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L.A. musicians find space to spread out in Detroit

Wes Borland and Carré Callaway’s move to a mansion in Detroit’s Arden Park is documented on the new DIY Network show “Sight Unseen,” premiering Wednesday

Melody Baetens
The Detroit News

Musicians Wes Borland and Carré Callaway moved from Los Angeles to Detroit last year and brought a cable network film crew with them.

After seeing only photos, Callaway — frontwoman of the rock band Queen Kwong — purchased a 6,500-square-foot mansion in Detroit’s Arden Park neighborhood. She and her fiancé Borland, who is best known as the theatrical-looking guitarist for multi-platinum-selling nu metal band Limp Bizkit, saw the inside of the 1920s home for the first time with cameras rolling for DIY Network’s new show “Sight Unseen.”

The home improvement reality show, debuting Wednesday, followed the couple as they renovate the seven-bedroom, 41/2 bathroom home.

The first show of the six-episode series shadows Callaway and Borland as they work with contractors to redo the master bedroom and bath. Much sledghammering, screw gunning and sawing resulted in vintage French doors, new bathroom tile and a custom-made art deco-style bed.

While it’s no secret that reality television has its not-so-real moments, the way Borland and Callaway come off on screen as likeable and creative is real, as is their decision to move to Detroit where they had no friends or family.

“Our friends in L.A. were like ‘that’s the worst idea ever,’” says Callaway, who cites the Stooges as one of her favorite bands. “I thought it was a super-interesting city; I love architecture... I think there’s a lot of depth and complexity to this city.”

“(Detroit is) just sopping with vibe,” added Borland. “L.A. has vibe, but it’s totally fake.”

Besides authenticity, the pair wanted to move to Detroit to have more space. With this seven-bedroom house there’s room for a recording studio where they produce their own music. Right now they’re working on Callaway’s newest Queen Kwong album. She’ll perform Saturday at the Loving Touch in Ferndale and then will take off to the United Kingdom to play some music festivals.

Borland has already finished a solo album, “Crystal Machete,” which he released in May. He says he found working in the home studio during the city’s cold winter months to be helpful.

“My work ethic was so clean and uninterrupted,” says Borland, who also has an in-house art studio for his oil paintings.

Besides art and music, their Detroit home also gives them the room to practice an effort very close to their hearts: animal rescue. They are currently housing around a dozen stray cats that they hope to find homes for. As far as more feral cats around Detroit, they catch, neuter or spay and release them to try to keep the city’s animal population under control.

“We’ve found so many kittens and we’re trying to adopt them out... it’s an ongoing and never-ending process,” Callaway says. “We’re running out of friends and friends of friends to adopt them. We’ve had to stalk out cats and hide from them and just wait and wait everyday,” she says. “This one cat, we noticed she obviously had babies but she would never lead us to her babies because she was so friendly, so we would just stalk her a little and then hide in our car, and we finally saw her jump through a broken window of an abandoned house and we found six kitties and we brought them here and four of them have been adopted.”

She and Borland have plans to work with New York-based developer Ron Castellano to take two abandoned Detroit homes in the Herman Kiefer area and turn one into a cat rescue and the other for dogs.

Callaway, who is tentatively calling the organization Motor Kitty Rescue, also wants to offer assistants to low-income pet owners who feel overwhelmed and offer programs to educate children on animal welfare.

(313) 222-2402

Twitter: @melodybaetens

‘Sight Unseen’

DIY Network

10 p.m. and 10:30 p.m. Wednesday

Queen Kwong

Pig & Whiskey after party with the Erers and Minihorse

Loving Touch

9 p.m. Saturday

22634 Woodward, Ferndale

(248) 820-5596

No cover