'Rehab Addict' sets sights on Brush Park

Maureen Feighan
The Detroit News
  • Lake Orion native will likely rehab 1876 Ransom Gillis house
  • Renovations to start this summer

HGTV star Nicole Curtis has pinpointed her next fix in Detroit.

In an interview with WXYZ on Tuesday, the Lake Orion native and star of the hit HGTV show "Rehab Addict," says she and her team have set their sets on Detroit's Brush Park for their next project. And while she didn't say it directly, the 1876 Ransom Gillis house seems to be the house she's targeting.

"We have been staring down Brush Park for a long time and I think we finally found a way to make the numbers work and do one of the most infamous homes in that area," Curtis told WXYZ.

The Ransom Gillis house, on Alfred Street just north of downtown, was built in 1876 by Gillis, a merchant. Gillis lived there a few years before building a house next door, according to the Brush Park Preservation Society. Abandoned sometime in the 1960s or '70s, the house has essentially sat vacant since 2005.

Joe Grove, creator of the Brush Park Preservation Society, says Curtis' decision to renovate the house, which has appeared in several TV shows and movies, is huge for Brush Park. But Curtis, who has renovated two other early 20th century Detroit homes for her show, has a huge job ahead of her.

The Gillis house at one point had no floors or roof, says Grove, a former Wayne State University and College for Creative Studies student who attends Ball State in Indiana. Grove was part of a group that watched over the Gillis house and three others on Alfred Street for three years, cleaning up trash and alerting police about possible break-ins.

Renovating the house "will be a tremendous undertaking," says Grove. "... This will absolutely be the biggest job she's had in front of her."

Still, Grove says the Gillis home has "good bones to work with." He likens it to the Michigan Central Depot, an iconic Detroit building that has been through so much but continues on.

"This house doesn't give up," says Grove.

Curtis — who told WXYZ she considers Detroit her home base now (she also has a home in Minneapolis) — said she plans to start renovations this summer.


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