Sunday, March 1, 2015

Rehab Addict -- Detroit Style

Sometime around two in the morning my eyes pop open.  I listen to the soft snores of my husband and dog, yet sleep evades me.  After twenty minutes I eventually give in to my guilty pleasure-- On  Demand television

That's how I got hooked on Rehab Addict with spunky Nicole Curtis, a transplanted Michigander who unwittingly committed to the restoration of a neglected Tudor home inside the city limits of Detroit.  Having just renovated a Tudor north of the city limits, I took a special interest in Nicole's accidental project.


Snuggled in the spare room, I can watch whatever I chose..

Eventually pup Ralph sleepily joins me. 

Having blown through the complete inventory of Say Yes to the Dress, I stumbled upon Rehab Addict after my daughter spotted Nicole at the Detroit Metro Airport and told me about the show.

A single mom of a teenaged son, Curtis now calls Minneapolis home, but she commutes to Detroit frequently in order to spend time with family.  During one of those trips in the summer of 2014, Nicole found herself bidding on her phone for an empty home offered by the Detroit Land Bank. 

The DLB is an organization that has systemized the sale of abandoned homes inside the city limits of Detroit to a willing buyer who'll commit to improving the property within a specified period of time. 

About the size of a fifth grader, and equally as sassy, Curtis is a Jill of all trades when it comes to renovation--from digging ditches to scraping and painting exterior trim while perched cat-like on the roof. Hoping merely to help drive the price up, she unwittingly bought a nearly 3000 square foot English Tudor in the heart of the city. 

Partial to Englishmen and Tudors, I shared Nicole's goose bumps as she opened the front door for the first time, exposing a shabby, but elegant interior--just as I'd done two years before.

Bill and I spent a decade living in the midst of a progressive remodel of our first home--a white cape cod with black shutters.

Vowing never to live through construction again, we then fell in love with a hilltop Tudor which had been "renovated" in the eighties. 

No one should have renovated in the eighties.

We started all over again.

Moving in during a driving blizzard, we survived in one corner of the house for over a year.  Yet looking back, I wouldn't change one dusty moment.

Detroit is on the brink of its own reconstruction.  With Nicole's fervent belief in the city, the rest of the world is taking notice.

There's something special in this renaissance.  It feels different from past well-intentioned attempts.   

I'm uncomfortable with the interim fame of"ruin porn" addicts who photograph abandoned structures in the city through fancy filters for notoriety and profit.


Perhaps, with tiny Nicole's help, they'll run out of material and head elsewhere. 

Nicole's house is located at 571 East Grand Boulevard, near Belle Isle.  Word has it she may keep this one for herself. 

Take a drive past, toot a horn, or raise a fist.  Just don't interrupt Nicole.  She's busy working.


Each show ends with the reveal of a restored section of the gracious old home. Then Ralph and I head back to bed, visions of scaffolding dancing in our heads.

Rehab Addict is featured on HGTV.

Nicole's newest 2015 Detroit project is located in Brush Park, just north of Comerica Park.  For photos and background see Rehab Addict Brush Park Midtown Edition.



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