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J.D. Baer House Resurrected by Detroit Preservationist Pereira

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Photos by <a href="http://www.michelleandchrisgerard.com/"> Michelle and Chris Gerard</a><br>
Photos by Michelle and Chris Gerard

While Ransom Gillis House awaits interior remodel—aka, waits for Nicole Curtis to build an entirely new house inside its brick shell—local developer and preservationist Alex Pereira is already hard at work on another venerable piece of 19th century Detroit. The home, a massive single-family Victorian on Trumbull Street, will take at least a year to rehabilitate. This house has most of its original woodwork, including gorgeous banisters and window casing with bullseye trim. The home had three fireplaces. Two are coming out to make way for things like a first-floor powder room, while the third, an old treasure covered in 150-year-old tile, awaits restoration.

Upstairs, little remains, but there's a massive claw foot tub one hopes will stay, and potential for at least four bedrooms. Builders are completing structural work now, including replacing the roof trusses and correcting other problems in what Pereira calls "this collapsing mansion." Periera, who also rehabbed the Lorax Apartments on Trumbull, plans on making the house his family home, and possibly converting 1000-square feet of basement into a very cool urban apartment to rent. The home, built by J.D. Baer, according to Periera, has 10-foot-tall ceilings, many windows, and a very bright interior, despite the boarded windows and construction dust.

This is a Detroit preservation project worth watching, and seeing how it evolves over a year should be a real treat. —Rebecca Golden