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 Yulanda Harris of Harris Interior Design Studio to learn more about their creative process in designing a gorgeous gallery for this project.
Inside the Showhouse with Yulanda Harris
aspire design and home: How much time did you have to complete this room, start to finish?
Yulanda Harris: Two weeks.
aspire: What was your biggest challenge? Did you have a “Eureka!” moment during the process?
Yulanda: The biggest challenge was the size of the room and my “Eureka!” moment was to turn my project into an art gallery.
aspire: What did you and your team accomplish that you thought would not happen in time?
Yulanda: Actually, there were no obstacles. We accomplished on schedule.
Seeking Inspiration and Finding Cohesiveness
aspire: What was your inspiration for this room?
Yulanda: The reproduction glass photography work of Evgeni Kolesnik, and original photography work of local photographer and world traveler Leslie Brown.
aspire: Did you step out of your comfort zone for this project, and if so, why?
Yulanda: Definitely – because I typically do not work with colors as a designer, my preference is neutral colors.
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?
Yulanda: Amazingly, it was a completely individual process.
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?
Yulanda: This was my first showhouse project, so I believe starting out with a small project worked better for me.
aspire: Describe Detroit in one sentence.
Yulanda: Detroit is a city that brings out the best in others.
”This or that?” with Yulanda Harris
aspire: Paint or wallpaper?
aspire: Hardwood or rug?
aspire: Beach or Mountains?
aspire: Saturated color or black and white?
Yulanda: Black and white.
aspire: Brunch or Dinner?
aspire: Mid-century or 18th Century?
aspire: Draperies, shades, or nothing?
aspire: 2001: A Space Odyssey or The English Patient?
Yulanda: The English Patient.
aspire: Week at the spa or week of Broadway shows?
Yulanda: Week of Broadway shows.
Want More Good Design?
Click Here to view more interviews with our Junior League of Detroit Showhouse designers.
Photography by Jeff Garland.
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