A Modern & Traditional Mix in Michigan

A Modern & Traditional Mix in Michigan

Diana Paulson
Jun 17, 2017

Name: Salma and her husband Naghi
Location: Farmington Hills, Michigan
Size: 2,250 square feet
Years lived in: 4 years

Blending the new with the old and taking advantage of every vertical space in her house for displaying artwork, Salma, an interior designer, has created a colorful attention-grabbing home.

"Our house was built in 1967, before it was built, the whole subdivision was a farming community. The land the house sits on was once a cow farm! When we first drove by the house, the huge land is what attracted me to it most. There were no pictures on the listing but the description and the room sizes looked perfect. Basically that's all we needed to know because the inside was a different story. There were only two owners who lived here before us and there were no renovations made whatsoever since it was built.

It needed a lot of work and sleepless nights to get it move-in ready and that's why we purchased it for a good deal, compared to houses in the same neighborhood. The bathroom tiles and toilets were all a light shade of yellow and the kitchen cabinets were all glued to the drywall.

My main concern designing the house was to make it comfortable and relaxing yet make it look polished. I also wanted it to look collected and showcase my years of vintage hunting and handed-downs treasures from my parents. I wanted it to look unique and detailed.

I mixed modern clean lines with deep linen sofas and added lots of down pillows in almost every room for comfort. I also made sure I mixed eras of furniture and mixed store-bought goods with antique finds.

For our family with two small children, it also needed to be kid friendly — but I still didn't want to give up grown up space. I converted the office into a playroom where the kids can have a world of their own. Toys all go in there and I don't have to worry about concealing them anywhere. Our family room and kitchen is where we do most of our living and it's a mix of both kid and grown-up space. Their artwork is framed in vintage frames and hung there. The shelving unit is where we put our books and their craft and homework supplies to work together on our big table. My goal was to let us live in a mess- and clutter-free house where we can all come in and relax after our long days.

Me and my husband renovated the whole house on our own; he learned a whole new craft throughout this process. I knew when we got married that he was handy but I didn't know he was capable of doing plumbing work! He took it to the the next level and even built our dining table, barn door and painted a few of our art pieces! I guess that's what's special and unique about our house."

Apartment Therapy Survey:

Our Style: My home has always been a mix of styles. I mix a lot of traditional and modern pieces together. I love putting a new sofa next to a hundred-year-old rug and a DIY bench. But most importantly, I love throwing in my favorite pieces of art in the mix, which makes it ours and no one else's.

Inspiration: I'm always inspired by nature and art. Everything handmade and not manufactured, and everything that includes an artistic skill.

Favorite Element: I love nature, so my favorite element is wood. My main element is adding art to almost every room in the house. Every art piece in my home has a story behind it or a special place we found it in.

Biggest Challenge: Finding the right art piece for every room is my biggest challenge because I have so many!

What Friends Say: I love taking opinions of my close friends! I love having another pair of eyes to look at my space. I have friends with great style who I enjoy asking for advice. They make me notice things I don't see! We usually keep texting until we both love it in the end. Most people who come in my home are intrigued by the art in my home. I love portraits with interesting faces in my home and they love looking at the faces and making stories about it.

Biggest Embarrassment: I absolutely hate my home exterior color now. It's still the same color since it was built in the '60s and I can't wait to change it.

Proudest DIY: My husband and I love DIYs. Our favorite one is the barn door we recently built and the pergola outdoors!

Biggest Indulgence: I spend so much money on rugs and art. Not that I have expensive pieces, I just have so many. And chairs, I can't leave an interesting looking chair and not buy it. I mostly regret the chairs I didn't buy.

Best Advice: Always mix and match. Spend money on the big pieces like the sofa but never buy everything from the stores. Try raiding your parents' houses for treasures (I always do that). Look in thrift stores for authentic, inexpensive pieces and don't be afraid of holding a paint brush and going to town. I changed a single piece of furniture so many times. Also, don't be afraid to look at the side of the road for good trash finds! I have found an amazing patio set on the side of the road once.

Dream Sources: EBay has an amazing selection of antique rugs and unique pieces, but eBay bidding is not for the faint of heart! It took me years to figure out how to win among the experienced bidders. And I'm loving West Elm at the moment to buy my minimal streamlined furniture.


Benjamin Moore – Revere Pewter

Bench – DIY
Vintage oversized wine bottles – Pottery barn
Lina Moroccan Pillow
Love Pillow — Homegoods
Macramé Pillow — Homegoods

Baskets on wall — vintage finds over the years

Mid Century show wood Upholstered chair – West Elm
Pillows – Homegoods
Rugs – Ebay
Indian Carved chair — World Market

Emma bench – World Market
Madeleine side chair – Restoration hardware
Table — DIY
Kuba cloth inspired art — DIY
Blue and white ginger jars – Williams Sonoma and vintage mix
Side buffet – vintage find
Grand Mobile Chandelier — West elm

Liatorp cabinets – Ikea
Campaign bookshelf — World Market

PB Grand comfort sofa – Pottery barn
Gold Cala Hammered Coffe Table – World Market
Langley Storage TV unit
Rocking Chair – Danish Design Store
Dining Table — World Market
Metal Windsor chairs – Joss and Main
Rug – Homegoods
Pillows – Eyes of India store on Ebay
Basket – Ikea
Hektar Lamp – ikea
Metro Pendant — West Elm

Rug – Vintage Ebay find
Stockholm Mirror – Ikea

Beds – Joss and Main
Bedding — Homegoods
Swing chair – Pier one Imports
Dresser — antique store find

Natural Segovia Mirror – World Market

Thanks, Salma!

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