Archives for October 2015

The metal workers

Gabriel and Amy Craig, owners/founders of Smithshop in Corktown, seem to have metal in their blood, which you'd think would be kind of painful until you take a look at how that particular condition has affected their artwork. You never quite knew what metal could do until you see what the two of them can do with the metal that they do. “Basically we make just about anything out of metal,” said Amy. Take the railings of the El Moore, for example, the ones you can see gracing the balconies of the 2nd, 3rd, and 4th floors. They probably look like the original railings that were there more than  a century ago when the El Moore was first built, and in a way they are. But then not quite... “The railings are actually a restoration of the original. Probably about 20 percent of them are … [Read more...]

When the plan leaves the page

When I began working at the El Moore last March, its sustainable renovation was nearly 90 percent complete. Its three floors of annual residential apartments were already beginning to receive many of their finishing touches. I began by participating in early policy building, aesthetic group design sessions and happily helping out with decisions on things as varied as: What kind of vacuum should we buy? How much light should come through the window shades in the bedrooms? Should the china in the Parlor be new or vintage? It was exciting and engrossing to be on this conveyor belt of short term, targeted research and procurement. You get used to making decisions in planning mode. Planning mode becomes the norm. There are times when you can plan and design and set things into motion and there … [Read more...]

Sam the turnkey

Neither fish nor foul, October has always been like a stepping stone into the jaws of winter. And so it was on that dreary Friday afternoon as the El Moore stood silently against the gray sky, an echo of a much grander once-upon-a-time buried out of sight and out of mind in the memories of those who had come and gone through its doors for more than a century. Like a dead relative, the El Moore now lived in the dreams, smiles, and frowns of others, seemingly destined to fade one shade at a time as their memories of a grand red brick building began to be replaced by more recent experiences and events. None of which meant anything to Sam, who sat outside in a dusty red pickup truck wearing a gray hoodie beneath a thick red and black plaid work coat and jeans as he checked a small pile … [Read more...]

Outdoor Photos – October, 2015

Now that we have landscaping, we're enjoying watching their foliage through the seasons. Here are a few photos from this fall. In addition, I've included a photo of the foundation for our bench outside of the elevator tower, and of one of our rain barrels. … [Read more...]

More Furnishings for the Hostel Rooms

We've been working to furnish our main floor hostel rooms with period furniture. We've begun acquiring some beautiful pieces, some of which I photographed last week. Here are some more. One piece requires a bit of explanation. The headboard with the top rollers comes from the Green Garage. It was an old rolling door that was found in our attic. It has now been resurrected as a headboard for one of our beds. Take a look at our most recent acquisitions. … [Read more...]

Voices of Detroit: Janet Webster Jones, Owner, Source Booksellers

With all of the recent discussions about the “new” businesses and residents now populating Detroit, often overlooked are the “old” businesses and business people that have been here in Detroit for decades, fighting, striving, surviving, and even thriving against great odds. Some of those odds have very little to do with Detroit per se, but are new national trends, such as the dearth and death of the traditional independent and corporate-owned bookstores due to the explosive growth of online options such as Amazon. But this IS Detroit, and as we all know by now, “Detroit Hustles Harder.” A Detroit business, an independent bookstore, no less, has been here for over twenty-five years, and is still here welcoming both “new” and “old” Detroiters to Midtown, and teaching the youngin’s how it’s … [Read more...]

Solar Powering the El Moore

  It seems really strange to be talking about solar energy and the 1898 El Moore building.  It's especially strange when you consider that the building was originally built for both electric and gas lighting...they were not sure electric power would be reliable enough, so the backup was gaslights. But 21st Century renewable power is now powering the El Moore.  The image shows the amount of energy generated in September 2015 from our 42  solar PV panels.  It was 1.36 MWh.  This was enough energy to power all the apartment's electrical demands including appliances, lighting, PCs, TVs, fans, etc as well as all the El Moore common areas in September 2015.    This doesn't include the building-wide geothermal pumps for air conditioning. From a carbon standpoint, we produced the … [Read more...]

“In Detroit, Cheap Eats, D.I.Y. Art and the Charm of Locals”

Last week, the travel section of the New York Times ran this "two days in Detroit" feature that includes mention of the El Moore (among other neighborhood things we love, like the Dally in the Alley and Robert Sestok's new sculpture park). The Grey Lady concisely describes us as a "gorgeous 1898 building recently reopened as sustainable, community-oriented apartment building [that] will soon house a hostel." How about that? … [Read more...]