In line with timeless design, good advice for the home never gets old. That’s what I happened to stumble upon in a drawer filled with cards featuring tips from local pros who shared their wisdom at the Haute House event at Michigan Design Center in Troy a few years ago.

The fact that I felt the need to keep these cards and that I think they’re still relevant today says something about getting sound guidance when enhancing your home.

Tips from Donna Brown, owner of Dazzling Designs LLC in Northville, highlighted the following tricks of the trade:

Choose classic flooring, cabinet and countertop surfaces, saving trends for furnishings, paint and accessories.

Start with a floor plan and select your rug or upholstery next. This will set a color theme for your room.

Add something fun and unexpected and it will add interest and spur conversation.

Brown follows her own advice with the 1940s English Tudor in Northville shown here. “We started with the rug that has a black center and a light border for a fresh color palette,” she says. “This anchors the room and it’s a great beginning for your color selections.”

Unexpected elements appear in the mix of furniture and colors like the celery green upholstery on the dining chairs and the orange and gold tones on the draperies.

An ornate gold mirror and an Asian-infused console are among the other unique details in the traditional setting.

Since the dining room is nearly square, a round table suits the space. The crystal light fixture above is original to the house and the metallic crown molding accentuates the Champagne Mist LusterStone textured finish on the walls.

“You should be bold in your dining room,” Brown says.

Among the other designers sharing tips at the event was Marianne Jones, owner of Birmingham-based Marianne Jones LLC, who covered everything from the pretty to the practical with the following suggestions.

List everything you are hoping to accomplish and design with function and lifestyle in mind.

Plan for proper lighting and electrical; look at current technology options for computers, televisions and sound, keeping in mind the natural light in the space.

Layer pattern, textures and tones with a pop of color, making sure the space flows with adjoining rooms.

Another card was from Donnah Milefchik, owner of Donnah Miles Interiors in Clarkston, who believes in trusting your instincts and enjoying the process. It read:

Be yourself. Trust in your own personal style instead of copying someone else.

Have honest, realistic expectations for the project and establish a practical timeline and reasonable budget.

Enjoy the process. From a single paint job to a whole-home remodel, designing your dream home should be fun.

For information, go to to contact Donna Brown and Marianne Jones. To contact Donnah Milefchik, go to

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

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