Mary Baude Wrangles a Bold Back Parlor in Detroit

Mary Baude Detroit Parlor

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 Mary Baude of Whitetail Farm to learn more about her creative process in designing a bold back parlor for this project.

Mary Baude Detroit ParlorInside the Showhouse with Mary Baude

aspire design and home: How much time did you have to complete this room, start to finish
Mary Baude: Hard to say… because we started planning right away (once our design was accepted), ordering, etcetera, but due to the COVID delay, it was months before it was completed.

aspire: What was your biggest challenge? Did you have a “Eureka!” moment during the process?
Mary: Our biggest challenge was balancing the timing of furniture, due to vendor delays in this pandemic year.  We had to adjust a few pieces, but without changing the vibe of the entire room!

Mary Baude Detroit ParlorSeeking Inspiration

aspire: What was your inspiration for this room?  
Mary: The Whitetail Farm team strived to highlight the history of the home—contrasting beautiful things, old and new. This unique juxtaposition of design elements lends itself to two distinct Whitetail Farm styles: 

  • Lodge Luxe: Rustic metals, warm tones, and soft textures combine to create this cozy, plush look. Lodge Luxe draws inspiration from the great outdoors; destinations like Vail, Aspen, and Northern Michigan inform this aesthetic.
  • Artful Bohemian: Velvet, jewel tones, and pattern-play inform our refined take on this artistic style. Artful Bohemian draws inspiration from purposeful maximalism; more is more to a point! This look celebrates what’s carefree and unconventional, but is grounded in what’s classic and livable.

Our resulting design is one that complements the existing aesthetic of the Bingley Fales home while providing a punch of something current! 

aspire: Did you step out of your comfort zone for this project, and if so, why? 
Mary: No, we didn’t. We love balancing the mix of old and new, and we think this was a great opportunity to show our work in that way!

Finding Cohesiveness

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?
Mary: For us, it was a completely individual process with the Whitetail Farm team.

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?
Mary: We would love either; however, having a larger space allows us to show “more” of our style – allowing us to create a well-complimented, balanced larger space.  

aspire: Describe Detroit in one sentence.  
Mary: A cool city with great potential.

Mary Baude Detroit Parlor“This or that?” with Mary Baude

aspire: Paint or wallpaper? 
Mary: Paint.
aspire: Hardwood or rug?
Mary: Hardwood.
aspire: Beach or Mountains?
Mary: Beach.
aspire: Saturated color or black and white? 
Mary: Neutral.
aspire: Brunch or Dinner? 
Mary: Both.
aspire: Mid-century or 18th Century? 
Mary: Mid-century.
aspire: Draperies, shades, or nothing? 
Mary: All – nothing, shades, and minimal drapery softness
aspire: 2001: A Space Odyssey or The English Patient? 
Mary: The English Patient.
aspire: Week at the spa or week of Broadway shows? 
Mary: Spa, of course!!

Want More Good Design?

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

Photography by Marta Perez.

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