Introducing The World's Ugliest Condo

Renovation Diary

Welcome back to 1981. You are looking at my in-laws' vacation condo in Saint Petersburg, Florida. In the following weeks, I'm going to take you through the process of re-doing it, and share with you the frustrations and joys of renovating long distance from Missouri. I'll also give you some quick tips and information I discover along the way. And at the end there will be a big reveal and hopefully you all will ooh and aah and tell me how amazing I am the condo is.

But first, a little background: the condo was purchased by my partner Ann's parents the year it was built. Being busy working people at the time, they had no interest in decorating it themselves and had the condo developer pick everything out for them. The developers happily obliged by choosing the very worst, cheapest, brownest and ugliest of everything. Every time you opened the door, it was like entering an early 80s bad motel beige time capsule. Right on.

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But despite being ugly, it was always absolutely pristine. It was the little condo that could. Over thirty years, the carpet maintained its brilliant beige-ness. The brown polyester sheets had nary a stain. Then, last year, it was rented out to some college students, and the place was transformed into a pulsating pit of despair. The tenants left behind mountains of trash, drug paraphenalia, broken furniture and questionable boy smells. Now, sitting on the sofa or walking across the floor requires a hazmat suit. And it's no exaggeration to say that roaches cross your field of vision every 1-2 minutes. My right eye still has a tic from our last visit.

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Jump to 2012 and Ann and I recently got the green light to redo the place. We've been itching to get our hands on it for years, and since we're into design and such, Ann's folks are thrilled that we want to take on the project. We are definitely NOT professionals, but since we've been very lucky to use it over the years, we're happy to do it for them.

Stay tuned for Part Two when I'll talk about getting started. Until then, enjoy a few more "before" pictures so you get the idea. And watch out for bugs.

(Images: Dabney Frake)

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