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My oasis: Local designers share favorite parts of their own homes during crisis

Maureen Feighan
The Detroit News

Our homes are so much more than a place to eat, sleep, work and watch endless episodes of Netflix's "Tiger King" these days. They're an oasis. 

As COVID-19 continues to reshape our way of life, our homes have become shelters -- physically and emotionally -- during these uncertain times. And when you really live and work in a space week after week, the best spots, those where you feel most at ease, are those we turn to over and over again.

In my own home, there's a leather sofa in our home office where everything else disappears. A wall of built-in bookshelves is filled with my favorite books and other accents my husband and I have collected over the years. In this space, I don't worry about laundry, dishes or uncertainty about how the world will be different going forward. I can read a book, sip a cup of tea and find peace.

Each of us has an oasis in our homes -- a reading nook, the comfy end of the sofa in the living room, or an outdoor patio.

One of interior designer Jill Schumacher's favorite spots at her Ferndale home are two lounge chairs in her backyard.

Interior designer Jill Schumacher's favorite part of her Ferndale home is her backyard with two patio chairs. It's where she goes to answer emails or just hang out. She calls it "my salvation."

"This is my salvation spot," said Schumacher, part of the Birmingham-based design firm, Rariden Schumacher Mio. "As soon as the weather breaks I sit out in the yard to work on emails on my Ipad or laptop on these outrageously cozy Summer Classics chairs."

 I reached out to dozens of local interior designers to ask about their own oasis, or favorite spots of their own homes. Maybe you'll find inspiration for your own home.

A view of the courtyard

Corey Damen Jenkins is a busy interior designer with offices in Birmingham and New York but he's been at his Bloomfield Hills townhouse since mid-March.

He says if he has to have "cabin fever" anywhere, he's grateful it's at his place in Oakland County and not New York.

Corey Damen Jenkins of Corey Damen Jenkins & Associates said his living room in his Bloomfield Hills townhouse is one of his favorite spots.

"My personal oasis is definitely my living room," he said. "I've designed it in such a way to where it's perfect for curling up with a good book, watching Netflix or playing a board game. It features over-sized windows that overlook a lush courtyard, so I can observe nature and the Birmingham community  while still 'sheltering in place' during this pandemic."

A place to nap or read

One of interior designer Paul Feiten's favorite spots in his Bloomfield Hills home is a bedroom he converted into a sitting room. Framed pictures of flowers line the walls and there's ample room to stretch and read a magazine or take a nap. And one of the standout design elements? The floor.

"The room is very calming due to the wood floor that was painted a high gloss white with high gloss white solid wallpaper," said Feiten of Paul Feiten Designs. "I thought schools paint red and white and black lines on a gym floor, why cant I just do the whole floor in white high gloss? So I called a gym floor company."

A glossy white floor and comfortable seating makes Paul Feiten's sitting room a home oasis.

Reading can sometimes lead Feiten to a design-filled nap.

"Sometimes I am really inspired by an article and it puts my mind in a dreamy and creatively inspired state and then I fall asleep so those images and articles can simmer away in my mind," said Feiten.

A multi-purpose office 

There's a framed print in Rachel Nelson's home office in Grosse Pointe that says it all during these turbulent times: "You Got This."

A "You Got This" art print in Rachel Nelson's Grosse Pointe home office is perfect during these uncertain times.

Nelson is the owner and Chief Executive Officer of RL Concetti, a Metro Detroit interior design firm. Nelson's home office sums up her style in many ways and is her own oasis. It's a juxtaposition of modern and traditional styles. There's a desk for work but there's also also a sofa because it's where she goes to not just work but also meditate, journal and take care of her many plants.

A sofa in Nelson's office is just the right spot for meditating or journaling.

A garden room

Linda Shears's garden room at her home in Troy is what she calls her "ah" room. Once a three-season Florida room, she had it completely redone two decades ago, expanding it and adding the curved glass windows, heat vents and the tile floor. She had the walls faux finished in an intense yellow.

Shears says her garden room is where she goes to meditate or just be.

Linda Shears of Linda Shears Designs calls her garden room her "ah" room.

And "once Michigan’s weather maintains 70 degree days, I move all the plants outside and start using the table for breakfast or dinner," said Shears.

A spot by the fireplace

One of April McCrumb's favorite spots in her Beverly Hills home in on the sofa in her living room. McCrumb is the owner of Catching Fireflies, a popular home decor and gift boutique with locations in Berkley, Rochester and Ann Arbor. McCrumb and her team have stayed busy during this quarantine with online orders.

April McCrumb's favorite spot -- near the fireplace in her living room with her cat.

Sunlight pours through the living room and McCrumb gets to put her feet up on the coffee table for a little bit near the fireplace.

"My cat, Maizy usually finds a way to snuggle up next to me too," said McCrumb. "All these factors make this one of my favorite spots at home."

Warm Vibes

Erica Harrison’s favorite spot in her Indian Village home is her solarium. Light fills the space; the botanical wallpaper is from House of Hackney. It’s where Harrison goes for her morning cup of coffee and where she feels most creative.

Erica Harrison's solarium in her Indian Village home is her favorite spot. The wallpaper is from House of Hackney. A vintage bird cage is in the corner.

“In the winter we stay away because of the lack of warmth, but that room makes me feel such warm vibes,” said Harrison.

mfeighan@detroitnews.com