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?
Kathryn L. Kircher: 2 weeks (not full days)
aspire: What was your biggest challenge? Did you have a Eureka moment during the process?
Kathryn: Challenges for us were tied to the pandemic with so many home improvement projects going on. The exposure concerns and health of the community, we were faced with scared resources.
aspire: What did you and your team accomplish that you thought would not happen in time?
Kathryn: We accomplished all that we wanted to but did not accomplish several that were part of the original scope due to COVID.
aspire: What was your inspiration for this room?
Kathryn: The architecture of the house.
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?
Kathryn: Size does not matter but other side conditions do for example flooring, millwork flooring that we could not change.
aspire: Describe Detroit in one sentence.
Kathryn: I have been inspired by the raw creative spirit that existed in the city for decades making Detroit a haven for visionaries a hub for cutting-edge design.
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?
Kathryn: 18th century
aspire: Draperies, shades, or nothing?
aspire: 2001: A Space Odyssey or The English Patient?
Kathryn: Space Odyessy
aspire: Week at the spa or Week of Broadway shows?
Photography by Jeff Garland.
Click Here to view more interviews with our Detroit Showhouse designers.
Like what you see? Get it first with a subscription to aspire design and home magazine.