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Books? Designers' Show House Has Them Covered

See how interior designers get clever with books galore in various rooms at the Junior League of Detroit Grosse Pointe Shores' home tour, which opens Saturday.

Books seem to be everywhere. Not only are they in homes and on bookshelves, but paperbacks and hardcovers aplenty are also adorning window displays at apparel shops and boutiques and in fashion designer and home-furnishings ad campaigns. There's even book-page wallpaper. 

Books are wearable, too. , in fact, introduced clutches that replicate classic tomes, from Romeo and Juliet to Emma to The Importance of Being Earnest.

Is this our way of holding on to physical books in our Nook-ish, Kindle-ized world of “E?”  

Perhaps, and that may be why many of the designers at the Junior League of Detroit's (JLD) 2012 Show House used books in a variety of displays.

They cherish books not only for design inspiration but also as intriguing pieces of art in the home, whether stacked haphazardly or carefully edited for coffee table display.

You can see a veritable library full of books used in many ways beginning Saturday when the JLD opens its doors to its Show House, located at 22 Webber Place in Grosse Pointe Shores. The house will also feature fully landscaped gardens, a boutique, café and a greenery garden area, with items for sale.  

For several weeks, dozens of interior designers, painters, electricians, maintenance professionals, boutique staff and more have been coming and going at the massive 10,304-square-foot house, which was built in 1928 as the home of Oscar Webber, nephew of Joseph L. Hudson. 

The home will be open to the public  through May 20; admission funds go toward programs for the JLD.

Renowned architect Leonard B. Willeke designed the mansion. Tourgoers can view seven bedrooms, a third-floor ballroom, 11 Pewabic tile bathrooms, six Pewabic tile fireplaces and hand-carved wood and plaster throughout, to name a few highlights.

Interior designers who are refreshing and transforming the special Show House hail from everywhere from Ferndale, Plymouth, Royal Oak and Birmingham to Rochester, Clinton Township, Grosse Pointe and Troy.

Designer Brian Clay Collins of Brian Clay Collins Design in Grosse Pointe may be one of the area's biggest collectors of books, or at least he uses them in many of his spaces. 

"I happen to like being surrounded by books," said Collins just days before the opening of the Show House. He designed a large bedroom brimming with tomes of all topics. "Books appear in my office, home and cottage in profusion," he added. "Books offer pleasure during times of quiet contemplation. Perusing the titles of books previously enjoyed brings back many nice memories." 
 
When Collins participates in a Designer Show House (and he's done many), he likes to create an environment that imparts a realistic atmosphere for an imaginary client. "Show House rooms often appear austere and staged to merchandise furnishings and carefully selected accessories to the broadest audience," he said. "I don’t mind appealing to a smaller group of visitors who might share my vision of a room where one can nestle in to enjoy a good read while also enjoying a ‘beverage of choice,'  and soft music."  
 
"One person’s memory of a Show House room will vary from another’s memory, so I don’t want to miss any opportunity!" 

Likewise, the Show House tour is an opportunity not to be missed.

This is the third story in a series on the Designers’ Show House, which will be open for public tours May 5-20.

If you go

Show House tour hours: 10 a.m.-3 p.m. Monday, Wednesday and Friday; noon-3 p.m Tuesday and Thursday;  6:30-8:30 p.m. Tuesday, Thursday and Friday evenings; 10 a.m.-5 p.m. Saturdays; and noon-5 p.m. Sundays. The popular Preview Party will be Friday, May 4. 

Tour tickets: $15 if purchased in advance, or $20 at the door. Group tour specials are also available. Tickets will be available throughout the area at local retailers; contact the JLD office at (313) 881-0040 or visit jldetroit.org for more details and ticket locations.

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