What is it about Detroit that makes you want to call it home?
In Detroit, everyone is doing something engag-
ing and of their own creation. The city is a hub of creativity, whether you’ve lived here your whole life or moved here to start something new.
We have a strong entrepreneurial community, where the people who own businesses and buildings have their own proactive ideas for the future of the city. People in the city recognize that for the success of the whole—we need to look beyond individual success and work together as part of a bigger system.
There are many issues that need to be tackled, and no one person can do it on their own. I have lived in many places, but Detroit will always be the one I call home, because I know that I would have never been able to start the Empowerment Plan in any other city in the world.
Tell us a little bit about the building you live in and how you designed your space.
People have many preconceived notions about Detroit, but where I live we walk around at night, ride our bikes around the neighborhood, and new businesses are always popping up.
The Canfield building is located in the heart of the city. The building is an old manufacturing facility that is now home to a beautiful loft space, as well as three different storefronts.
I have been a nomad most of my life, and this is the first time I have really settled into a home. Because of my job I travel quite frequently, and I am doing construction projects every few months. In picking a place to live I wanted a safe haven that was easy to maintain and relaxing.
When I moved in, there was a rather interesting color scheme—purple and green—I had to change it. I used white to open up the space and a relaxing yet vibrant blue instead of a more aggressive color.
The loft bed was already in place but I built the wall under it so that people wouldn’t be looking at a bed from the living room. Most people don’t even realize it’s there until I point it out.
Any tricks to living in just 750 square feet?
You have to have the ability to minimal-ize, which was easy for me because my possessions were few when I moved into the loft. But realistically it’s all about the hidden storage that you can create in a small space.
The bed is on top of a walk-in closet and there are shelves and bins throughout the space for everything else. I enjoy the small space because when I was in a larger loft, I felt like I couldn’t make it my own. I couldn’t afford to furnish a large space, and with my loft now I am able to personalize it and really enjoy it as my home.
We love your blue wall of art. Your collection seems very personal and original…any stories there?
All of the art in my space I have amassed slowly over time. The screen-print of the two men standing next to each other, one in a red jacket and one in black, are the poet Philip Levine and his twin brother Edward, who is a brilliant fine artist. This piece is one of my favorites and one of the most unique. They were born here in Detroit and have accomplished amazing things in their lives.
The charcoal of the horse and rider on my wall was done by Edward and was given to me years ago when he was cleaning out his studio. He and his wife Diane taught me to draw and paint, and were a big influence in my creative life. I spent hours in their studio as a child.
A piece of Diane’s work is on the wall opposite the blue wall, a watercolor of the blue sky and a train. Another of my favorite pieces is the H.G. Wells Time Machine print, done by one of my favorite young artists. He is not a Detroiter but I do love his work, and I love H.G Wells. The rest of the artwork is a mixture of Detroit artists.
It was a lot of fun for us to re-think your space. Does it “live” differently for you now? What’s your favorite thing about it now?
It lives differently in the sense that it feels complete. For someone who has lived a rather nomadic life, it is fantastic to settle into a place and have it feel finished. It is a very good representation of who I am and what I love, highlighting my record cabinet, my art, and my books.
My favorite thing about my space is definitely the living room area. It feels clean, relaxing, modern, and beautiful.
In support of The Empowerment Plan, CB2 is donating $5000 which will provide XX coat bags.
To see how Veronika makes a difference in Detroit, go here to learn her inspiration and work for The Empowerment Plan.