Motown-Themed Airbnb Opens Near Hitsville U.S.A.

Motown house
Photos by Charlie Wollborg

Instead of turning it into a regular old rental, developer David King saw in his West Grand Boulevard property an opportunity to revere Motown – and have some fun. Keeping many of the 115-year-old home’s original detailing, he restored it and added some soul with themed bedrooms, working Wurtlizer jukeboxes and murals throughout.

“Everything revolved around Motown,” he says of the location’s magic. “There are crowds every single weekend; they’re lined up around the block.” The tri-level home is available for rent by large groups and traveling families on Airbnb and peppered with pieces belonging to Berry Gordy and framed photos that recall the era of Motown sound.

Each bedroom is dedicated to a different color scheme and Motown act: Smokey is blue, Marvin is green, The Jackson 5 room is a whimsical hue of orange, and Rick James, no surprise, is fire red – “Give it to Me Baby” scrawled across the wall.

King commissioned artist and ACE Academy teacher David Young to create the original pieces and murals; the Davids connected through Craigslist. It’s a Motown house but it’s not excessive. It’s still, when all is said, a classically beautiful old Detroit home, just steps away from Hitsville U.S.A. King says, “We don’t want to be the Motown Museum. They’re the star – we’re just the complement.”

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