A Couple Bought This Detroit House…Without Ever Walking Inside!

updated Apr 30, 2019

A Couple Bought This Detroit House…Without Ever Walking Inside!

updated Apr 30, 2019
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Square feet
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Name: Courtney, Paul, and (daughter) Redding
Location: Corktown — Detroit, Michigan
Size: 2,000 square feet
Years lived in: 1.5 years, owned

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After living in Brooklyn for 10 years, Courtney and Paul relocated to Detroit in 2016 and took a chance on buying a house…without ever walking inside. The couple discovered the property through family: Paul’s cousin moved back to the Motor City a few years before them and found this duplex. Now they all currently live in it! “I was 7.5 months pregnant and had no idea if we would actually be able to move,” shares Courtney. “They sent us pictures from the open house and we decided to buy it with them, sight unseen. I didn’t actually see the house for the first time until several months later with my then eight-week-old daughter in my arms.”

The house dates back to 1903, and Paul and Courtney renovated the entire house, from soup to nuts. It’s filled with stunning wood architecture, and from their backyard you can see the old Michigan Central Station and can hear the barges on the Detroit River.

Courtney’s no stranger to details; she’s an illustrator and runs a business called Swiss Cottage Designs, focusing on custom illustration and graphic design. Thank to her comfortable, eclectic style, this old house has become the perfect family home. And Paul’s cousin isn’t the only family connection to the city; Courtney’s mother grew up here in Detroit…and now she’s raising her daughter here.

Apartment Therapy Survey:

Our Style: A combination of comfortable, found, eclectic and vintage

Inspiration: The cozy homes of our friends, our travels and art.

Favorite Element: The windows at the front of the house and all the original wood details.

Biggest Challenge: Finding the right flow of the house. We took down two walls and went with an open concept. It’s been a challenge finding the right purpose for each space.

What Friends Say: They love that it feels like a lived in home. Everyone says when they enter, they feel comfortable right away, which I love.

Biggest Embarrassment: Our upstairs shower and the kitchen stove. When you are doing so many renovations at once, the budget can get out of control. It’s easy to cut corners in the moment but now that the dust has settled (literally) I have a few regrets.

Proudest DIY: We were lucky that my dad was able to do a lot of the work for us. My husband and I are not very handy! My favorite DIY is through my dad, which is the custom built-in bench and coat rack. I designed it and he built it with the same kind of wood you find throughout the house.

Biggest Indulgence: Creating a master bathroom and getting all new electrical work.

Best Advice: Go slow! It’s easy to get caught up but the more you live in a house, the more you realize the space. We’re still tweaking and changing things daily; it’s a process.

Dream Sources: the historical homes of Detroit


Kitchen — Sherwin-Williams Comfort Gray
Downstairs Main Rooms + Hallway — Sherwin-Williams Alabaster
Entryway — Sherwin-Williams Naval
Playroom — Sherwin-Williams Upward
Downstairs Bathroom — Sherwin-Williams Sensuous Gray
Baby’s Room — Sherwin-Williams Tricorn Black + Extra White
Guest Bathroom — Sherwin-Williams Gorgeous White
Master Bathroom — Sherwin-Williams Incredible White
Master Bedroom — Sherwin-Williams Divine White + Sensuous Gray

Bench and Coat Rack — custom built
Side Table — Grandmother’s
Mirror — Brooklyn Flea Market

Sofa — Second Hand
Mid-century Chair — Overstock
Coffee Table — Vintage
Ice Box — Grandmother’s vintage icebox
Throw Pillows — CB2
Smaller Throw Pillows — Detroit Artifactry + Wood + Cloth
Throw Blanket — Wood + Cloth
Lamp — West Elm
Curtains — West Elm
Rug — Overstock

Toy Storage Unit — IKEA
Tiger Blanket — Roxy Marj
Oil Painting — Christina Watka
Rug — IKEA
Kids Craft Table — IKEA
Wall Craft Holder — CB2

Circle Mirror — CB2
Artwork — City Bird

Table — custom piece hand built in Gowanus, Brooklyn
Chairs — Wayfair
Record Console — West Elm
Kids Table — IKEA
Ceramic Bowl — Abigail Murray

All custom built-in

Bedding — West Elm + Target
Bed — Overstock
Photographs — Morrison Hotel Gallery
Rug — Ballard Designs
Storage — Vintage Pie Safe + Sailor’s Chest

Shower Curtain — Urban Outfitters
Mirror — Detroit Artifactry

Shelves — CB2
Plants — Nest Detroit
Artwork — City Bird

Vintage Rug — Etsy
Bookshelf — Brooklyn Flea Market

Floor Tiles — Soft Tiles
Book Shelf — Target
Rug — IKEA
Crib — IKEA
Dresser — West Elm
Cloud Mobile — Annie’s Blue Ribbon General Store

Thanks, Courtney and Paul!

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