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Inside Aretha Franklin’s former Detroit home

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A rose is still a rose here

A white carpet in the living room has a red rose stitched in it. The room has three rows of leaded-glass windows and a fireplace.

Aretha Franklin’s last Detroit property sold this October for $300,000. The Queen of Soul hadn’t lived in the 1927 Detroit Golf Club home for about ten years, but her style remained. Developer Anthony O. Kellum purchased the property and is planning an extensive renovation of the home.

Exterior of a brown brick Tudor with some light frost on the yard out front. Photo by Michelle & Chris Gerard

The house will need mechanical work first—there’s currently no heat or electricity. They’ll keep the slate roof, which needs extensive repairs. Original details will remain, but many cosmetic renovations are planned.

One wall will come down in the house—the wall separating the kitchen and the dining room. The very blue, sprawling kitchen will be gutted and modernized. We asked about the unique doors in that wall that will come down, and Kellum said he’d keep them and hopefully use them somewhere. The original herringbone flooring in the dining room will stay.

Roses cover the house—in the wallpaper, the fixtures, the carpet. Aretha lived here when she recorded the album A Rose Is Still A Rose.

A narrow hallway that has yellow wallpaper filled with roses.

Aretha’s pink bed remains in the master bedroom. The master bath will also be redone, but the main components—the fireplace and the red tub—will be kept. Kellum will call in a designer to work on the configuration of this large room.

One design decision Kellum is debating is what to do with the glass-encased back sunroom/all-seasons porch. Should it be torn down and opened up? Rebuilt?

A stoned-floored room with arches leading to a room enclosed by windows.
A fall yard with some landscaping at the back of the house, which has a solarium and bay windows on a stone section of the facade.

Franklin’s former home has six bedrooms, five baths, and spans somewhere around 6,000 square feet. It also has a three-car garage and sits at the 7th hole of the Detroit Golf Club.

Kellum has an ambitious May deadline to finish the renovations. The PGA tour comes to the Detroit Golf Club in June, and Kellum is hopeful the house can be rented out to a golfer.

Part of the sale included the lot next door, which Kellum plans to build a home on (the Detroit Golf Club is not a historic district). After the renovations are completed, the house will list for sale.

As for the rose in the main living room, Kellum is considering options for preserving it, although it’s unclear what that could look like. The home is full of older charm—stone fireplaces, wood beams, elaborate tiling in bathrooms, unique archways and doors—along with signature details from the Queen of Soul. Here’s a look around.

Found in the master bathroom