It begins: Masonry, Electrical, Painting, Flooring, Plumbing, and more

It’s been a long winter. After the closing, we sort of meandered about, walking through the house with bewildered looks on our faces. When everything needs fixing, and everything is a project, you don’t know where to begin.

We had to break down the house into “10-year, 5-year, Major Now, Minor Now, and Maybe” projects. We don’t have much of a renovation budget; it’s really nerve-wracking when you read some of the other blogs and comments from people who are renovating Detroit homes and seem to have endless capital with which to renovate. Those people are not us. That joke that goes around, based on those ridiculous home renovation TV shows: “Meet Dave and Brittany. Dave is a professional shellfish polisher and Brittany is a part-time lettuce grower. Their budget is $9 million.” never hit closer to home.

In an ideal world, we’d just point every contractor to the house, hand over our debit cards, and say “do your thing”. Unfortunately we don’t have the financial situation to allow that sort of creative freedom.


It’s tricky because you want to do the floors before you move anything in, but you also want to make sure you do other work that could damage the floors even further first. So, floors must be somewhere in the middle: We want to do the most destructive work first, and paint, before we get the floors restored.

Measuring Wood Floors

Randy Penhorwood measuring floors for restoration quote

We decided to work with Randy Penhorwood from Penhorwood Floors again. He did an amazing job at the Sullivan House and truly has a passion for old wood floors. He came in, did some floor-whispering, and left excited about the quality of wood, the patterns, and his ability to make things shine again. His quote was extremely reasonable and we didn’t hesitate to say “go for it!”. Schedule is undecided so far, pending how all the other jobs line up.


Last month, Nicole found a contest hosted by Motor City Paint in partnership with the Detroit Historical Museum. The contest was to name 25 new colors that Motor City Paint was releasing. They are inspired by historically accurate colors of Detroit and are focused on restoration projects like ours.

We went to the Historical Museum one cold Saturday afternoon and spent 20 minutes writing down super goofy names because I’m dumb like that. The contest had three components: The person with the most Facebook likes would win a $1000 grand prize house-painting package. Another $1000 grand prize would be given out to a random person who entered, and then the 25 people whose color name ideas were chosen would each receive a $50 gift card from Motor City Paint.

Paint Color Naming

Old Yogurt was a favorite

I posted the contest entry on Facebook and shared it with my friends and associates. It was mostly for laughs, as you can see.

A month later, I got a Facebook message from Brian, the Motor City Paint guy. We won the “most likes on Facebook” part of the contest. To say that I was shocked is an understatement.

As it turns out, the $1000 grand prize is worth far more than that, because the $1000 covers labor: Motor City Paint is providing all the paint for free. What an incredible gift!

Motor City recommended one of their painting contractors, Lakeside Paint & Plaster. We will be meeting with them shortly to discuss initial work. Since the prize is free labor, we were thinking of getting the more costly and difficult painting done by experts; possibly the hallways, banisters, and stairways as well as the small parts of the exterior that are painted wood. Bedroom and other easier painting is stuff we can do ourselves.

Motor City Paint color swatches

Checking out the offerings at Motor City Paint

We picked up a swatch book from Motor City this past weekend and started the arduous and stressful task of color choices; we have no solid plan yet but whatever colors we choose have to go well with the dark natural wood that already exists in the house.


Lincoln had excellent work done by RC Marsack, so we didn’t hesitate to call him back for our own projects. Turns out, this is a big one.

The entire front walk, the decorative brick pillars in front, the front porch steps and slabs all need to be repaired or replaced. The chimney needs work, both fireplaces need to be repaired, and the back porch (which is mortared stone) is in significant disrepair. The exterior finish (pebble dash) has cracking and even some gaping holes on all four sides of the house. The main slab of the front walkway is a solid piece of limestone that needs to be canted away from the home (currently it is sunk towards the house, which is great if you want rain to pour towards your foundation, but we’re not like that). Ralph spent a solid hour walking around with a clipboard, discussing various projects with us. We came to the conclusion that the only way to do it is to do it once and do it right. The quote came back and while we were prepared to see a big number, it’s still shocking when it’s right in front of you in black and white. Ralph does good work, though, and for the amount of labor that needs to be done his quote was quite reasonable, so we’re going to proceed.


