Style Magazine, June 2001

As a new homeowner, Jeanine Matlow was thrilled to show off her Farmington Hills condo, but "nobody cared about the house. They all cared about this miniature shopping cart [in the kitchen]."

Filled with artificial fruit, the cart started conversations-and inspired the name of Matlow's design business, Conversation Pieces.

"No matter what your house offers, it's the details that make a difference," she says.

From recommending paint colors to creating wall displays, Matlow solves problems. One client was disappointed with the way stencils looked on a wall. "They just didn't stick out. I suggested putting a frame around them [to] look like a picture. She loved the idea."

Matlow insists that home is more than a place to live. "It's where you can feel safe to be yourself.

"Home is a sanctuary. We're told to work and work and work so we can build this home but we're never in it. More people are working from home, using their home in more ways, more of the time. Home is who you are."

"Tips" on creative, affordable redecorating:

Matlow recently held a seminar at The Print Gallery in Southfield, where she offered these "tips":

  • Challenge conventional uses-put pictures in a plate rack or frame a placemat as art. "Function is important, but people get hung up on it."
  • Change drawer pulls, doorknobs and switch plates for quick updates.
  • Drape a scarf over a table or tie guest towels with bracelets. "We have beautiful things in drawers. Why not take them out?"
  • Stack hatboxes to make an end table that stores off-season items.
  • Bring the outside in-a terra cotta tile and metal garden table elevates moods.
  • Display books or paintings on music stands or easels.
  • Frame a mirror, corkboard or chalkboard, or use a wall mirror as a tray.
  • To save money, enliven furniture with colorful pillows, or buy reproductions instead of antiques.
  • Hang pictures lower to add warmth to a room.
  • Group pencils in a mug, display flowers in an oversized teacup or turn a glass upside down to make a candleholder.
  • Accessorize your pet-ceramic food and water bowls look better than the metal bins.

Article written by Lynne Schreiber and reprinted courtesy of Style Magazine at the Jewish News (June 2001 edition).