There is a lot of history and character that comes with a house built in 1931. There is even more history associated with a city that rose and fell with the auto industry.
Pontiac is one of those cities. Sitting and in the quiet, historic subdivision of Seminole Hills, a man is doing his best to preserve his house and the neighborhood.
Michael Hubert, a man born in Michigan who witnessed the rise and fall on a state level, decided to try and preserve something that is often lost when a city slumps economically. This something is called history.
Situated at 206 Chippewa Street, Hubert bought his historic purchase in 2012. Being a retired antiques dealer, Hubert has an eye for the old and often unappreciated. This home was certainly no exception.
Living by himself Hubert has been able to decorate and renovate the house to his liking. Original being what he prefers.
“I haven’t changed much since I moved,” Hubert said.
Aside from removing the crumbling concrete and brick porch from the front of the house, which Hubert claims was definitely not original and clearly an afterthought, the house has only undergone minor changes.
His most ambitious project, removing the 60’s style sink from the relatively original kitchen. Not knowing much about plumbing, the project took him several weeks.
When finished, Hubert installed a more historically accurate style sink, that gave the room a more up-to-date feel.
Hubert says the former owners rented out the property for several years and is surprised with the overall condition and original features that the house still captures.
One of the original features to the house is the original ceiling scone adds an intricate touch to the cozy vestibule. Its brass body covered in patina enables even the most untrained eye to know that it’s original to the house.
The simple incandescent light bulb latched into the scone is dressed in a lace like pattern, making sure the simple bulb doesn’t take away from the beauty of the vestibule.
Throughout his home Hubert has an assortment of antiques that fit what he calls “an eclectic antique style.” In the foyer of his Arts and Craft style home, Hubert has a painting from the late 1800’s painted by a student at Ecole des Beaux-Arts University in Paris, France.
Something Hubert has had for a long time, Hubert said the painting wasn’t worth much despite being over 100 years old. Only 300 to 400 dollars, Hubert said it is just a fun piece.
Hubert says his most unique and puzzling feature to the house is this little tiny closet cabinet. Tugged up against the corner and measuring from floor to ceiling but less than a foot and a half wide, the closet can barely be called a closet.
He says that back in the day houses were taxed for having closets, he believes that the tiny closet, located in his Florida room, was probably hidden when tax collectors came along.
Keeping it original, Hubert stripped the layers of paint off of the closet cabinet to reveal beautiful wood and stained it dark to match the rest of the house. When he stripped the paint off the knobs, beautiful brass knobs were revealed.
One feature to the house which is original but re-purposed by Hubert is the old cubby for the telephone. Hubert who doesn’t have a house phone, uses the space to showcase some of his antiques. His antique Buddha statue is carved from marble.
Below is page from an old book. Personal in meaning, only Hubert and his ex wife know the personal meaning behind the framed page.
Although just a few spots in Hubert’s 1900 sq ft. home, he was reluctant to show of the rest of his beautiful home. Insisting that the house was dirty, privacy was something to be understanding about.
About The Author
Wanting to capture the beautiful neighborhood of Seminole Hills located in Pontiac, Michigan I went all in going door-to-door to the more visually appealing both historically and aesthetically pleasing homes. Although it was clear that people were very passionate about the historic neighborhood and cared deeply about their homes, most people preferred their privacy.
Out of the dozens of doors I knocked on, only one individual seemed truly open and comfortable with what I was asking to do. Instead of going for a whole feel of the neighborhood, I decided to change the direction of my project and focus on an individual that was mostly likely the nuclear individual that represented most of the charming neighborhood.
Being a former antiques dealer, Hubert truly cares about preserving and maintaining his home. His passion for the old piqued my personal interest as well. Being a collector of old books and cameras, we shared a similar bond that was unique, regardless of the nearly 60-year age gap. This reinvigorated my interest in the project. I felt an even more personal connection to the project and it made me realize that sometimes a micro concept can be more moving that a macro.