On the surface, Patty Donohue Ebach and her sister Tracy Donohue have a lot in common. For instance, both are married, have three children and live in Novi.
Where they differ is in their decorating styles.
Ebach describes her interiors as warm, comfortable modern with a mix of comfy furniture, family heirlooms and vacation memorabilia.
She sticks to a minimal aesthetic throughout. “I love a good Zen feel with some Asian influence,” says Ebach, who keeps her look casual.
Her home consists of calming greens with a touch of gray and white.
Ebach is not a fan of collections. “I gravitate toward ‘less is more.’ Having too much stuff stresses me out. Less stuff makes my house feel bigger and cleaner. I like clean lines and I don’t like clutter.”
She’s constantly editing her surroundings. “Sometimes those things are replaced and sometimes I just enjoy the empty space that getting rid of them creates,” she says.
Still, she appreciates a good secondhand find. “I think it’s fun to go to resale shops, garage sales or flea markets and find some cool, unique pieces.”
As her sister Donohue explains, even their floor plans are different. While both homes were built in the ’90s, Ebach’s main level has a more open floor plan while Donohue’s features more defined separate rooms.
Donohue describes her decor as pretty eclectic. “I have contemporary furniture and items mixed with antiques from the 19th through the mid-20th century,” she says. “I try to tie items together with color or some sort of theme. I like having unique things in my house that you won’t find elsewhere.”
Her color palette features yellow, gold, green and taupe tones with pops of reds and blues. “While I love color, I’ve also always loved the contrast of black and white and the look of mixed metals,” she says.
In general, her motto is “more is more.”
“I like to display items in my home that evoke good memories of special people, trips, occasions or life experiences. I regularly rotate decorative items around our house to create new groupings.”
Currently she finds herself drawn to antique paintings and stained glass windows.
Despite differing approaches to the decorating process, Donohue says she and Ebach both appreciate bargains and secondhand finds, and enjoy living in comfortable, welcoming homes.
“We also both like quirky, unexpected items and like to switch up our home decor for holidays, changing seasons or just because,” she says. “We shop well together for our homes because, while we have different decorating styles, we appreciate each other’s style and we don’t often compete for the same items.”
A few years back, Donohue told her sister about a decorative screen she found at a garage sale. “I really liked it, but wasn’t sure where it would go in my house, so I was happy when she ended up buying it and hanging it in her family room, where it looks great. Now I can enjoy it when I’m at her house,” she says.
Jeanine Matlow is a Metro Detroit interior decorator turned freelance writer specializing in stories about interior design. You can reach her at firstname.lastname@example.org.