32 South Normal Street

32 South Normal Street

People who regularly drive down West Michigan Avenue have enjoyed watching the transformation of this circa 1893 Queen Anne house into a painted lady that sits high above the intersection of South Normal and Ypsilanti’s main drag. Adam Delaney, the owner of two concrete construction companies, purchased it in 2004 because “it needed to be fixed up.” Slowly but surely he has turned the house into a beautiful showpiece. His mom, Neeta Delaney, has great taste, and the two of them sparred over the exterior colors. The house features three shades of red, and Mom won on one of those. Delaney says he knew he wanted a tan shade and a sunny yellow to complement the reds.

The house’s most significant owners were the Plomaritas family. Delaney says that Cleopatra Plomaritas died there in the 1980s. In 2004 the house had two apartments, and Delaney has kept that configuration. He lives on the second floor and his renter, classical violinist Henrik Karapetyan, occupies the first floor. Delaney shares his apartment with his adorable three-year-old daughter, Maya, who is there several days every week. Both apartments will be on today’s tour.

Delaney’s renovation reflects his excellent carpentry, masonry, landscaping, and artistic skills. The back entrance to the house is all new, and he built it to mimic the front of the house. He also created a loft bedroom that is accessed from his kitchen. He painstakingly built a stone wall up a slope to the right of the house’s front entrance and did extensive re-landscaping. Delaney’s artistic skills and the taste he probably inherited from his mother are apparent throughout his apartment. For example, he changed a bedroom at the front to a music room, and on one of the walls he painted a mural that was inspired by a drawing of an art deco pendant he saw in a book. Delaney is learning the guitar, and his three guitars are displayed on the wall. Maya has her own rack on the floor for her “guitar.”

A fun side note: when Delaney was renovating the house he found six crisp one hundred dollar bills under a vinyl floor in his apartment.

Photo by Lynda Hummel