Journalist, Author & Detroit-Home Renovator

Let There Be Stairs…



It’s been forever since I posted. I know. Some exciting news is coming. Until then, I just wanted to show off a progress photo.

Behold, the stairs.

To the left are the stairs when we bought Matilda; to the right are the stairs today.

You see the wainscoting running up the wall? Yeah… the contractors built that custom to mimic what we pulled out of the First Unitarian Church on Woodward before it burned down.

We have amazing carpenters. We have no idea what this is going to cost — they said it would take a week or so of work; that was several months ago — but it’s hard to quibble when you get results like this. Besides, we long ago lost any control over the project. It’s taken on a life beyond what we could imagine or afford. So now, we just keep shrugging and saying, “eh, we’ll figure out. Don’t know how, but… Sell plasma?”

Our only regret: Our choice of balusters. We loved the organic shape of these when we selected them, but they in no way go with the very heavy wainscoting, which came later. There are parts of our house that are sort of schizo like that. I guess that’s what makes it ours.

This is the wainscoting that came from the church that they matched:

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More church trim being installed.

A post shared by Amy Haimerl (@haimerlad) on

7 Responses to “Let There Be Stairs…”

  1. Elliott Kaebnick

    Looks great, Amy.  I enjoyed shopping photos of your home to Suzanne and her girls when they were here the past two days.

    Hang in there!  The best is yet to come!


  2. Mark Reynolds

    I just stumbled across this. Great work. I bought Arthur Herzog’s piano from there in about 2001 (it only moved four blocks away). Good luck and I offer any advice from restoring a far worse house, 971 Burns. Mark

    • Susan Fried

      Arthur Herzog was a family friend since the 1950s. He was a wonderful story teller and a great cook. Because of his connections, I saw Elvis Presley rehearse at the Fox Theater when he was first starting out; and my teens and early twenties were filled with jazz festivals, and nightclub concerts. Arthur is truly missed!

  3. Mo

    Cheers for sharing your story. Over the past year, I have been reading every single Detroit related story, article, mention, social media post, etc. Voracious consumption of info comes to mind :). Detroit is calling to me and folks like you, Karl and Maddie (so cute) are putting “the real” in the feelings and aspirations that Detroit inspires. Wishing you all the very best with Matilda (I almost did a reno of a 100yr old Victorian in NC christened Vicky). Take care… Mo

  4. Kelly

    Looking forward to more updates! I recently bought my first house, an old farmhouse in need of all updates, and I’ve drawn both inspiration and succor from your stories.


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