This post was written by my lovely wife who is my editor-in-chief. She felt that my version of this topic may just offend a few too many people. I have to admit…she was right. And to quote my editor, “I would not consider the home in this image to be either ugly or attractive…let’s just say, it has personality.”

My husband and I became aware of a reoccurring phenomenon a number of years ago when we were looking to purchase our first house. It became more apparent as we drove around the area we lived and where we wanted to live. We even noticed it when we were on vacation.

We kept seeing these houses that can only be politely described as “unique”. Houses with a multitude of exterior building materials, accent colors that could make your straight hair curl, and quirky additions protruding from front porches. We started identifying these oddities as “Ugly Houses”.

My husband does admit to having an aversion to one house that showcased stucco, stone, vinyl siding, cedar shakes and brick on its exterior…plus three other materials he could not identify. And I do admit to rolling my eyes at a house displaying a Barbie-on-Steroids-Pink front door with matching shutters.

Being obsessed with our discovery, we decided we needed to go Public. We would create a coffee table book with full page photographs and kitchy captions. We would call it “Ugly Houses of America”. We would select a house to receive the yearly “UHOA” award and feature it on the back cover.

Until we came to the conclusion that we would probably get sued. Or depending on what part of the country the house was located: get shot. Upon greater reflection, we realized our opinion was based on what we perceived to be beautiful. Or not.

And who are we to judge? We don’t live there. We just drive by it. Maybe a couple of times a day or maybe just once in a lifetime.

Curb appeal has its place if that is what is important to you. If your motivation is to make sure you please everyone, including yourself, then by all means…knock yourself out. Follow the current trends or maintain a classic style. It is your choice.

But if you want to step outside the norm…think outside the box…be the purple cow in a field of black and white cows…feel free to create your own vision.

And if we think it is ugly, who cares? You should not. And we should get over it.


  1. December 9, 2011 at 10:16 am

    That is one pretty darn gaudy house! Everyone is entitled to their own opinion…just be ready for those who may take offense. Tell ’em to sod off! Unless it’s their house then you’re on your own 🙂

    • December 11, 2011 at 11:24 am

      Yup, this one is a doozy…It’s a little to recognizable to show the whole thing!

  2. December 9, 2011 at 10:20 am

    I photograph so many house that are just perfect that I like to see the unusual. That being said, I’m not much into gaudy. But to each their own. I love life like that. Great post. 🙂

    • December 11, 2011 at 11:25 am

      Thanks Katie, I think most folks (sane ones anyway) would say this is “unusual.”

  3. December 9, 2011 at 10:50 am

    LOL!! Hey, David, I like your wife. 🙂

    • December 11, 2011 at 11:27 am

      Glad you enjoyed this little bit of humor Bob, my wife has a way with words for sure!

  4. Jo Woolf
    December 9, 2011 at 11:25 am

    Lovely intense colours – not sure about the overall effect, though! Does it glow in the dark?

    • December 11, 2011 at 11:28 am

      They sure are intense and the FAA uses it as a landmark for pilots flying over the area…

  5. Lee
    December 9, 2011 at 11:29 am

    David, I can see you and your wife share the virtue of a sense of humor tempered by kind hearts. I like that.

    • December 11, 2011 at 11:31 am

      Thanks Lee, we both find that is way more fun to go through life laughing! We were heading up to your part of the world a few years back and went past a farm in upstate New York. EVERY building was painted pink…not faded red, but PINK! Laughed for a number of miles after seeing that one!

      • December 11, 2011 at 1:43 pm

        There’s a big old house here that’s painted bright pink with a slightly darker pink trim. If you mention “the Pepto-Bismol house” to anyone in town, they know exactly which place you mean! But I have to admit it makes me smile every time I see it.

  6. December 9, 2011 at 12:22 pm

    I always wonder if they really like what they have done, or regret the “unique” look immediately after the paint dries.

    • December 11, 2011 at 11:33 am

      This one is unique! We have both wondered those thoughts…and the book was actually a real idea too!

  7. December 9, 2011 at 6:09 pm

    You are both so nice, dear David. This house almost different with its colours, I can’t say I loved it… but everybody has their choices… On the other hand, I think this sentence, according to my realities in this city,… 🙂 I don’t know, maybe I am not right to think like that. But my eyes looking for the harmony with the nature world… what is harmony, what is beauty, what is art…. it will be going like that then… But you really, especially your wife, shared such a beautiful post with us. Thank you, Have a nice weekend, with my love, nia

    • December 11, 2011 at 11:34 am

      Thanks Nia, and yes this house is different, and it really really stands out from the rest. Funny thing, it’s right across the street from an old church that is pure white! Now that’s a contrast!

      • December 12, 2011 at 6:08 pm

        I can imagine… But you should visit my city, there are more than this… Actually in the contrast to create something in the harmony is really great job… Thank you, with my love, nia

  8. Steve
    December 11, 2011 at 1:10 pm

    Wow, those colours can only be described politely as intense! Great framing on this image; your wife did a wonderful job with the article too. I like your senses of humour! Cheers!

    • December 11, 2011 at 2:30 pm

      Yes this place certainly stands out from the rest of the homes on the block in that town. Maybe even the whole county! I will pass on your kind words to Sharon! This post was originally posted in her blog Her funny stuff is in the earlier archives. You have to check out the ones titled Hoopa and Out of the Closet.

  9. December 11, 2011 at 1:19 pm

    I’m intrigued by the colours and would really like to see the rest of the house.
    Is it actually possible for someone to live for years in a house with those colours? I think I might have lasted a year or two… or maybe I would have grown used to them and not noticed anymore…

    • December 11, 2011 at 2:33 pm

      Well this place is pretty recognizable to say the least. I’m not sure if they would take offense to our lighthearted fun we were poking at folks and then used this home as an example. I don’t think I would have gotten past the paint samples before saying “nope, wrong colors.”

      • December 13, 2011 at 3:57 pm

        I could have been tricked into buying a house like that, thinking I’d repaint it. But I might have grown to like them in the duration of time it would take me to actually get started on the job of painting….

  10. December 11, 2011 at 3:32 pm

    Where I live (Victoria, BC) quite a few of the older “gingerbread” style houses are painted wild colours. What I have only recently learned is that quite a few of them are following Victorian colour schemes to be more authentic, some of them determined from old layers of paint on the houses in question. That’s not to say that there are not some truely ugly paint jobs on some otherwise very nice houses, and some of those likely claim to be “authentic”. Would that be authentic ugly?

    • December 12, 2011 at 8:43 am

      I love it…authentic ugly! They probably had to go through some historic commission to be sure the colors are accurate. I think that just because it’s historic doesn’t mean it’s nice looking. Authentic Ugly…too funny!

  11. December 12, 2011 at 4:28 am

    Well said! What is described as ‘ugly’ for one person might be a ‘wonderful’ for others: D This is why Charlie and I want to build a house just as we like! 😀 I always think these kind of houses are pretty to look at… but I prefer a clean cut 😀 But I should say this house has a character! 😀 Lovely post and photo! 🙂

    • December 12, 2011 at 8:45 am

      That’s what we want to do also. Build new but to look like an older style. And yes, this house has character for sure!

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