We got a personal recommendation from a trusted neighbor that Dave Munroe from Caledonia Electric was the way to go. The house is currently a (bad) combination of knob-and-tube and some modern wiring, all hooked into a relatively new 150 amp breaker panel. It looks like some work had been done in the last ten years but not all of it.

Dave came out for an initial consultation, agreed with our spitball assessment that the electrical system was questionable, and let us know that the first step should be mapping out which breakers control what. We could either pay him to do it or do it ourselves. We opted for the latter.

Testing circuit breakers

Nicole was super excited to be stationed at the breaker panel

So it was that we ended up on a Saturday afternoon, flipping breaks and yelling across the house at each other.

Testing light sockets

Brian was super excited to be stationed at the light sockets

We got most of the breakers identified, but one serious conundrum popped up during our exploration. I was standing in what will become the office; the room off of the main room. Nicole flipped every single breaker, yet the lights never went out. Convinced that either I was being an idiot or she was, I yelled down at her to try again. Same result.

I asked her to flip the main. The lights went out. Through a process of elimination and logic-problem solving, we finally discovered that two entirely separate breakers had to be turned off to get the power to cut out… a wiring problem for the ages. Breakers 8 and 12, we hate you.


Another problem to be solved is replacing the old 50-gallon water tank with the broken temperature control wheel. We opted to go with the trusted Soley Heating & Cooling. We have an appointment with Kim Soley soon to get a quote on converting to tankless as well as testing the central air unit and making sure the furnace is clean and in good working order.

Overall it’s been a busy month, and yet it feels like nothing has been “accomplished”. Kyle, my son, has moved in to be a caretaker of the house while we renovate, and he’s been doing a good job of cleaning up the remnants of past occupants. It feels a bit more “lived in” and we can start to see where one day it will feel like a home… our home… but for now it’s just basically an overwhelming project that is starting to be broken down into one to-do list with expensive quote attached after another.

Into Detroit … again

It’s been quite a while since we’ve had an update here. Admittedly, a lot of it has to do with the slowdown on actual renovations of the Sullivan House; looking back, we did so much work so quickly that it becomes a blur. We accomplished an amazing amount of renovation in a very short time, and most of that was driven by necessity. However, once you no longer have an urgent need, momentum drops quickly. There hasn’t been much going on, therefore there hasn’t been much to write about.

We do, however, have some pretty big news for 2018.

For those who have come along on the journey of the renovation of this house from the beginning with us, the living situation makes perfect sense… but for those who may have come along later to this community and joined us along the way, it may be a little confusing. A brief bit of history, therefore, might serve as a handy refresher.

Lincoln moved in with me in 2007 as a business partner in our joint venture, Icrontic. As it turns out, we make really good housemates, and we continued living together through lots of major (and minor) life events. Lincoln had lived with me for five years when he bought the Sullivan house, started this site, and began renovations. During those five years, each of us met our future spouses (Nicole and I got married in 2013; Lincoln married Aaron in 2017), and the four of us moved into the Sullivan House and renovated it and made this community to document our journey along the way.

During the six years in the Sullivan house, Nicole and I have been content but it’s never been “our” place. It is Lincoln and Aaron’s house and we are tenants. Maybe we’re far more invested than “normal” roommates would be since we also poured blood, sweat, tears, and money into this place, but there’s still a point that comes when you look around and just feel like… you’re living in someone else’s house. It was easier to stay put and be content while my kids finished their teenage years out and grew up (and moved out), and while Nicole got her business going and I established myself in a new career field, but—as all good things must—eventually it had to come to an end.

We started searching for houses casually in the “if something jumps out at us, we’ll do something” sense, but really it was a commercial property that kick-started our search for the next phase of our lives.

A building went up for sale down the street from us: a two-story former muffler shop that was weird and a terrible mess. We ended up putting in an offer on the place with a dream of living above a space we would rent out (we were the “Woodbridge couple” mentioned in that article), but since Detroit commercial real estate is in a wild place right now, we got outbid by a pretty significant amount of money, and went back to just “thinking” about looking for a place.

In November, after Lincoln and Aaron’s wedding, it felt like time to start the search for real. I reached out to my old friend Jon Zemke and asked him if he had a realtor recommendation, and he immediately recommended Nika Jusufi as a Detroit real estate expert. Jon knows as well as anybody that when you need to deal with real estate in Detroit, it’s a weird and unique animal and you need an expert to help you navigate the weirdness. Nika was that expert.

