Motor City Cribs 

Three things are immediately clear in author Michael Zadoorian's basement lounge: He loves pop-culture schmaltz and ephemera, his sense of humor rattles, and his thrift-store skills kill. His basement's filled with skillfully placed tiki mugs, Michigan artifacts, taxidermy (a jackalope even!), wooden things and, of course, a well-stocked bar. It's totally pimpin' '63 style, when getting sloshed was socially acceptable and you half expect to hear Peter Lawford's Tiffany cufflinks clinking crystal tumblers.

Zadoorian and his wife Rita purchased the classic bungalow nine years ago. The upstairs was in fine shape but the basement was another story. "We brought the basement back from the dead," Zadoorian says. "The first thing I did was haul brown asbestos tile out of here. It was a project for sure." 

The basement did have two things going for it: a great bar and pine walls. The bar was, of course, the perfect spot for Zadoorian to celebrate his love of Tiki collectibles, his collection gleaned from years of yard sales and thrift store searches, an effort befitting the title of his first novel, Second Hand. It was Rita's idea to decorate the rest of the basement in a '50s lodge motif. "With the knotty pine walls she thought we should make it a lodge."

"After years of going to thrift stores I knew we could pull it off," Zadoorian grins. "It's camp with a sense of camp." 

You could say that the beauty of his basement reflects his writing. His passions — tiki culture, thrifting, photography, Detroit, lust for joy — spill into, if not energize, his work. 

Speaking of Interior Decorating, Motor City Cribs And Rides

More by Doug Coombe

Best Things to Do In Detroit

Newsletters

Never miss a beat

Sign Up Now

Subscribe now to get the latest news delivered right to your inbox.