This post was authored by Curbed contributor MJ Galbraith.Photographs by Lauren Piippo.
Once a year, Crain's Detroit and the Michigan State Housing and Development Authority (MSHDA) team up to throw Crain's House Party. The event draws suburbanites into the city, where they attend a cocktail party at one of twenty five featured houses, lofts, and condos. The purpose is to meet "urban dwellers [in order] to experience residential living in Detroit." While we're sure each of the twenty five domiciles were inspiring and, dare we say, amazeballs, we feel awfully lucky to have been assigned to 605 Chicago Boulevard in Detroit's Boston-Edison neighborhood. The 100 year old mansion has been lovingly attended to by homeowner Kevin Prihod and his wife Mary Zatina. The couple provided Curbed rare access to a home that we may or may not have slowly driven by and gawked at plenty of times already.
We can all thank Bob Vila for the home's condition. Prihod had recently moved from Chicago and was living in Waterford when the first episode of This Old House came across the television. The famous home remodeling program inspired Prihod and he thought, "This would be so cool, to buy a house like that." Soon, Prihod moved out of the suburbs and into the city, purchasing the historic home on Chicago Boulevard in May of 1981 for $105K. It's thirty years later and Prihod hasn't stopped working on his home. Not because it's needed so much renovation, mind you, but for the simple joy he gets from tending to the house. "It was in fine shape. We just needed to do our own thing with it."
Prihod and his wife Mary do as much of the renovations as they can. The basement, complete with a bar, billiards room, and kitchen, was unfinished when Prihod purchased the home. Kevin knocked down walls and put new ones up, transforming the old coal room into the Black Dog Pub. Upstairs, they turned a fireplace into a bookshelf and a jack and jill bathroom into an office (among MANY other renovations). Mary took classes at Pewabic Pottery and now one of the bathrooms are covered in tile of her own creation. Current projects include a slow transition from reds, blues, and greens to more subdued browns and forest greens. The outside, too, is seeing changes as the pair are repaving and re-gardening the property. Kevin and Mary cherish their house almost as much as they cherish their dogs.
"We use the house," said Prihod. "Some people don't use the houses."