This Detroit Home’s Original Features Are Enviable

This Detroit Home’s Original Features Are Enviable

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Name: Emily Berger-Crawford, husband Chris Crawford, daughter Edie, dog Lilly and cats Chester + Charlie
Location: East English Village — Detroit, Michigan
Size: 1,650 square feet
Years Lived In: 2 years, owned

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Our house is well loved and full of character, a perfect home base for our family to relax and enjoy watching our 4-month-old daughter grow up. Although it’s a constant project (and sometimes headache), we feel like we lucked out in finding it with so many details in tact. Plus it’s a perfect example of the beautiful single-family homes Detroit is filled with.

We were hunting for houses in 2017 all over the city and elsewhere, with a somewhat limited budget. Our realtor encouraged us to consider this neighborhood (East English Village) because of the amazing homes, established and involved community, and affordability. This was the second house we looked at there and within five minutes of being inside we looked at each other and said “I think I’m into this.” We had to look past a lot of grime, dirt, and delayed maintenance, but it was so obvious the bones were intact. Plus it felt like this house was built to last. It was also so nice to see a house that didn’t have years of bad decisions covering up or destroying what the house was originally meant to be. Once it was empty the day we closed the keys it was like walking right back into 1936.

Today we like to hang out and just enjoy playing with our daughter, Edie, and dog, Lilly. We also like to spend time in the backyard when the weather cooperates, and I love gardening and constantly changing things with the design and decor of the house. It’s a bit of an addiction and I get bored with things pretty quickly. We’re both freelance (I’m a food and lifestyle photographer and Chris is a sound engineer), so our lives can be a bit chaotic sometimes. We really value our time at home together.

Almost two years into owning the house, the projects continue (a lot of them not very visible and not so exciting), but we do get to enjoy relaxing here a bit more. We brought our daughter home after she was born in July to this house; because of that it will always be the most special place. We have friends and family come to visit from both nearby and out of town and it’s so nice to have this space to enjoy our time together. We worked really hard to have this and I still pull into the driveway feeling lucky it’s ours.

(Image credit: Apartment Therapy)

Apartment Therapy Survey:

My Style: Collected, vintage, eclectic. Does that make sense? I’ve tried to come up with a term before but I can never really put it together. We have such a combination of things—there’s Art Deco in the house, mid-century modern in some of our furnishings, I also like classic American style. Lots of textiles and patterns, too. I try not to stick to one style too much because I generally feel like it starts to get boring when you do that. I like contrast and mixing different eras and styles.

Inspiration: Vintage, always. We definitely buy new things when we need to, but I really try to bring in vintage pieces as much as possible. I really love @houseofbrinson, @jerseyicecreamco, @carlaypage, and @rockettstgeorge on Instagram. There’s constant inspiration on those pages.

Favorite Element: Definitely the original character and details in the house. The plasterwork—the roping on the ceiling and columns between the dining and living rooms especially, but the fireplace, windows, original bathrooms, and original doorknobs on all of the doors are all pretty special.

Biggest Challenge: Our original pink tile bathroom has been a constant headache since day one. It’s leaked into our kitchen multiple times (which we remodeled when we first moved in), and has cost so much money for the most boring fixes. The fact that it’s three-quarters tile has made life really difficult to do anything in there. And since it’s all original I feel like once we started changing it we’d have to re-do the whole room. So we’ve just taken one step and one fix at a time, knowing it’s a constant project. Also we found a really good contractor who specializes in historic renovation. We wouldn’t trust anyone else to work on it at this point.

Proudest DIY: Our stone fireplace was covered in sloppy paint job remnants and surrounded by a bubbling plaster wall when we first bought the place. I scrubbed the stone with a toothbrush and did some self taught plaster repair on the wall. Also it’s not the most exciting or challenging DIY, but we have painted literally every wall, ceiling, and piece of trimwork in this house except the ceiling in the living and dining rooms. Literally every inch.

Biggest Indulgence: When we renovated the kitchen we splurged on some nice things to really balance out the basic subway tile and Shaker cabinets. The tile behind the stove, lights from Rejuvenation, the hand-forged brass hardware, and brass faucet were pretty pricey, but we felt like it really improved the look. Plus a benefit of having a small kitchen and sticking with the same floor plan is that you can afford to splurge a bit on things like that. The SMEG toaster was also kind of a splurge, because let’s be honest, a $25 toaster works perfectly well. It just doesn’t look as good!

Best Advice: A few vintage pieces go really far to add character to your house, so take some time to look for and collect them.


Living Room and Kitchen — Behr, Silky White
Entryway and Dining Room —Behr, Campfire Ash
Nursery and Bedroom — Behr, Battleship Gray

Table, Crock, Wall Shelf — All vintage
Rug — Target

Blue Velvet Chair — IKEA
Gray Couch — IKEA (similar)
Rug — Rugs USA
Coffee Table —DIY
Ottoman —Target
Bowl — Target
Blue and Gray Pillows (Couch) — Target
Rust Pillow (Couch) — Rail & Anchor
Media Center — Vintage
Plant Table — Vintage
Leather Armchair — World Market
Indigo Mudcloths — Eldorado General Store
Pillows on Armchairs — The Good Rug
Wooden Armchair — Vintage
Bookcase — Target
Weaving — DIY
Sheep Photograph — Photographer’s own

Dining Table — IKEA (discontinued)
Credenza — Vintage
Credenza Runner — Eldorado General Store
Glass Vase — Rose Bredl
Glass Terarrium — Leadhead Glass
Dining Chairs — IKEA (Wicker ones are discontinued)
Bar Cabinet — Vintage
Small Table — Vintage
Hydrangea Vase — Abigail Murray
All artwork — Vintage
Ceramic Talisman- (from a workshop
Ceiling Light — Vintage

Cabinets, Countertop, Sink — IKEA
Faucet — Home Depot
Brass Hardware — Etsy
Bowls, Plates — Combination handmade, Target, thrifted, antique, and Etsy
Lights (ceiling and above sink) — Custom, Rejuvenation
Toaster — SMEG
Kettle — Amazon

Rug — Vintage
Shelf and Mirror — Target

Bathmat and Shower Curtain — Target

Bird Print — Rail and Anchor

Horse Photograph — photographer’s own
Crib — Target
Blanket — Wildship Studio
Rocker — Vintage
Pouf — World Market
Rug — Wayfair
Mobile — Maisonette
Wall Hanging — DIY
Lamp — Target

Bed — Overstock
Quilt and Pillow Shams — Target
Black and White Stripe Blanket — IKEA
Black and White Throw Pillow — CB2
Side Table — Vintage

Thanks, Emily!

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