Couple finds a home in Detroit

By: Linda Shepard | Rochester Post | Published November 22, 2016

  Indian Village Manor, built in the 1920s, is filled with pristine art deco details.

Indian Village Manor, built in the 1920s, is filled with pristine art deco details.

Photo by Heather Gardner

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DETROIT — Although both grew up in northern Oakland County, Nicole and Ian Sigmon have decided to make Detroit their home. 

The couple purchased a condominium in the art deco Indian Village Manor building last April, charmed by the building’s wide and elegant hallways and its location on the Detroit River across from the Detroit Yacht Club on Belle Isle. 

“I grew up in Oxford and my husband is from Clarkston,” Nicole Sigmon said. “I think that the city is changing in huge ways, and I want to be a part of it.” 

Both work downtown. Nicole is a producer for Commonwealth McCann and Ian is an owner of Gunner Animation, a company he started last year in a garage. 

“Detroit doesn’t have a studio that competes with other animation studios,” Ian Sigmon said. “Our overhead is low,” he said about his Corktown location. “And with the internet, you don’t have to ‘be’ anywhere.”

Their Indian Village Manor neighbors — most have lived in the building for the past 30 years — are becoming friends.

“We get invited to a lot of dinners,” Nicole Sigmon said. The beautiful hallways of the building, complete with seating and a grand piano, are utilized for condo association meetings and parties. “It is very community-based.”

The couple looked for a house with a yard in Detroit before purchasing the condo. 

“We looked in the Boston Edison area. We wanted something under $150,000,” Nicole Sigmon said. 

But every time the couple bid on a house, buyers with cash bested their offer. 

“We were cash-offered out,” she said. “Then my Realtor said she wanted to show us this building. We weren’t really looking in this area.”

Indian Village Manor was built in 1921 and is filled with pristine and original art deco architectural details. The apartments were converted into condos in the 1990s. The building, an understated beauty, is located next to Alder Park Towers on Jefferson Avenue, east of Van Dyke. 

Nicole Sigmon has found city grocery shopping uncomplicated. 

“We have Whole Foods and Eastern Market and small grocery stores,” she said. 

“We need a Target and a Trader Joe’s,” Ian Sigmon said. “That would be game-changing.” 

The move to Detroit has been emotional, Nicole Sigmon said. Family members, including a grandmother, were longtime residents of the city. 

“I felt there was quite a bit of personal history here,” she said. “My grandmother always took us to the Belle Isle Conservatory.” 

After college, the couple lived in the New York City borough of Brooklyn for two years. The word is spreading about what Detroit has to offer. 

“I have a lot of friends from New York who want to move here,” Nicole Sigmon said. 

“I had a dream recently about my grandmother, who said, ‘I think I’ll go to Belle Isle one more time,’” she said. “This feels very meant to be, here.” 

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