Solutions: Tastes, lifestyles often change over time

Jeanine Matlow
Special to The Detroit News

Recalling one of my favorite design books, “A Good House Is Never Done” by John Wheatman, made me realize that many of us have an ongoing wish list for our homes, even those who work in the industry.

So, I reached out to Ann-Marie Anton for It’s Personal Design in Grosse Pointe Woods, to see what she envisions for her own environment and what lessons can be learned by listening to her wish list.

In the master bedroom of her Grosse Pointe Farms residence, the designer would like to add a custom entertainment unit to house the TV. In order to accommodate the scale of the expansive wall, it would have to be substantial.

“I need a very large piece for it to be appropriate and I have not wanted to make the investment necessary to do it right, so I am just waiting,” she says.

The lesson here might be: Don’t settle for less because patience can pay off in the long run.

In a perfect world, Anton would completely redo her interiors. “I gutted it to the drywall about 12 years ago and renovated my home from top to bottom and it is beautiful, but my aesthetic has changed since then,” she says.

“Currently, it has an old-world vibe and I would like it to be a little cleaner and more transitional. There is no way to do this gradually in the house because it would be a Pandora’s Box. The house flows from room to room and I either need to renovate the entire house or keep it as is for a while.”

Her all or nothing scenario points out that because some projects are more extensive than others, they might not benefit from a piecemeal approach.

When asked about her dream home, Anton says at this stage it would probably be a single-family condo in a golf course community. For her, a warm climate comes to mind like the location of the Naples, Florida, condominium she recently completed for a client.

“I find myself wanting a more fun, carefree, active lifestyle,” says Anton. “The aesthetic would be simple, casual elegance done mostly in neutral colors with rich textures and interesting elements.”

The Naples project also features the cleaner look she now prefers for her own abode.

As Anton shows, not only do our tastes tend to change over the years, but our lifestyle needs often evolve too.

For those with a residential wish list, she says you have to prioritize what you want to do and work within your budget. Sometimes a makeover does the trick like an old chest in the foyer of another client’s home that will be refinished by an artist for a whole new look.

For some, a renovation that serves a purpose may be more important than an aesthetic update. Whatever situation you find yourself in, Anton says, “It’s really just a matter of prioritizing, but I wouldn’t compromise on quality.”

For information, contact Ann-Marie Anton at (586) 764-1780 or go to

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