THE PROPRIETOR, Meghan McEwen
As the former Editor-In-Chief of a design magazine in Chicago, CS Interiors, I developed an interest in exceptional design and local craft, which continues to inform my freelance work (which has appeared in The New York Times, Travel + Leisure, Martha Stewart Living, and others). Last fall, I founded a travel and design blog called designtripper and something unexpected happened: Inspired by all the independent, micro b&bs and family-owned hotels I was writing about, I decided to open one here in Detroit.
When my husband and his brother bought three decrepit buildings on a run-down block in Detroit almost 10 years ago, they were a complete wreck of a shell, hollowed out and filled with detritus and flying birds. From what we can gather from various newspaper clippings and local history buffs, the buildings have a laundry list of previous lives ranging from Chinese restaurant to flower shop to tailor. But by the time we came along, you could stand in the basement (with trash up to your knees) and see the sky. My husband and I moved into an apartment upstairs that his brother Phil diligently rehabbed while we were packing up our life in Chicago. We nailed our door shut behind us every night with a power drill. Now, seven years - and two kids - later, we live in a rehabbed Victorian a few blocks away (with real locks on the doors), and this b&b is just one example of how far the block has come.
We have so many wonderful neighbors - some new, like the craft cocktail bar The Sugar House and amazing artisan coffee shop, Astro - and old-timers like LJs, where we spent at least five nights a week our first year in Detroit. Sue, the owner, is a gem - and if you're nice, you might even get to hear her sing "Turn the Page" a cappella. Chris Koltay, who tours with bands like Deerhunter doing sound, is a permanent fixture on the block and has a music studio across the street. People shovel out each others' cars around here; the sense of community is really pretty special. One night six years ago, a small group of neighbors stood on the dark street, with no traffic and hardly a street lamp working, to watch the Slows sign go on for the first time. There was champagne and a loud bellowing cheer. I'm happy to report it still feels just as exciting as it did back then.