She started off by meeting with Nicole and I and getting to know us. After getting to know a little bit about our quirks, she began sending us listings she thought we would be interested in. By the middle of December, Nicole had come across a listing that intrigued her and she told me she wanted to look at it. In the ice and snow, we went to look at the house, located on Lothrop St. in a neighborhood called LaSalle Gardens.

The immediate thing that drew her to the house was the awesome woodwork on the interior (some of it in the Arts & Crafts style), and the weird black picket fence and dark grey pebble exterior. Pulling up to the house, we could see that the neighborhood was really fascinating, with huge houses, lots of space between them, big old trees, and tons of interesting and unique architecture. The house itself was on the smaller side of things compared to some of the mansions around it, but it oozed individuality, and we were drawn to it.

House in LaSalle Gardens, Detroit, Michigan 2018

The initial inspection was, in some ways, better than we had anticipated and in some ways worse. The house needed a lot of work. It needed new windows, a new roof, and lots of updates inside. There were some structural issues, and some questionable prior renovations. But there were also some absolutely priceless features, such as intact original French doors in the main room, original hardwood floors in decent condition, lots of original decorative woodwork, prior conversion from radiators to forced air (and central air conditioning!), a partially finished basement with updated glass block windows, some fantastic original decorative plaster work (particularly in the dining room), and tons and tons of potential.

We brought our trusted friend Andy (from Handy Andy Services) to come out and give us his opinion. He had some grunts, groans, shrugs, some hmmms and wows, some smiles, but mostly he trusted that we understood what we would be getting ourselves into with this house… again. We were no novices to this level of renovation after all, and besides—this house was in far better condition than the Sullivan house was when Lincoln bought it.

We sat on it for a bit. We looked at a different house, but ended up coming back to this one. Finally we put in an offer and after some negotiations we agreed on a price we were comfortable with.

Now, we are post-inspection, the title search is complete (and clean), and we have a closing date: February 7th, 2018. In six days, Nicole and I will close on this house and begin a brand new renovation project in a new neighborhood. My son Kyle will be living there as a caretaker during renovations and we hope to have the house in at least livable condition by June. We’re looking forward to starting a new chapter of our lives, meeting new neighbors, making new friends, and getting to know yet another awesome part of Detroit.

We’re going to miss Woodbridge deeply. It’s a fantastic neighborhood filled with amazing people and lots of great stories. The Sullivan house is certainly not going anywhere and we were privileged to be a small part of its long and glorious history. Lincoln and Aaron are still going to be renovating, and now this site will have two projects to discuss as we continue our adventures in Detroit.

You can keep up with the renovation log in the discussion forums.

Refinishing home radiators

I’ve learned a lot about refinishing old home radiators this year and thought I’d share some of my hard-won knowledge. Our project involved refinishing original 1899 radiators with ornate details and some replacement radiators added or swapped over the life of the home. In all, we refinished all eight hot water radiators on the first floor this year using a variety of techniques depending on their weight, style, and location.

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It started with “floors and trim”

There were two big goals for 2015: Refinish the floors & trim, and restore the north facade of the house. We decided we’d split them into two phases: floors & trim in the spring, facade in late summer. But as spring arrived, things got more complicated than that. As usual.

If you’re refinishing the floors, that’s the time to refinish the radiators, right? And if we’re making the first floor look great, we might as well do the stairs. And we should probably fix those doors. And the windows. And if you’re hiring a window expert, they better look at those attic windows ASAP, right? Soon, you’re disassembling an entire floor and your projected costs have grown 50%.

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My place in Detroit

I recently read a thoughtful article by an 18-year Detroit resident about the folly of youth moving to a city down on its luck. Much hay has been made of the influx of young people to Detroit lately, and as a 28-year old home buyer (now 31), I fit fairly neatly into that pile. The author shares portions of an idyllic letter he wrote as a 25-year old to then-Mayor Dennis Archer and squirms as he tries to reconcile his present-day perspectives with the ones he brought with him in 1996.

I’m here because, like the author, I wanted to live in a place that wasn’t done being built. I am, at my core, a builder. A place like Detroit is irresistible because it just screams out the opportunities for a builder. And indeed, I quickly found my little corner on which to build. I have a grand vision for my little corner, and on this corner my ideas and efforts are boundless.

