the UGLY HOUSE PROJECT

the BEGINNING

Save for a handful of DIYers and loonies, no one sets out to live in an ugly house. I know I didn’t, but after living in a generic, albeit nice, condo for four years, the hubs was looking for something with “character”; something with low ceilings, shag carpet, and wood panelling. He was looking for the opposite of every sane house hunter’s must-haves, based on a genuine, misguided appreciation of the 1970s. I was looking for something within our price range that wasn’t falling apart, with a large yard for our dogs. Ultimately, the elements of our must-haves collided into what can only be called Tropical Storm WTF (never forget) and the original uggo of the UGLY HOUSE PROJECT was adopted:  We bought a 1946 post war house stuck in a 1970s time warp.

Save for a sky of endless, mismatched ceiling tiles, horrible shag carpet, and enough wood panelling to beat to death the entire cast of Saturday Night Fever (twice), the house is in good shape. The old girl has good bones and we’re in a prime location, tucked away on a nondescript road, but smack dab in the middle of everything. We have just under an acre to call our own and our dogs are content to completely destroy it and bark endlessly at everything, giving us a good name as new neighbors.

Good bones aside, our house is a butterface :

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Talk about curb appeal. Nothing is more inviting than an effed up palm tree and a dark, enclosed front patio with a goldfish pond frog breeding ground. Please also note the chimney that is just there for looksies as the fireplace was bricked over. The detached garage and I have a hate/love relationship. The sucker is 900 sq feet so we have storage space coming out of our ears, but it’s, you know, a detached garage. So when it’s raining and I’m hauling in a load of groceries, the sinewy plastic about to slice through my fingers at any moment, it’s. AN. EFFING. DETACHED. GARAGE. But I digress, let’s see what the old girl’s got goin’ on inside.

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Oh, hey ceiling tiles yellowed by indoor chain smokers, panelling, pergo, shag carpet, and rustic “moulding” that is the first thing our guests see. I. Can’t. Even. Note the pot stove, you know, for those icy Florida winters…

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It’s everyone’s dream kitchen! White appliances, cracked linoleum, a dysfunctional layout, and a convection microwave (not pictured) from the 1970s. I think you can get cancer just looking at it. Guess what’s under those ceiling tiles? A plank ceiling (and an extra six inches!) It’s the old wood-floors-under-carpet gag: ceiling edition. Oh, these previous owners are right geniuses.

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What I assume was used as the master bedroom. Drop ceiling, shag carpet, and panelling? That’s a big 10-4. Check out the frilly pink curtains in that en suite. Also, wallpaper (face palm).

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This room was once a patio, as evidenced by the sliding glass doors (not pictured) that are ENCASED in a wall the previous owner built around them. Because why remove them? This ceiling is so low that we can’t install a ceiling fan. It’s also made of dark, wood planks, creating that to-die-for cave atmosphere. The Mickey Mouse shrine was nailed in. Say hello to the pink frilly curtains again. Finally, those two walls in the corner (middle picture) are plastic brick panelling. Did he run out of wood panelling or decide to mix it up? I like to think the latter. I hope the previous owner was a real kook.

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A guest bedroom perhaps? It’s tiny. Perfect for an office or — SPOILER ALERT — a nursery. But, I’ll save that for another post. Roll up shades because who wants nice looking blinds?

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The bathroom we use. The shower doors have since been removed in lieu of a shower curtain. How ridiculous of us, right? Also, frilly curtains around the window INSIDE the shower…

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Our bedroom as it’s in the back of the house. Completely weird layout and virtually useless closets. No ceiling fans, because why?

I can’t hate on the ugly house too much, though. It’s our first venture into homeownership, our daughter’s first home, the inspiration for my husband’s newfound love of carpentry and renovation, and the basis for the UHP idea (which I will explain further in the next post). Instead of jumping ship, we’re giving this house a little love, a ton of paint and drywall, and some much needed style. Welcome to the Ugly House Project.

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