HGTV Rehab Addict star Nicole Curtis carries a tangible reminder of Detroit's Ransom Gills house in her pocket, a black and white photograph of the famously turreted Alfred Street mansion. "I have an original photo, and I look at it every day," she said. Curtis has spent untold hours working to restore the house, purchased at auction by Quicken Loans. Bedrock, Quicken Loans' real estate services subsidiary, oversees some aspects of the build, which is the main reason Ransom Gillis house has been divided into two separate units.
"I try to keep everything single family," Curtis said, explaining that she almost always owns the houses she works on for her show. Though she is unwavering in her commitment to the project, she describes her role at Ransom Gillis as consultant. Curtis calls making Ransom Gillis into a duplex "challenging," and says it wasn't her call.
"Bedrock is providing all the rough construction," she said, adding that this meant that some decisions about the home's exterior were out of her hands. "My guys are on the inside. There are things I didn't have a say in — the roof, the porches, how many units. I fought to keep it historically correct."
Critics claim that Curtis takes far longer to complete work than Rehab Addict depicts, and that houses may stand vacant or incomplete for months. Some even call what Curtis does interior decorating, a few of our readers among them. When we asked her about the D word, Curtis reacted with characteristic toughness.
"I've never decorated anything in my life, except for my Christmas tree," she said, before turning the conversation back to the home itself. "The other night we were there til 3 in the morning. Everything in there is custom made and as historically accurate as possible," she said, adding that recreating accurate interiors required research and careful consideration. "There was nothing left to the house that was original."
The open house for Ransom Gillis takes place this Sunday, Nov 1. While the time is still TBD, Curtis' initial Facebook announcement points to an afternoon start. Lines for Curtis' open houses typically wrap around the block, so get there early, and expect to wait.
·Dan Gilbert Sponsors Nicole Curtis Rehab of Ransom Gillis House [Curbed Detroit]
·Nicole Curtis: It's now easier to renovate in Detroit [Detroit Free Press]
·Nicole Curtis Announces Open House at Ransom Gillis [Curbed Detroit]