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“Different times, Lincoln”

That’s what my neighbor Alex replied when I said I was surprised about the attention real estate in Woodbridge is getting now.

Last week, a house in Woodbridge a couple blocks away listed for $9,000 in an apparent foreclosure. It’s a brick facade and fully intact (with original trim) with 5 bedrooms, but needs a kitchen and bathroom gut. It’s 2200 square feet, so a bit smaller than the Sullivan House, and probably needs 30 grand in renovations. No garage or anything else in the backyard. Hell, I’d buy it for $9,000 tonight without even looking at it.

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Communing with a historic home

Sometimes I wander around the house and just look at things a little closer. I’ve learned some tremendously interesting things by doing this.

For instance, the “public” areas of the house (main rooms on the first floor) have a style distinct from the “private” areas (kitchen, second floor), right down to the hardware and door patterns. Tonight, my mind focused on the bead pattern that repeats on the main stair case in wood *and* on all the door knobs and plates in the public areas.

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The value of being young and stupid

I’m working on putting together a photobook of our work on the Sullivan House. It’s gotten to the point now where I have trouble conveying the energy that’s gone into its restoration when giving a tour. I have all of these photos on Facebook and elsewhere and no way to show them to someone who’s physically in the house. Every tour is different because it depends on what I happen to remember at that moment and what the guest is interested in.

Woodbridge House in Detroit interior

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The decision to mortgage

Most folks don’t get to decide whether to get a mortgage. If you want a house, you need a mortgage, full stop. My situation was a bit unusual. I managed to buy the house for cash, then used money from friends & family and signature loans to complete most of the repairs. The house means a great deal to me, and many more folks than me have invested their time and money in it. Allowing a bank to put a lien against it, especially after our nightmarish experience with the Beierman Ave house, seemed really risky.

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The “polar vortex” descends on the Sullivan House

After our New Years’ guests departed, a new unwelcome guest arrived. Michigan was enveloped in the heart of the polar vortex that descended from the north in early January, sending temperatures plunging into the danger zone. With it came more than a foot of snow, dumped over the course of three days. For a week, most of our attention was focused on finding and blocking drafts in the house, and trying to stay warm.

The month of January broke the all-time record for snowfall in Detroit, set in 1908, with over 37 inches records. On February 1st, to celebrate, it dumped another inch. A week later, another foot. Yesterday, it came down again. All the stores are out of shovels and salt, and our snowblower broke last year and cannot be resuscitated. You could sum our experience as: 5 guys, 1 shovel.
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An hour with Tony

He was willing to sell. Then he wasn’t. Now he was again. So with an envelope of cash, I set off to the east side to meet a man named Tony to right a wrong.

Well, sort of. The “wrong” was one of the two major wounds inflicted on the historical quality of the Sullivan House before I bought it. One was the floor joists in the carriage house being cut. More on that in a minute. The other: its missing stained glass window. I’d tracked it down and thought I had arranged to buy it, but Tony’s sentimentality for the window made him back out. Some unexpected bills brought him back to the table.
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Party in the fallout shelter

My basement is a fallout shelter. The 1950s yellow and black sign, complete with radiation symbol, points the way down the dank stairs. At the bottom, a short metal door surrounded by crude metal flashing. The walls around you are damaged and irregular. You feel a sense of claustrophobia grow as you descend to and thru the passage.

What you find on the other side is a cross between a serial murderer’s lair and a scene from the television series Hoarders. Walls built of scrap wood and paneling surround you. A confusing circle of doorways, long missing their doors, leads you thru the damp basement across filthy cement floors and under thick cobwebs. Thousands of feet of galvanized pipes and wires run this way and that, the remnants of eleven decades of revised decisions.


Pieces of old musty cabinetry, spare tools, and years of junk surround you. An empty frame here, a frameless mirror there. One room is floor-to-ceiling filled with junk, accentuated by two 1970s porcelain toilets side by side in the middle. Coal and mold stains on the brick foundation walls and columns, creepily illuminated by a few old pull chain light that mysteriously burn out with alarming regularity. Everything seems wet from water seeping thru the walls. Radiator pipes are everywhere and you duck between them, narrowly missing the disintegrating cloth that covers a think layer of asbestos.

This is that basement. The one every horror movie warned you never to enter.

So I decided it’s where we should throw a 4-day party.

