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Favorite rooms: good places to chill out in winter

By Jeanine Matlow
Special to The Detroit News

While you may not want to play favorites with your kids, it’s okay to claim your special spot at home. It could be the way a room looks or how it makes you feel with unique features or a connection to nature that gets your attention. After all the hibernating we’ve had to do this winter, we asked some local pros and Homestyle readers where they like to spend time during the colder months and beyond.

For Patricia Warner, owner of Patricia Interiors LLC in Shelby Township, a renovation took her favorite space to another level. Deluxe touches make it easy to see why her newly remodeled master bathroom tops the list.

The Jacuzzi tub that was rarely used and took up a lot of space was replaced with a soaking tub that gives the master bath a more glamorous feel. Expansive glass around the shower makes the room look bigger, while the soaking tub reveals more of the tile floor that mimics wood.  

Heated backs and a freestanding faucet are among the tub’s distinctive details. A pair of crystal chandeliers above adds another layer of luxury. “When I turn them on with the mirror lights when getting dressed for a special occasion, it’s so beautiful and light. It’s like standing in the sun,” Warner says.  

The refaced cabinets are topped with quartz. With her cosmetics tucked inside the vanity drawer, the custom chair becomes the focal point. Working roman shades that cover the windows are another custom detail. “I wanted something soft and pretty, but not fussy,” she says.

White Ralph Lauren rugs keep the look light. “When you invest in high-end throw rugs and you wash them, even if they’re white they come out beautiful,” says Warner.

A chandelier can brighten any space while providing a decorative element that makes you want to linger like this 15 Lights Sputnik Chandeliers Mid Century Pendant Light Black available through

Sunny disposition

The sunroom is another contender for her most coveted spot. “That’s part of our day, not just in the summer. We like it in the spring and winter,” says Warner.

Double hung windows and sliding glass doors offer unobstructed views of nature. “Even though it faces west it’s sunny all the time. You don’t have to go out to the bugs or the cold, but you can still sit and enjoy the weather,” she adds.  

On one side, a conversation pit features a round coffee table and chairs. A refinished dining table forms another seating area on the other side of the sunroom. The serene setting has been ideal for celebrations in any season. “If it gets too hot in the summer, we can come inside to eat,” Warner says.

A small granite shelf serves as a bar area that comes in handy when entertaining. Industrial ceiling fans create a cool breeze from above while low-maintenance outdoor rugs pull the colors of the room together.

Lastly, Warner spends a lot of time in her home office that got some recent updates including new draperies and wallpaper with a faux rustic barn wood finish. Painting the office furniture gave the room a brighter feel.

Inside out

Susan Stowe thinks everyone should have a favorite room where they can reflect, take time for themselves and share with those they love.

The founder and owner of Grande Trunke Home, a distinctive home décor and gift shop in South Lyon, calls the great room her favorite space. “It’s a cozy room where time is spent with family and friends,” she says. It’s the perfect place to watch their favorite movies and TV shows and have conversations over a glass of wine or two. 

Unique details make the space. “I love our great room for the warmth from the stone fireplace with the raw-edged mantel and all the different lighting that can change the entire look of the room,” says Stowe. “Changing pillows and the mantel can create an entirely new room for every season. I like that this room is ever-changing.”  

In the spring, she enjoys hanging out on the patio, tending to flowers or just sitting at the table taking in the fresh air and smelling the scents of flowers and trees. “It’s an entirely different feeling from being cooped up all winter,” she says.  

 Nature’s Bounty

Homestyle reader Jo Hastings from Fort Gratiot says her dining area in a bay window is her favorite space. Being open and adjacent to the living room is an added bonus. “We're able to see right through to the bay window area and the outside view from the living room,” she says.

The seasonal scenery overlooking 10 acres does not disappoint. “It faces west so the sunsets are a bonus. In the winter, the view is filled with bright cardinals and blue jays at the four feeders just outside this room,” Hastings explains.

Other perks include nature's pops of color against the snow and deer with their fawns and wild turkeys coming up to visit from the woods, she says.

During the summer months, a perennial garden lies in bloom just below the windows. The array of colors attracts the hummingbirds and vibrant orioles nearby. Then comes autumn and another set of special traits. “We love country living and watching the seasons change as we sit at the oak table, enjoying the bright display of fall colors from the woods,” says Hastings.  

Inside, her antiques and cobalt blue and blue-and-white dishes also make this space a favorite. As Hastings explains, the only item she feels the need to change seasonally is the tablecloth because the view does all the rest.

 The layered look

Linda Heard from Howell, who loves her condo in all seasons, likes to follow tips on transitioning (primarily from Homestyle). For instance, her master bedroom retreat has more pillows, fluffy comforters, a flannel duvet, stacks of books, pumped-up lighting and seasonal scented candles for cozy comfort in the winter. 

Her private sanctuary also features a lovely old chandelier she discovered years ago in Royal Oak that adds a little ambiance and a touch of shabby chic to her surroundings. The room is watermelon pink, so it’s always cheery, and the winter bedspread and accessories are black.

For her November birthday, flannel PJ’s are a favorite gift. “They give me an excuse to hunker down early for a cozy night of reading,” says Heard. “Then I can curl up in bed and dream about getting my little screened-in porch ready for spring.”

Jeanine Matlow writes the Smart Solutions column in Homestyle. You can reach her at