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Ask Me Anything: Alissa Shelton and Emilie Evans with Brick + Beam Detroit

  • 1.  Ask Me Anything: Alissa Shelton and Emilie Evans with Brick + Beam Detroit

    Ambassador
    Posted 11 days ago

    Continuing with Ask Me Anything on Forum Connect* …

    Up this week are @Alissa Shelton and @Emilie Evans of Brick + Beam Detroit. Brick + Beam is an innovative and growing organization that supports building rehabbers of all levels in Detroit through hands-on learning workshops, creative (and fun!) social gatherings, and online resources, including a community-created contractor list, Q&A Forum, and rehab project map.

    Alissa is the Executive Director and Emilie is a Co-founder of Brick + Beam, and we're very excited that they're here to answer questions about cultivating a community around building rehab, supporting new and long-time residents in property maintenance skills, preserving the existing built environment in Detroit, and more.


    Alissa and Emilie will be available to answer your questions today through Friday, April 10-12.



    *In the Ask Me Anything series we're asking people at the National Trust and in the preservation field at large to sign on to Forum Connect daily for a week to answer your questions about the work they do. These folks will make a point of coming to Forum Connect daily for a week to respond to your posts. If you have suggestions for topics or AMA participants, email Colleen Danz (CDanz@savingplaces.org).



  • 2.  RE: Ask Me Anything: Alissa Shelton and Emilie Evans with Brick + Beam Detroit

    Posted 11 days ago
    Edited by Alissa Shelton 11 days ago
    Hi All!
    We're excited to answer your questions about Brick + Beam and more!
    B+BD started as a Knight Cities Challenge project in 2015-- and we're still growing! I am the new executive director (late Jan 2019) and we're in the process of hiring a part-time project coordinator. Beyond expanding capacity, we are also ramping up our programs to be more frequent, and trying out new formats for our workshops-- this spring we will have some multi-part series classes.

    We're also excited to learn from you about how you're growing support around building rehab in your cities and towns.
    Do you have hands-on trainings classes? Are there regular meet-ups around building rehab? Is there a great local contractors list in your city?

    Look forward to your questions!
    --Alissa

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    Alissa Shelton
    Executive Director
    Brick and Beam Detroit
    Detroit MI
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  • 3.  RE: Ask Me Anything: Alissa Shelton and Emilie Evans with Brick + Beam Detroit

    Ambassador
    Posted 11 days ago
    Hi Alissa, I have a starting question. As a City employee, I regularly advise property owners to retain historic wood-sash windows, siding, etc. However, we often get the response that it's not possible or too cost-prohibitive. Do you have recommendations for "light" projects or events that can get people interested in DIY maintenance and give them some starting repair skills?

    Cara

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    Cara Bertron
    Senior Planner / Deputy Historic Preservation Officer
    City of Austin Planning and Zoning Department
    (512) 974-1446 / cara.bertron@austintexas.gov
    ------------------------------



  • 4.  RE: Ask Me Anything: Alissa Shelton and Emilie Evans with Brick + Beam Detroit

    Posted 11 days ago
    Yes!
    I think the less training-focused events B+BD does are a great example and a way to bring people around to the idea of DIY and saving some of those historic aspects of properties. By hearing from  other "regular" people who are working on rehab projects, this can help folks to see the possibility. I love our "Fixer-Upper Supper Club" format as a way to build community and help people build a little confidence in their ability to take-on these projects. It's a potluck at a home or property that is actively being rehabbed. Guests enjoy a meal, meet fellow rehabbers, and tour a house or building that's in process. It's a chance to get introduced to rehab by seeing a property and hearing from the owner about the process, plus chatting with other people who are working on homes.
    To get folks started on the skills side, we host a lot of intro-level workshops. Everything from the basics of plumbing to intro wood window repair. These are often on Saturday morning, and get people the basics of some of these trades that people just haven't been able to see and touch before. People walk away having a much better understanding of the process, and having done a little work themselves. Sure, you can read about a trade or watch videos of a project, but it's amazing how much it can help to actually put a rough coat of plaster on the wall and be able to ask questions about specific cases.
    We do a lot of different types of events and programs beyond those two, you can see more here.  Let me know if anyone wants to dig into any other formats specifically!