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Taking DIY up a notch

On Saturday, Aaron and I attended an all-day workshop presented by the Michigan Historic Preservation Network. It was for historic property owners and covered topics like wood window restoration, lead dangers, plaster repair, masonry, and weatherization. They also handed out a Resource Directory of folks who do restoration work in the Detroit area. Man, where was this two years ago!? It was like being casually handed a treasure map. I’ve already emailed a company to get a quote on facade repairs.

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Let the sunshine in

I’ve been having more frequent conversations with my nextdoor neighbor, who has shed more light on the history of my house. For instance, the three trees along the street in front of our houses were planted by the previous owner. He’s told me stories of how homes on our street traded hands. And just the other day, he told me about the missing window in my stairwell.

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An abrupt reversal of fortunes

Back when everything went to hell on closing day, I can’t impress the importance of this passage enough:

After some back and forth with my family, it became apparent we had made a grave error. I had many thousands of dollars less available than we thought. My careful plans and budgeting evaporated, buffers transformed into impossible shortfalls.

By “many thousands” I meant “tens of thousands”. It was an epic accounting error that I never truly overcame. One day, I’ll write down my own thoughts on how the middle class is locked out of Detroit. For now, the aforelinked article is great reading. The short version is: how the hell are you supposed to get affordable loans to fix a house when you can’t take out equity against it because it needs repairs? You don’t.

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The little things you ignore

I bought the Sullivan House over a year and a half ago. We’ve renovated the kitchen and bathroom, had chimneys repaired and removed, dug out the foundation, had new rain gutters installed, and painted the entire interior. Hundreds of man hours and tens of thousands of dollars have been poured into this house.

Today, I finally picked the mailbox up off the porch and hung it with two screws.

Spring breaks

When the weather finally broke, it did so with conviction. Two weeks of perfect weather announced spring’s overdue arrival. At the Sullivan House, it meant open windows, and open doors. The safety gates I installed at both sets of porch stairs plus a backyard privacy fence means the dogs get free range from the front porch to the backyard in warmer weather.

As plants and weeds started poking out of the ground, we quickly pivoted priorities to landscaping before it could get out of control. Our mantra is low-maintenance. Anyone who visited us frequently in Warren knows how overwhelming that yard was (double lot, huge hedges, huge beds, and a pond). We can tackle projects, but everything falls apart when it’s time for regular maintenance. We all hate mowing the lawn. Overgrown lawns and hedges were hallmarks of our previous home.

So my plans to sod our backyard disaster here didn’t ring true. We still had ivy around the perimeter and the south side of the yard was still mostly covered by it, but it was largely crushed by the backhoe and subsequent foot traffic in the central part of the yard. Thistles had come last year in force and it took days to beat them back. Sod seemed the obvious solution, but I felt like that much more lawn would put us back into motored lawnmower territory.

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Closed windows

The neighborhood has felt different to me since the boiler started its work this fall. A summer of work on the front porch and with open windows made me feel connected to the neighborhood. I was inundated with neighbors saying hello. I felt like neighborhood crime was an aberration – who could commit theft or assault when the neighborhood was overflowing with concerned citizens?

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To Hell and back: A year later

An incomprehensible amount changed in the year and a day since everything went to Hell. I fell in love. I became a Detroiter. I own a toolbox now, am a mean hand with a drill, and can coat a wall in drywall mud like a pro. I’ve painted walls 35 different colors, met dozens of new people, and vaulted over fences to answer cries for help. I have a contractor, an electrician, a boiler specialist, an attorney, a mason, and a hundred volunteers. We bought a stake in the city and brought a house back to life. Everything is different, and so, so good.

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Microsoft Store coming to Detroit

A job posting on Microsoft’s Careers page lists a position open for “Store Manager” in Detroit, Michigan. This is interesting because while many new restaurants and bars have opened, there’s been a dearth of new higher-end retail shops in the city for the last several years—especially downtown. According to the Detroit Free Press, Moosejaw is the only “significant” new retailer to open downtown since CVS in 2006.

