Haneen Matt Blends A Sophisticated Mix Of Old And New In A Master Bedroom

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 Haneen Matt to learn more about her creative process in designing the Master Bedroom for this project.

aspire design and home: How much time did you have to complete this room, start to finish
Haneen Matt: I started designing about a year in advance, but then everything shut down with the pandemic and the Show House was postponed. When the house was officially available to us to go into and start working, we had about a month.

aspire: What was your biggest challenge? Did you have a “Eureka!” moment during the process?
Haneen: My biggest challenge was the condition of the walls and the time it took for the painter to prep everything. I couldn’t get in there to install and style everything until that was finished, so time was cutting it close. No Eureka moment, although when it was all said and done, I probably shouldn’t have used high gloss paint on damaged walls. I insisted because I love the look, but it definitely shows off the imperfections. Let’s call it “character,” shall we?

aspire: What was your inspiration for this room? 
Haneen: I’ve had a set of vintage green trunks for years and wanted to somehow incorporate them into the room. Once I thought to use them as a nightstand, the room went from there. Fashion definitely came into play as well. I wanted a good mix of masculine and feminine, and I think I achieved that with the plaid on the walls and floral on the ceiling, along with the fun art installation of yellow shoes and ties in the glass cabinets.

aspire: Did you step out of your comfort zone for this project, and if so, why?
Haneen: Yes! I’ve honestly really only worked on my own home. I’m a design blogger who doesn’t take clients. I have an art degree that translated to a major love for interior design, and I basically write about the journey of my own home. Applying for this show house was a purposeful step out of my comfort zone. I wanted the feeling of working on a space that wasn’t meant for me, and figured it was a great opportunity to get my feet wet. Who knows what will happen in the future? Taking clients is something I’m considering.

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?
Haneen: This was a delightful surprise! And not usually the case for a collective show house. There was no conversing or collaborating- pure coincidence that there were multiple spaces that flowed nicely. Maybe we were all craving some cheerful yellow? This year needed it!

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?
Haneen: This was my first show house, so no preference! I thought it was very exciting to get a room as big as the main bedroom! But I can definitely see where a smaller room would stretch your creativity. Bigger rooms are also a bigger expense, so it’s something to think about in the future. Honestly, some of my favorite rooms in this showhouse were tiny!

aspire: Describe Detroit in one sentence. 
Haneen: A city on the rise, that captures the essence of both grit and blue collar tenacity with inspiring art and culture.

This or That?

aspire: Paint or wallpaper?
Haneen: Both!
aspire: Hardwood or rug?
Haneen: Hardwood
aspire: Beach or Mountains?
Haneen: Mountains
aspire: Saturated color or black and white?
Haneen: Saturated color
aspire: Brunch or Dinner?
Haneen: Dinner
aspire: Mid-century or 18th Century?
Haneen: Ah, the ultimate trick question for someone who loves to mix genres;)
aspire: Draperies, shades, or nothing?
Haneen: Draperies
aspire: 2001: A Space Odyssey or The English Patient?
Haneen: The English Patient
aspire: Week at the spa or week of Broadway shows?
Haneen: Broadway shows! I love a spa day as much as the next person, but this year, I
miss the energy of a crowd at live shows.

Photography by Jeff Garland.

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

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