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.
aspire design and home: How much time did you have to complete this room, start to finish?
Debbie Auer: 4 weeks, but I completed in 2 weeks.
aspire: What was your biggest challenge? Did you have a Eureka moment during the process?
Debbie: What to do with the damaged floor.
aspire: What was your inspiration for this room?
Debbie: The treetops outside the windows and the wonderful pewabic tile on the walls and ceiling.
aspire: Did you step out of your comfort zone for this project, and if so, why?
Debbie: We wanted to create a calm and comfortable space to enjoy while relaxing among the treetops.
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?
Debbie: None of us spoke to each other on what we were doing, just an accident!
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?
Debbie: We like smaller spaces.
This or that:
aspire: Paint or wallpaper?
aspire: Hardwood or rug?
aspire: Beach or Mountains?
aspire: Saturated Color or Black and White?
aspire: Brunch or Dinner?
aspire: Midcentury or 18th Century?
aspire: Draperies, shades, or nothing?
Debbie: Draperies and shades
aspire: 2001: A Space Odyssey or The English Patient?
aspire: Week at the spa or Week of Broadway shows?
Photography by Jeff Garland.
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