Detroit and suburban fans of DIY and HGTV Rehab Addict contracting/design star Nicole Curtis got to see the final product firsthand today as she opened the doors to 4926 North Campbell, a fire-damaged Detroit home Curtis saved from the dozer.
A self-taught home rehabber and designer, Curtis has developed a cult-like following not only because she swings a mean sledgehammer but because she advocates for saving old homes. Rather than quickly renovating homes with modern products and flipping them, Curtis tries to salvage as much of the original materials as possible. When she can’t do so, she looks for products of the same era to keep as true to the home’s original build.
Curtis’ feisty attitude and passion endear her to many too!
A native of Lake Orion, Michigan, Curtis now resides in Minneapolis where her on-air rehabs usually take place. Earlier this year, however, Curtis purchased a Detroit home. I believe a fan somehow made a plea for her to save this house. Anyway, this week, the shows showcasing the Detroit rehab will finally debut.
In what has become a Nicole Curtis tradition, she holds “open houses” so that fans can see the finished product. Today’s open house was scheduled for 1 PM to 2 PM – only one hour! I expected her to have a huge turnout. How could we all see the house in an hour? I arrived a few minutes after one and the line was long. Periodically, Curtis spoke from the porch and assured us we’d all get inside, even if they had to stay open ’til 10 PM. Not too many people were standing in line after I exited the house, so open house probably ended around 3:30ish.
Not only did people get a glimpse inside 4926 North Campbell and the opportunity for a photo op with Curtis, at $5 a person, the open house was a successful fundraiser for the Brian Thomas Cancer Fund. Thomas, a friend of Curtis, is the founder of Road Warriors Corp, an organization that promotes running as a means to raise funds and awareness for numerous causes.
Last year, the Okeechobee Middle School science teacher and two former students ran from Palm Beach, Florida to Lake Orion, Michigan to raise funds and awareness for colon cancer. In May 2013, Thomas stood on the sidelines as students and teachers ran to raise funds to support his battle with skin cancer which was diagnosed during spring break. The melanoma weakened his body so much he was unable to finish teaching the rest of the year.
In true Detroit and suburban Detroit spirit, 600 people (according to Curtis’ tweet as she made her way to the airport) turned out to support their native daughter in her efforts to restore our beloved city one house at a time and generously support another in need.
Will one nicely restored home be enough to turn around a neighborhood where a few doors down and across the street, a burned out house stands along with five or six boarded up homes? The future will tell. It would be wonderful if even just 1% of those in attendance today would be inspired enough to purchase a neglected home on the block and further extend Nicole’s vision by restoring them. The rest of us, who don’t have the funds, could provide the muscle. This collective, transformative effort could become Detroit’s version of Curb Appeal – The Block.