Park Update

The park adjacent to the El Moore is coming along nicely. Garden beds have received their initial plantings. The building onsite is near to completion. Right now pavers are going in around the water tank (that will serve as the entrance), and stone pathways are being laid for each entryway to the park. Here are some pictures from today.   … [Read more...]

Video Oral Histories of the Green Garage

Last month, Liz Riedman, and Anthropology Masters student at Wayne State University, interviewed 3 of the original founders of the Green Garage, Helen Bradley and Don and Mitzi Carter. The interviews were recorded and are below for you to listen to. They are brief, each not more than 5 minutes, but they do give a sense of the original thought behind the Green Garage project. Hope you enjoy them! And thanks, Liz, for helping us embark on our oral history journey.   … [Read more...]

Using reclaimed materials at the new retail building – Part 2

Stepping inside the new retail building, the floors are the first thing that you might notice. The wood for the floors comes from 2 deconstructed barns, one from Livingston County, built in 1882, and one from Lapeer County, built in 1914. The wood lives on in our beautiful floors. Looking straight ahead upon entering, you'll notice a staircase made from thin slats of wood. The wood you are seeing is actually leftover material from building the rooftop cabins. The wood is lath that originally was behind the drywall when the El Moore was built. The staircase framing came from a deconstructed house in Detroit. For the stair treads, window trim and baseboards, we were fortunate to find 90% of the wood from 2 deconstructed barns, one from Dundee, built in the 1880's, and one from … [Read more...]

New Work on the Building

Our apartment residents are all settled in, but work is continuing on the building. In particular, the rooftop cabins are beginning to see new beds. The beds, made by Chad Dickinson of Dickinson by Design, are made from the same lath that we used to line the walls of the cabins (you may recall that the lath came from behind the original plaster walls). Here's a picture of one of the beds. When you look at it, keep in mind that the whitish panel in the headboard will soon be covered in fabric. You'll see some round white knobs lining the headboard posts. These were among the hundreds of white knobs we found underground when we dug out the foundation of the elevator tower. We suspect they came from a house that had resided on the property long ago. What they were doing with this … [Read more...]

Urban Cabins Part 2: Not a map — a compass

This is part two in an ongoing series about the El Moore's rooftop cabins. Read Part 1 here. I feel silly in retrospect looking at all those fashionable headboards and hotel furniture without asking myself some fabulously important questions: What are the Urban Cabins? Where do they come from? What do they do? When Tom Brennan suggested the Lakota Medicine Wheel as a type of compass for us, I had no idea what to expect. I wasn't all that familiar with the concept and I suppose I was a bit suspicious at the onset about appropriating another culture's ancient symbol. If we had, for example, begun to use the sacred wheel as a theme, rather than taking some wisdom from it, I wouldn't have been as enthused. However it quickly became apparent that we wouldn't be commandeering the symbol as … [Read more...]

Construction – Week of June 22, 2015

The past 2 weeks we put in plantings around the building, washed the building and then the exterior windows, finished exterior painting and painted the cistern. On June 22, Brendan Ross, a photographer, and Joe Gallagher, construction manager, went up in a lift to photograph the building from a unique angle. Here are some images from the week. … [Read more...]

Construction Update – Week of May 11, 2015

We're heading towards completion, but things never move as fast as we'd like. We have our eye on June 1st, however, the date our first tenants are due to move in, and so completing detail work is becoming vitally important. As soon as painting is completed, we can add things like window shades, refrigerators and hallway carpets. Systems (i.e. the fire alarm system or the elevator) are currently undergoing inspection. Any outstanding issues are being noted and addressed quickly.  Here are a few shots I took during a brief visit on Monday. … [Read more...]

Construction Update – Week of May 4, 2015

The end of the construction is in sight. With residents scheduled to move in by June 1st, everyone involved with the project is working hard to have things ready by the end of this month. We are finishing painting, adding details like hardware to cabinets, assembling furniture, and adding rooftop decking. We are moving through the inspection process as each system becomes complete. If you are reading this, I'll assume you have found our new website (to which this blog is attached). Sections are being added to the site as they are completed. This past week a new residences page was added, with links to our apartment floor plans. After we complete the building and the residents move in, we'll focus our attention on developing a page for our nightly rental units, due to open some time this … [Read more...]