about doing a showhouse is you get to push forward with whatever you want.
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?
Angie: From my end, it was completely individual. I did find it interesting that there were 2 other designers who had rooms similar to mine with the old closet that had to be addressed and each of us had a different solution.
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?
Angie: For time’s sake, I prefer the smaller rooms. I suppose it just depends on your vision. A good designer can stretch their creativity in any size room.
aspire: Describe Detroit in one sentence.
Angie: The gritty city.
This or that?
aspire: Paint or wallpaper?
aspire: Hardwood or rug?
aspire: Beach or Mountains?
aspire: Saturated Color or Black and White?
Angie: Saturated color!
aspire: Brunch or Dinner?
Angie: Brunch (mimosas!)
aspire: Midcentury or 18th Century?
Angie: 18th century
aspire: Draperies, shades, or nothing?
aspire: 2001: A Space Odyssey or The English Patient?
Angie: 2001: A Space Odyssey
aspire: Week at the spa or Week of Broadway shows?
Photography by Marta Perez.
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