- Michael Gray bought an abandoned house in Detroit from his nephew for $1,500 in 2009.
- He spent over a decade remodeling it himself, from flooring to drywall to painting.
- Gray spoke with Insider about his multi-year process of transforming the house into a livable space.
Michael Gray has spent over 10 years transforming an abandoned house in Detroit into a comfortable home for himself and his family.
In November 2009, Gray, now 70, bought an abandoned house from her nephew for just $1,500. After years of renovations, he transformed it into a dream home for his wife, Cynthia.
“Everything was built with love,” he told Insider.
Before buying the house, Gray was homeless and lived in his niece’s basement. Despite graduating from Spring Arbor University, Gray struggled to find work due to Detroit’s tough economy.
“I couldn’t find a job because I had worked in drug treatment,” he said. “But the city went bankrupt and the only way I could have gotten another job would have been to move to LA or Chicago or New York to earn that kind of money. And I wasn’t going to do that.”
Gray told Insider he was hit by a car while riding his bike in 2008, and the settlement money helped him buy the property. When he bought the house, it was uninhabitable and had mites, spiders and mice.
Gray framed photos in each room as a reminder of how far he’s gone in his renovation. The house is now unrecognizableand he considers it a “generational house”.
“After I die and go, this will be a generational home so our family members will always have a home to come to,” he said.
Gray’s most recent renovation was his basement, and he expects the house to be finished no later than 2024. He spoke with Insider and followed the restoration process.