Microsoft Retail Store Interior

Image from

The job posting claims the location is Detroit, Michigan. Sometimes, this means metro Detroit, but I think in the case of Microsoft Careers, they actually mean Detroit—they list other Michigan cities specifically (such as Southfield, as shown in this job search). It’s reasonably safe to assume that a retail store opening in Troy (say, at Somerset Collection) would say Troy, MI. Furthermore, a listing of other Microsoft retail stores around the country shows that in other large metropolitan areas, such as Los Angeles, the individual cities are indeed shown on the listings. Continue reading

A shooting in Woodbridge, and why I don’t feel unsafe

2013 shooting in Woodbridge, Detroit

Tonight, at least ten shots were fired from an SUV, and a man was killed on the sidewalk, about a thousand feet from my front door.

Lincoln jumped up from his chair and ran downstairs, asking if we had heard the commotion (we didn’t). He heard the gunshots and saw the SUV speeding south down Avery.

I called Wayne State Police and was told by the dispatcher that they already had several calls about the incident and they were on it, and did I have a description of the vehicle? I did not and they thanked me for the call. By the time I hung up, there were four police cars arriving on the scene; this is less than five minutes after the shooting. Both Detroit and Wayne State Police were on the scene, and EMS was on its way.

I immediately went to a private Facebook group for our neighborhood and asked if anybody knew what happened. Within moments, responses started flooding in. Continue reading

The pub comes alive, or, “suddenly, a dining room”

The last unfinished area in the living space of the house was the dining room. I’ve taken to calling it “the pub,” and its full name (courtesy of its five sponsors) is the “Mighty Worriers Mead Hall.” I really like its position at the rear south corner of the house, out of the normal traffic flow between the front and rear doors. It has very heavy wood trim and crown molding (including wood beams across the ceiling) that immediately made me want to style it on a classic British pub.

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Some parts of the city are a warzone, and the bad guys are winning

Goldengate Street, Detroit.

Detroit is fascinating, wonderful, and terrible. We’ve had our share of ups and downs, and we hear gunshots at night, and there are car thefts and vandalism on our street, but none of us have any regrets about where we’ve moved, and so far at least, the positive far outweighs the negative.

But it’s not like that for everyone. We’re lucky that this neighborhood is among the safest in the city. We’re lucky that we have neighbors that watch out for suspicious activity and that watch out for each other. We’re luck that when we call the police, they show up immediately. Other parts of the city are not so fortunate as us.

A discussion on Reddit today reminds us that while positive growth is happening all over our city, other parts are a terrifying warzone, and the bad guys are winning. We can’t close our eyes to this and pretend everything’s okay—it’s not. Not by a long shot.

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Getting stuff delivered in Detroit with Konbini

Konbini employee delivering groceries in Detroit

Yesterday I was followed by a Twitter account named @Konbini_CC. The words jumped out at me immediately: “Detroit’s Delivery Service”. I dug in a little deeper and discovered that Konbini is a service that promises home delivery of sundry groceries and packaged food items anywhere in our neighborhood as well as Corktown, Lafayette Park, New Center, Downtown, and Midtown.

A few things really stood out and they are things that I believe will make this work:

  • The items themselves are reasonably priced and available in individual quantities.
  • The entire system is all e-commerce and you can use debit or credit cards
  • The delivery fee is reasonable
  • They deliver until 3am

This is a novel idea for a small business, and it’s one that I think will work in this area. It’s like other quirky, modern small businesses (such as Detroit Greencycle curbside recycling pickup in Woodbridge) that have popped up to serve the burgeoning group of connected consumers in these growing areas of the city. Continue reading

Have you thought about tearing it down?

These days, when I get the frequent “How’s the house going?” question, my answer is that our remaining big-ticket items are the rain gutters, siding, and carriage house. I have a contractor hired for the gutters, the siding is on tap for summer 2013, but the carriage house is a story unto itself that I only tell if they really want details.

One of the last wooden carriage houses in Woodbridge

If I recite the carriage house’s litany of problems and recommended repairs (a long list of structural reinforcements), the inevitable next question is, “Have you thought about just tearing it down?”

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You see a lot of entertaining things when you spend time walking around the city.

Today we took a four mile walk with our dog. We went from the house to the corner of Woodward and Warren, down Woodward to Ye Olde Butcher Shoppe, and then back to Woodbridge via MLK Jr.

Walking in Detroit

Along the way, we saw a lot of entertaining and interesting sights. The first thing I noticed it that there is some kind of new art project/tagging project going on. On random sidewalk blocks and spots on the ground throughout my entire path, I saw black squares spraypainted with yellow crosses. I have no idea what they symbolize or what the message is. Continue reading