Pleasant RidgeJune 6, 2012
101-year-old house with modern addition highlights tour
By Jeremy Selweski
C & G Staff Writer
PLEASANT RIDGE — Scott Wright was recently informed that his house on Ridge Road is going to be the main attraction of the ninth annual Pleasant Ridge Home and Garden Tour on June 9.
“I’ve been told that a lot of people are coming on this year’s tour just to see our house,” said the 44-year-old Pleasant Ridge resident. “The people that we’ve shown it to so far have been absolutely amazed and blown away, so I have a feeling that there’s going to be a big turnout for the tour.”
The popular event is organized each year by the Pleasant Ridge Historical Commission. While this year’s tour includes five homes plus gardens, along with two gardens only, commission chair Carole Zupan confirmed that the home belonging to Wright and his wife, Erin, is drawing the most attention.
“We would definitely consider that our showcase house this year,” she said. “A lot of people in the community have been talking about it, and I know that people from all over are curious to see it, as well.”
Built in 1911, the 2,500-square-foot bungalow is the second oldest home in the city. But the Wrights have spent the past two years making major renovations, including the addition of a 2,800-square-foot wing — which Scott Wright described as “a modern, Pacific Coast-style addition” — that has stirred up negative reactions from more than a few people in the neighborhood. According to Wright, a number of Ridge residents are upset that the Wrights decided to bring such a large and contemporary addition to a city known for its classic, historic architecture.
“The way I look at is that you shouldn’t try to recreate history — you should create your own history,” he said. “So that’s what we did. We wanted to make sure that the original 1911 foundation stayed intact and was kept as historically accurate as possible. The new addition frames the original house, but also contrasts it with different colors and designs. We basically tried to use some of the same styles, but just in a more modern way.”
The Pleasant Ridge Home and Garden tour features a variety of architectural and agricultural designs that are intended to reflect the diversity and character of the city. In December 2010, the 93-year-old, 0.6-square-mile community achieved citywide designation as a National Register Historic District by the U.S. Department of Interior. The recognition is part of a federal program to coordinate and support efforts to protect America’s historic and archaeological resources.
The Home and Garden Tour has evolved over the years to become Pleasant Ridge’s biggest showcase for its approximately 1,100 homes. It typically draws between 400 and 500 guests each year from all over Michigan, as well as some from out of state and even a group from Canada.
“It’s amazing how far away some people come from just to see this tour,” Zupan said. “We notice a lot of the same people every year, and I think a big reason is because they like the loose and open structure that we have. We give them a guide to follow, and they can visit all or just a few of the different homes and gardens.”
This year’s tour will take place from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. on June 9. Tickets will be sold rain or shine for $20 each behind Pleasant Ridge City Hall, located at 23925 Woodward Ave., just south of I-696. All funds raised will go toward city beautification projects, such as tree replacements and landscaping improvements, in addition to renovating the Pleasant Ridge Historical Museum.
New this year is a San Francisco-style trolley that will be available as part of the ticket price and will take guests to four different stops — two on the west side and two on the east side — across the city. Guests can also purchase lunch from the Taco Mama truck stationed near City Hall in Memorial Park.
Zupan is confident that this will be another successful run for the Home and Garden Tour. “People keep coming out every year because of the great housing stock that we have here,” she said. “No two homes in Pleasant Ridge are the same, and they all have some really unique, historic features that help set them apart.”
The massive new addition to the Wrights’ house certainly sets it apart from many others, as it now stands as one of the largest homes in the city. Scott Wright is hoping to win over some of his skeptical neighbors on the tour, and as a professional builder for the past two decades, showcase some of his formidable home improvement skills.
“I’ve been building for about 20 years, but this is the first time that I’ve built a major project like this for myself,” he said. “I’m proud of the fact that we were able to combine historic and modern architecture in a way that keeps each piece separate. We’ve created a new history for this house. All the hard work that we’ve put in was just part of its 100-year transformation.”
For more information on the Pleasant Ridge Home and Garden Tour, call (248) 542-5614 or go to www.pleasantridgehistory.com.
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