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.
Inside the Showhouse with Haley Kiarash
aspire design and home: How much time did you have to complete this room, start to finish?
Haley Kiarash: A month and half.
aspire: What was your biggest challenge? Did you have a “Eureka!” moment during the process?
Haley: The biggest challenge I faced was finding new contractors, since my original contractors refused the job because of a last-minute COVID scare!
aspire: What did you and your team accomplish that you thought would not happen in time?
Haley: Getting the furniture on time was a major concern, because many items were on backorder and delayed in shipping because of COVID-19. Another last minute challenge was the ceiling medallion. Originally I was planning to do stencil on the ceiling. However, the ceiling wasn’t primed correctly, and we came up with the idea of doing the stencil on a board and installing it on the ceiling—which was not an easy task, but the result was incredible.
Seeking Inspiration and Finding Cohesiveness
aspire: What was your inspiration for this room?
Haley: My inspiration was to create a luxurious dressing room with a modern twist.
aspire: Did you step out of your comfort zone for this project, and if so, why?
Haley: While maintaining my traditional style, I created a feminine-yet-modern room.
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?
Haley: Individual processes – but, surprisingly, the end result was flawless.
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?
Haley: A large space because it provides a generous canvas to showcase my style.
aspire: Describe Detroit in one sentence.
Haley: Detroit has hidden gems all through the city.
“This or That?” with Haley Kiarash
aspire: Paint or wallpaper?
aspire: Hardwood or rug?
aspire: Beach or Mountains?
aspire: Saturated color or black and white?
Haley: Saturated Colors.
aspire: Brunch or Dinner?
aspire: Mid-century or 18th Century?
Haley: 18th Century.
aspire: Draperies, shades, or nothing?
aspire: 2001: A Space Odyssey or The English Patient?
Haley: The English Patient.
aspire: Week at the spa or week of Broadway shows?
Haley: A week of Broadway shows.
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Photography by Beth Singer.
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