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Historic Brush Park Home Gets New Owner & Some TLC

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This post was authored by Amy Swift


Photos by Amy Swift

After the greater part of a century, Brush Park's Nationally Registered Bernard Ginsburg house has changed hands and is undergoing some renovation. We were recently invited over to check the place out and talk to the owner about plans for the house. Apparently there was some trouble finding comps for the appraisal, which we've seen before, so it took nearly a year to finally close this past August at $148,500. Since then, progress has been rapid as the owner works to restore and modernize the home for a mid-December move in. Looks like he'll be home with bells on!

Built in 1898, the Ginsburg House is an early work of the Nettleton & Kahn office, and is said to be the earliest Kahn building still standing. The house, designed in an English Renaissance style common to Albert Kahn's early work, is a contributing building to the city designated Brush Park Historic District and was designated to the National Register of Historic Places in 1991. It is a two-and-a-half story red brick manor-style home with carved stone detailing.

The most notable feature of the home is the large front porch supported by six hand-carved wooden caryatids. Only two of the original caryatids remain due to rot, so four are actually formed and painted foam. As this property is only a few blocks from the Tigers and Lions venues it is prone to vandalism by visiting fans that park in the neighborhood. Thus, one of the foam caryatids was ripped off a few years back by a visiting Tigers fan looking to take home a souvenir. Awesome. Another sports-related incident? Apparently the previous owner returned home one Sunday a few years back to find that a group of Lions tailgaters had set up shop on her historically significant porch, charcoal grill and all! Seriously people. Grow some manners.

The house has been cared for by the same family for over 60 years. According to the new owner, the woman that sold the house was raised by her grandparents in the home, though it is unclear how long the grandparents owned the residence prior to her living with them. When she returned home after college, she converted the third floor into an apartment for herself, complete with red velvet and metallic gold poppy wall paper (we could not make that up). After her grandparents passed she inherited the house and has lived there ever since. Currently in her 70s, the house had become too much work for her to keep up with so she has now moved on.

Over the years the original room layout was altered to accommodate various updates, but the previous owner was careful to build new walls around existing moldings and doors. Thus, the ongoing demolition process has been like an archaeological dig for buried treasure. Many original built-ins and details still remain in the home that if parted out would likely prove more valuable than the price that was paid for the house. Thankfully the new owner is better intentioned than our favorite Ohioan to hate, Van Dyke mansion scrapper owner Mike Mallet.

The house will remain a single family residence for the new owner, but a 1-bedroom apartment is planned for the basement. We'll let you know when that's available to rent. In the meantime, check out the renovation shots, that amazing staircase, and the million-dollar view of downtown from the roof. Looking forward to the finished results.

· Here is Brush Park Sporting Some Circa 1990 Fall Fashions [Curbed Detroit]
· Lucien Moore Home, Now The Edmund, Is Renovated & Renting [Curbed Detroit]
· Before and After [Curbed Detroit]