Last week we talked about remuddles — homes ruined by thoughtless remodels and additions. However, a home that’s ugly on the outside is much easier to live with than one that’s ugly on the inside. At least if it’s on the outside, you don’t have to see it when you’re inside. I always used to tell my son that a woman who looks great on the outside but has a nasty personality will become ugly inside and out one day. Same goes with your house. If it’s nasty on the inside, fix it up!
There are many things that can make a house ugly. Here are just a few:
1. Linoleum. Nicole Curtis has explained why we often find beautiful hardwood floors under fugly (my grandkids taught me that word) linoleum. In the mid century (think 1950s and 60s) women wanted something that was different from what their mothers had. Slapping linoleum onto hardwood floors was an easy way to accomplish that. Linoleum, when newly laid, can be bright and cheery. But over the years it becomes dingy. Unlike a hardwood floor, you cannot sand and refinish linoleum to revitalize it. The only thing you can do with it is replace it or get rid of it all together. Please, if you have linoleum floors, peel them up and refinish the wood underneath!
2. Dated wallpaper. This can be tricky, as things do come back into fashion. Many wallpaper manufacturers are offering ‘retro’ wallpapers from the 50s, 60s and 70s. Does that mean if you have wallpaper that dates back to those eras that you should just leave it? Should you replace 90s wallpaper with a 70s reproduction? I’m all for retro stuff but you have to be careful with that stuff — if it was a bad idea the first time around, it will be a bad idea this time too. Choose retro wallpapers with caution. And get rid of anything that would have made Scott Baio feel at home; if you have that ‘brushstroke‘ wallpaper from the 80s/90s…please please make it go away.
3. Wall-to-wall carpet. I do not intend to malign all carpet. But the wrong carpet can really ruin a room. If you wake up in a room with a sea of emerald green carpet, will you be happy there? What if it’s a faded purple or bright red? These are trends from days gone by, and they should go by, completely. Laying down carpet is a huge pain in the ass — that’s why it doesn’t pay to be trendy when choosing it. After all, that’s why some people still have ugly green carpets — because ripping them up is too much work. This article provides a handy guide for choosing the right carpet.
4. Interior remuddles. Remuddling doesn’t just happen outside. People remuddle — albeit on a smaller scale — inside also. Does the house have amazing plaster ceiling medallions? Don’t you dare put in a drop ceiling — especially one with acoustic tiles that make your home look like an office. Do not cover up cool features — don’t hammer rectangles of cheap paneling over the spindles on your staircase. Oh, and if you have amazing inlay in your hardwood floors, NO TILE, LINOLEUM OR CARPET FOR YOU!
5. Lack of drywall. This isn’t a design choice that people make. But I have seen houses that have been gutted down to the studs and for some strange reason stay that way for a long time. DO NOT QUIT YOUR REMODEL AT THIS STAGE. If you have taken down drywall, fix whatever you need to fix and put it back up. A house without walls is pretty uninviting.
6. Spackle patches. It is not acceptable to simply slap spackle over a hole. Plug the hole with spackle, then sand it and repaint that part of the wall. You would not believe how many people skip those last two steps. Don’t do that. It looks baaaaaaaaaaaaad.
7. Fuzzy toilet lid covers. I just really hate these.