old gm building
Bartleby the Scrivener vegan27
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Farmington Hills, That's where I want to be! (gimme, gimme) Living in Farmington Hills...
One of the few coworkers who I talk to recently moved from Detroit to Farmington Hills. The other day I asked how she likes it up there. She loves it except for two problems: 1) the long commute, and 2) (and I quote) "it's too quiet". I immediately made a mental note: move to Farmington Hills, Michigan.

I looked online for houses for sale in Farmington Hills, and found this one listed for just over $100,000:



The Mark Arnold house was built around 1837 in an unincorporated settlement known as Sleepy Hollow, near where Drake Road crosses the upper branch of the Rouge River. That house was gutted, but any historic house in my price range will need a full renovation no matter what.

This was me when I saw the photos on the real estate website:



The listing now shows that it's off the market. It's not that I expected the buy the house, but it does go to show you what kinds of 19th century houses are hidden in the suburbs among the postwar mishmosh. This document (PDF) lists a surprisingly large number of historic houses in Farmington Hills dating as far back as the 1830s! Not that any of them are for sale...

The list of the most desirable neighborhoods (city or suburbs) goes something like this: Corktown, Woodbridge, Ferndale, Royal Oak, etc. But think about who's moving there. It's people who are in a perpetual party mood. They have their own idea of what "fun" is and can't conceive of those who have a different definition. The logo on the side of the Lager House reads "Live life loud." That's a sentence written in the imperative tense. It's a command. There is no other valid way of enjoying life. If you were to ask these kinds of people what their ethical beliefs are, they might say things like "Treat others like you want to be treated," and "Do what you want as long as it doesn't bother anybody else." These ideals are selectively ignored. But instead of imposing my lifestyle on the Corktown/Woodbridge/Ferndale/Royal Oak partiers, it makes sense for me to seek out a place more in tune with my personality.


(This is also me.)


It's kind of a shame that the loud people moved into most of the areas that are considered urban and walkable (by Michigan standards). Birmingham is quiet and surprisingly walkable, but a 1919 fixer-upper I found is asking $234,000. The taxes on Sarah's rental house (a small, aluminum-sided bungalow in need of updates that we jokingly call the "one-house ghetto of Birmingham") are over $3,600 a year. Also, it's frigging Birmingham.

What I'm counting on is finding an old farm house that never got knocked down. They're still around, if you look on the old, main roads in what was once farmland. Joe's mom lives in one on Utica Road in Fraser, and his uncle has one on Moravian in Clinton Township. And sometimes you find pockets of unexpected walkability. The Kingston house in Fraser was within a five minute walk of a grocery store, hardware store, bank, gym, and party store.

One thing that bears mentioning here is Sarah's awesomeness and the long-term planning that seems appropriate at this point in our relationship, which is going very well. She isn't interested in living in Detroit or having a long commute, and I'm not particularly attached to my job. Instead of staying in Detroit forever, a better plan would be to one day live with my vegan veterinarian girlfriend in a renovated farm house in a quiet community. How hot would that be?


This, but with more pitbulls. (Image source.)

My dude doesn't want to live in the city either. We're not at the point where we're really talking about it, but it'll be an issue at some point. Because I don't want to live in Melvindale. He wants to move to the Plymouth area eventually which is strange to me, but a friend just moved there and...it's really nice. sigh.

Yeah, Plymouth has some good houses and a nice downtown. I see being a productive, tax/rent-paying citizen in Detroit as doing some kind of community service that eventually ends.

I guess in the suburbs you think of Detroit as being a totally burned-out wasteland until you discover a few pockets of attractive houses in walkable, livable areas; and in Detroit you view the suburbs as a nightmare of ranch houses and strip malls until you discover a few pockets of attractive houses in walkable, livable areas.

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