    ------------------------------
    Alissa Shelton
    Executive Director
    Brick and Beam Detroit
    Detroit MI
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  • 5.  RE: Ask Me Anything: Alissa Shelton and Emilie Evans with Brick + Beam Detroit

    Ambassador
    Posted 9 days ago
    Hi Alissa and Emilie. I'm sorry to be so late to the party, but I wanted to participate because you are doing great work. My question is how often you deal with occupied residential structures and the strategies you have developed to make that work.

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    Jim Sparks
    Glasgow KY
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  • 6.  RE: Ask Me Anything: Alissa Shelton and Emilie Evans with Brick + Beam Detroit

    Posted 6 days ago
    Edited by Alissa Shelton 6 days ago
    Hi @Jim Sparks!
    Thanks for joining the thread!
    We are a support organization for folks working through rehabilitation of their homes/buildings. Our hands-on workshops and community building events empower property owners and rehabbers with the skills to do the work themselves and/or hire someone to do so. B+BD doesn't work on homes as a contractor.
    Since we don't deal with the occupied structures directly, I'm not sure if we have the types of strategies you're looking for. I think our role is often advising people in classes/workshops to really consider the situation they are in before starting a repair, and making sure they are aware of safety issues when they are making changes/fixes to a home they are living in. We've also partnered with Detroit Training Center to host a course in identifying and dealing with hazardous materials that can empower folks to understand what risks might be in their home, and the types of things they shouldn't take on while living in the home.
    Thanks again for participating!

    ------------------------------
    Alissa Shelton
    Executive Director
    Brick and Beam Detroit
    Detroit MI
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  • 7.  RE: Ask Me Anything: Alissa Shelton and Emilie Evans with Brick + Beam Detroit

    Ambassador
    Posted 9 days ago
    Hi, @Alissa Shelton and @Emilie Evans I was super-excited to look at the great rehab programs you are providing in Detroit! It's amazing how much impact programs like that can have to build confidence in historic property stewardship.

    Here in Minnesota, the Preservation Alliance is holding rehab programs that always seem to fill up. They also have a realtor program and programs geared toward learning about the community. ​​I see Brick + Beam has teamed up with MHPN on a realtor series. I'm curious if you've provided community-based history programs, as well (or teamed up with someone doing them locally). If so, do you see overlap in the people registering for the bricks-and-mortar-type classes? I've found that property owners sometimes take a deeper interest in taking care of their property when they have a better understanding of its history and the history of the neighborhood.

    Keep up the great work!
    Barbara

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    Barbara Howard
    Stonebridge Learning, LLC
    Minneapolis MN
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  • 8.  RE: Ask Me Anything: Alissa Shelton and Emilie Evans with Brick + Beam Detroit

    Posted 6 days ago
    Hi @Barbara Howard!
    Thanks for sharing the work the Preservation Alliance is doing! I love the concept of "Old Home Certified" and will certainly share with Melissa Arrowsmith, the Detroit Preservationist at MHPN, who was really leading t​​he charge on the realtor training.
    We haven't hosted or co-hosted community-based history programs at this time, though some building history has probably come up at our Storytelling Events and Fixer-Upper Supper Clubs. When we are in historic venues, we often try to make sure we get some sort of history lesson--last week we hosted a class at Hunt Street Station, a co-working space housed in an 1890s police station, and we tagged a tour on to the end of the class which was awesome.
    I think you bring up a great idea of more intentionally pairing this. There are great orgs here like Preservation Detroit, Detroit History Tours, and MHPN who are definitely doing this work, and I think there could be a little more synergy in how we tie in. PD is one of our advisors and we've talked a little about making sure we at least tie in to our calendar.
    Thanks for joining the thread!

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    Alissa Shelton
    Executive Director
    Brick and Beam Detroit
    Detroit MI
    ------------------------------