Write A House, a nonprofit dedicated to supporting Detroit’s emerging literary scene, has given Brooklyn poet Casey Rocheteau a new home. The organization purchases vacant houses in the No Ham/Banglatown neighborhood of Detroit and awards them to writers after renovating them. Rocheteau was recently announced as the winner of the Write A House residency, and she moved to Detroit on November 1, 2014.
Casey and her cat, Omar, moved to Detroit and have transitioned seamlessly to life in the city. Casey currently writes about her experiences and new neighborhood on the Write A House blog. Since she’s moved in, Casey has made the house her own, adding bright pops of color and personal touches to showcase her sense of style. To see exactly how Casey has decorated her house, check out the complete Write A House Gallery.
The home was in desperate need of repair when Write A House purchased it for $1,000. The nonprofit partnered with Detroit-based designer Patrick Thompson and contractor Zac Cruse in an effort to make the building livable again. Detroit Young Builders, a nonprofit that offers vocational training for young Detroiters who plan to get their GED and find employment in the construction industry, also pitched in to finish the home’s renovations between May and October 2014.
Now completed, the home is a 900-square foot one-bedroom that boasts a new bathroom, kitchen, insulation, cork flooring, and a reconfigured layout. When it was purchased at auction, the home lacked proper pipes and HVAC. To transform it into a cozy, livable house, Zac Cruse and Detroit Young Builders gutted the home and rebuilt the interior.
“We really tried to keep the design simple since we were unsure who would be occupying the space as we were designing. We selected materials that we felt would complement the style of whomever ended up living in the home,” said Thompson. “We are thrilled with the personality that Casey has brought to the home, that’s always the most rewarding part of the process for us.”
Thompson has already started consulting on the second house that Write A House plans on renovating. Though the nonprofit only gave away one home in 2014, it plans to give away three this year. Applications for the next Write A House round will open in April.