Smart Solutions: Virtual peek into homes of celebs can inspire

By Jeanine Matlow
Special to The Detroit News

Home tours may be on hold for now, but you can still see impressive dwellings from television personalities and other celebrities that have been hosting everything from concerts to the local news from their personal spaces. This pastime has me paying close attention to the design elements that appear behind the people being featured.

In March, the “iHeart Living Room Concert” presented by Fox and hosted by Elton John to benefit coronavirus charities offered a private showing of the homes associated with several household names. From the tranquil background of Alicia Keys that seemed to echo her calm demeanor and soothing vocals to the colorful accents that surrounded Elton John who played a keyboard while in his only home without a piano, these details add another level of interest.

Like many TV personalities, Fox 2 Morning Anchor  Maurielle Lue works from home during the COVID-19 pandemic, giving viewers a glimpse inside her cozy home that features deluxe seating and a spiral staircase.

During the same concert, a refreshingly real and intimate performance by Tim McGraw had him perched on a diving board by his peaceful pool with his dogs running around him. This up-close look into the popular musicians’ personal digs lets design enthusiasts like me see another side to their personalities.

As I watch more TV than usual while sheltering in place, including shows like Inside Edition, TMZ and Access Hollywood, I see clips that are creative and entertaining like a couple that needed a little social distancing from each other in a tight space. Their innovative solution had them position a folding screen as a room divider for more privacy.

Bookcases seem to be a recurring theme among the TV personalities and other celebrities who’ve been working remotely. Some of the arrangements make me want to rework my own displays and add a few new titles and mementoes to the mix.

Some of the amazing spaces I’ve seen on my TV screen during my quarantine, from Oprah Winfrey to inventor and entrepreneur Lori Greiner of Shark Tank fame, have a soothing quality that provides the perfect contrast to the pandemic often being discussed on these shows. Many also have a lack of clutter with just a few well-chosen pieces to be seen in the room.

Unlike a professional photo shoot where kitchen counters would be cleared for the occasion, the hub of the home for Gene Simmons from the iconic rock band Kiss appeared to be as natural as his answers were candid. The fact that the space had not been staged and a loud phone rang during his interview made it even more relatable and enjoyable to watch.

From giant vintage posters to unique architectural features like a spiral staircase that caught my eye in the home of Fox 2 morning anchor Maurielle Lue, these shows have the ability to inform and inspire with the personal details that act as a backdrop.  

So, until special events can return to our lives, I am grateful for the virtual home tours that can be found on TV and online. For now, you can learn a little more about your favorite entertainer or local celebrity from their taste in décor. You might even get some design inspiration as an added perk to the material they are presenting.

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