It is hard to believe that J and I have had our home here in Detroit for over four years now. While we have been slowly chipping away at things I definitely wish things could go a bit more quickly. With J's work and school schedule it has been hard to apply the required time and money to a space that we are also currently residing in. I am hesitant to start a lot of things because it will disrupt the spaces we are living in and I often end up waiting on J to finish certain things before I can continue with a project. I have been craving something that I can go all in on and not be held back by constraints that are beyond my control.
In addition to looking for a full time project, we are also looking to further invest in our area. We weren't necessarily looking to land in this specific part of town when we first decided to move to the city. Fate took us here in the end. Since then I have grown to love this side of town and have been watching with excitement as new businesses come in, the city invests in infrastructure, and resident fix up their properties. Things have been moving in a positive direction and we wanted to continue to be a part of that.
We ended up finding the perfect project property in the neighborhood of Islandview. Islandview is next to the trendy West Village Neighborhood and steps from the Belle Isle Bridge. It is an area that is seeing some thoughtful planning from the city and significant investment and development is in the works. It is still a little rough around the edges but has great blocks with families that have been there for decades.
The house we purchased is a two family flat that we got through the Detroit Land Bank. When you purchase a home through the land bank you are responsible for showing significant improvements to the city on a monthly bases. In addition to showing consistent work the city also wants you to have the project completed and the building occupied in six months. Yikes! There is a lot of work to be done in six months. We will also be working with the added complication of it being the middle of winter. The house currently has no power, or heat, and there are quite a few steps that need to happen before it is ready for either. I think I will need to invest in some good bib coveralls.
The house was build in 1911 and has an upper and lower flat, each around 1,200 sf. According to the neighbors it hasn't been occupied for 15 years save for a one year period 7 years ago where someone was in the upper flat. While it needs new electrical service, plumbing, furnaces, roof, kitchens, bathrooms, etc. it is structurally in great shape. I even plan to restore the more than hundred year old siding below all the faux brick asphalt.
The house is full of wonderful historic charm that we want to preserve. I love the Victorian style window and door trim. There are several original doors that I want to restore. In both flats there are awesome built-ins that need quite a bit of work. And, of course, I plan to restore the original wood windows. Also, both bathrooms have their original claw-foot tubs, which we plan the use, and all the original vents from the gravity furnace can be utilized with the new furnace systems.
We definitely have our work cut out for us, but, it should be a rewarding project and in the end hopefully a great investment. I will try and keep you all up to date on our progress and I welcome any advice you may have or if there are any great contractors you have worked with, please let me know.