Working in the creative department of an ad agency can be frustrating — trust me, I’ve done it. It’s not uncommon to sleep at the office, cancel vacations, or miss some of life’s most important moments. For Erin Gavel, the glitter of working on big brands wasn’t enough to keep her at her New York City agency. A year ago, she decided it was time to move back home to Detroit, MI and pursue her dream of opening up a storefront. Thus, Eldorado General Store was born. Her charming shop in the middle of Corktown, Detroit’s oldest surviving neighborhood, is filled with all manner of vintage trinkets, locally-crafted wares and goodies she’s picked up on road trips with her photographer boyfriend Chris Miele.
Luckily for the pair, their one-bedroom apartment sits right above the Eldorado storefront. It’s well decorated now, but before Chris and Erin moved in, the space had been vacant for nine years. A few cobwebs didn’t bother them in the least, though. It simply meant that the apartment was raw and ready for them to make it their own. Erin recalls their first apartment viewing, “I definitely had to use my imagination [and] envision what it could be with a little love and elbow grease.”
Turning the industrial space into a rustic home meant designing around some interesting quirks. In 1870, during the building’s construction, the crew didn’t find it necessary to design any of the walls to be straight. “It’s been one of the hardest design challenges I’ve faced to date,” Erin shares. “We joke [about how] you just have to make everything a bit crooked so it fits.” This hasn’t stopped her from having a blast decorating the home with happy objects that remind her of pleasant memories.
Many of the vintage goods she and Chris purchased for Eldorado have somehow found their way into the home as well. Blankets, crates and vintage finds are abundant throughout the space. There’s even the occasional goofy find: “I like to use silly items that remind me of childhood,” Erin admits. “They become visual reminders to keep dreaming.” Can you spot the fun, letter-licking tongue? Keep your eyes peeled for that and other fun touches when you peek inside this pair’s rustic rental. Enjoy! —Garrett