In 2014, an Indian Village house was featured on Curbed Detroit for all the wrong reasons. Deemed the “disaster mansion,” the listing photos showed a house rotting away, abandoned, in dire need of help. Curbed noted, “This house is a sprawling mess, but it has the potential to be something amazing.”
While its new owners wouldn’t call it a mansion—it’s just a big house—it was basically a disaster when they bought it. Apparently, an eccentric lawyer lived there before with his mother. When she died, he up and left, with everything in the house still in it. There was even a place setting and bottle of wine left at the dining room table.
It was abandoned for 25 years. Neighbors helped keep up the exterior. After the lawyer died, his trust put the house up for sale, and the disaster mansion was born
The listing showed bright green paint on many surfaces, junk, dirt, and all kinds of mess.
Larry and Robin Smith bought the house as retirement approached. In retrospect, Larry says it was good to have a project like this to transition into retirement. The Smiths worked overseas, acquired the house in late 2014, and lived another six months working overseas while the house was prepped for renovation. When they moved to the city, they lived in the carriage house for a while when work was being done on the main house.