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Solutions: Weather-proof screened porch beckons

Jeanine Matlow

While many designer projects offer plenty of inspiration, it’s a special treat to see what the pros do with their own surroundings. That was the premise behind the Designers’ Own Homes Tour, a sold-out event in September presented by Michigan Design Center.

One of the highlights was Joseph A. Keenan’s Bloomfield Village residence where his screened porch was a big hit. “It was like a magnet out there,” says the seasoned designer and owner of Joseph A. Keenan & Associates in Bloomfield Village, who has bought, renovated and sold numerous properties over the years. “People went off the tour route and made a beeline for the screened porch.”

That’s because they appreciated the way he approached the space. “I decorate it like a family room, everything just happens to be weatherproof,” says Keenan about the screened porch that features teak, wicker, indoor/outdoor fabric, lanterns and plants.

This way, there’s no need to cover the area with glass come wintertime.

Those on the tour were also intrigued by the home’s wall color, which was a quick pick by Keenan during the renovation process. “The painter showed up, I looked at the fan deck and put it through the whole house,” says the designer, who describes the neutral shade as not quite gray or beige, but somewhere in between.

Despite the rainy weather that day, visitors enjoyed the garden where Keenan gets all he needs for his floral arrangements that appear throughout the home.

He also set the dining table for the occasion, which got a big response. “People loved it. I had name tags and flowers and wine and champagne. I just loaded it up to make it like eye candy,” he says.

“People said, ‘We would love to come to your house for dinner. You wouldn’t have to feed us. We just want to sit here,’” says Keenan who entertained before and after the tour. “You have it all done up. You might as well enjoy it.”

Designers are often known for adding unexpected touches along the way. Here it’s the wide-plank French limed oak floors. “They were a big surprise because many people go with dark floors,” he says.

During the renovation, he also added more wood details to his surroundings. “I always respect the architecture of the house. This one is very traditional,” says Keenan of the classic home he lovingly refers to as his “Leave It to Beaver” colonial.

The consensus for the master bathroom was that it resembled a spa with porcelain flooring that looks like onyx and a soothing neutral palette. “The colors are really calming,” he says. “People said, ‘It’s a really comfortable warm house.’”

Keenan truly enjoyed the experience. “Everyone was so nice and genuinely interested and they were really careful in the house,” he says.

Not only did they get ideas, they also supported a local charity. Proceeds from the tour will benefit Humble Design, a nonprofit that helps families transitioning out of homeless and abuse shelters by providing home furnishings and design services.

For information, contact Joseph A. Keenan at (248) 835-5442.

Jeanine Matlow is a Metro Detroit interior decorator turned freelance writer specializing in stories about interior design. You can reach her at jeaninematlow@earthlink.net.