Canton blogger's home is also her canvas

Maureen Feighan
The Detroit News

A long row of books stretches atop the upper cabinets on one wall of Haneen Matt’s recently redesigned kitchen in Canton. Separated by the stove hood, they’re all various shades of green and for good reason: Green is Matt’s favorite color.

"Every room needs a conversation piece," writes Matt on her blog.

Matt, who has an art background and blogs about interior design on, says some people are aghast that she’d put so many books in her new sleek and modern kitchen, subjecting them to grease splatters or worse. But she’s OK with it. The chic mom of four bought most of them at thrift shops.

“Books are a great way to do color-blocking,” she said.

The books also are a perfect example of Matt’s approach to interior design. Mix juxtapositions, add conversation pieces and never – ever – be afraid of color.

Color, in fact, is a common theme throughout the home (especially her beloved green) that Haneen, 39, shares with her husband, Tarek; daughters Autumn, 15; Raya, 12; Maleah, 8; and son Zane, 5.

From the deep brown living room to the boutique-hotel vibe of the moody master bedroom, there’s a hardly a space that Matt doesn’t embrace color. Even the laundry room oozes a sense of style. 

“I know white is very in right now,” says Matt. “And I know a lot of people, in regards to resale, think white and neutral. But I’m just a firm believer that you should love what you’re living in and not decorate for future owners.”

In fact, Matt says even though she embraces color, she says there are places for your eyes to rest in every room. She tries to incorporate one big splash of color and go from there.

The dining room, for example, features an inset with a bold, floral Anthropologie wallpaper while the rest of the walls are painted Sherwin-Williams’ Urbane Bronze. The buffet inside the inset was a steal for $50 at a local thrift store that she painted, of course, green (Benjamin Moore’s Chrome Green).

“It was so ugly,” she says with a laugh. “And it was a million pounds to bring in here. It’s big but it’s perfect for right here. I was so excited when I found it.” 

Matt, who grew up in Toledo and has an art degree from the University of Toledo, remembers roaming through the adjoining art museum during her college days for inspiration. She says she started her interior design blog three years ago because she needed a creative outlet.

“I just kind of realized, if I’m going to be home, raising my kids, I better love what I’m looking at,” she said. “So I use it (home) as my canvas and went to town making it something I love.”

Today, Matt has redone nearly even space in the home of nine years. And it’s paid dividends: She recently won a challenge by painters’ tape company FrogTape for a makeover of the fireplace in her family room.

And later this year, the Matts’ home will be featured in a special Better Homes & Gardens’ Christmas magazine. She’s also a Pinterest contributor for Home Goods and a blogger for Home Depot.

“I like to mix old and new,” Matt said. “Sometimes things are from a chain store like Home Goods and sometimes things are from an antique store.”

When the Matts moved to their house, it was very beige. But slowly Matt made her mark. And it was redesigning the living room that really made her realize how much she loved interior design.

The living room features a deep brown wall stencil with a gallery wall of mirrors.

“This is the first wall stencil I ever did and actually was kind of the catalyst into really loving interior design,” said Matt. “I realized when this room was done how much you can walk into a room and really feel something.”

Her two recent projects – the kitchen, which was transformed with new quartz counters, lighting and hardware, and the fireplace – really showcase how much she’s grown in her style and again her embrace of color.

For the FrogTape Paintover Challenge this year, Matt was one of six Home Depot bloggers who were asked to makeover a room. Each person was given $1,000 and FrogTape supplies. They also had to include a DIY element in their project.

Matt says she knew she wanted to makeover her fireplace in the family room, which was previously white and featured stacked stone. And next to the fireplace is a rustic wall of reclaimed wood from Stikwood.

“This wall is rustic and the stacked stone was rustic and I just always like a mix,” she said. “And it just always bothered me.”

To give it a new look, Matt incorporated herringbone tile and painted the hearth black. Some family members were apprehensive about using such a dark hue, but Matt went for it. And she likes the juxtaposition of the rustic Stikwood wall with the sleek fireplace.

“It makes my eyes happy,” she said. 

Also as part of the challenge, she created a gallery wall (again featuring shades of green) on one wall in the family room and an abstract painting she created using FrogTape. There’s a mix of art from thrift and antique stores, along with vintage car ads that pay homage to Tarek, who works in the auto industry.

Upstairs Matt doesn’t shy away from color either. Eight-year-old Maleah’s room has a playful orange and pink color palette while 12-year-old Raya’s exudes a soothing vibe with soft neutrals and oombre bedding.

The master bedroom, meanwhile, is one of the most neutral spaces in the house, which Matt says she did on purpose. It’s painted Benjamin Moore’s Kendall Charcoal. 

“As much as a I love color I wanted this room to be really sophisticated, almost like a hotel retreat,” she said.

And while she has more projects down the road – redoing the master bath – she’s enjoying the spaces she’s created now. It’s more than a canvas; it’s home. And she’ll continue to mix things up, juxtaposing old and new, modern and rustic.

“It helps that I think this is our forever house,” she said. “But even if it wasn’t, you can paint over paint and wallpaper can be taken down.”

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Twitter: @mfeighan