A Bland, Blank Modular House Now Has Colorful Character Thanks to Paint, Wallpaper, and Decor

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Bright living room with colors
Credit: Jess Curtis
The color of the accent wall was a recommendation from an Apartment Therapist Facebook group member!

Name: Jess Curtis and family
Location: Chapel Hill, North Carolina
Type of home: House
Size: 2,237 square feet
Years lived in: 4 years, owned

Credit: Jess Curtis

Tell us a little (or a lot) about your home and the people who live there: I am a social worker, and my husband is a chemist. We also have an almost two-year-old son. We purchased our home in April of 2018. When we first found our home, we loved the location and privacy it provided, but weren’t thrilled with the way it looked. It is a modular house, which means that the house is built off-site in a factory, then shipped to the house site and placed on a foundation.

Credit: Jess Curtis
I painted the cabinets white at the beginning of the pandemic when I was bored and six months pregnant!

Our house also consists of two different modular structures with separate HVAC systems. The front part of the house was built in 1997, and the back part of the house was added in the early 2000s. For this reason, I refer to it affectionately as a “frankenhouse.” Modular houses have their benefits (well-built, cheaper), but they do not have the character that older stick-built houses have. Therefore, I set out to make our home beautiful and special through the magic of paint, wallpaper, furniture, and decor.

Credit: Jess Curtis
This beautiful shower curtain is a window curtain that I purchased from a seller in India.

Over the last four years, I have painted and/or wallpapered every room in the house, including the kitchen and bathroom cabinets. I focused on smaller, less costly DIY changes that didn’t involve gutting the place. I love being in our house now and can’t imagine living elsewhere.

Credit: Jess Curtis

Describe your home’s style in 5 words or less: Plant-filled, colorful, soothing, cheerful, quirky

Credit: Jess Curtis
Moody bedroom vibes.

What is your favorite room and why? My favorite room shifts a lot, but it tends to be the most recent room I’ve painted/worked on. That would make the primary bedroom my favorite room at the moment. I was going for a “moody bedroom” vibe. The room feels calm and peaceful (and is great for sleeping).

Credit: Jess Curtis
The gas "wood stove" is the only big addition that we have made to the house since moving in. The rugs hanging on the wall are from an Etsy seller in Morocco.

What’s the last thing you bought (or found!) for your home? A vintage lazy Susan off of Etsy.

Credit: Jess Curtis
Moody office vibes. The desk belonged to my grandmother and the daybed is from IKEA.

Any advice for creating a home you love? Find out what you like through checking out pictures of interiors on Instagram or other sites. Take note when you go into peoples’ houses and enjoy their spaces. Then, take what you learn and apply it to your own home. Mix vintage and new pieces. Use different textures. Unify the space through a color palette that you enjoy. Select pieces that are comfortable and that make you happy when you look at them. Try to figure out if a small fix (like paint or wallpaper) can change how you feel about a room before spending a lot of time and money completely gutting it. Join The Apartment Therapist group on Facebook and consult its members. They are very helpful and have lots of great ideas! I also think that plants add a huge amount of life, beauty, and color to a space.

This submission’s responses and photos were edited for length/size and clarity.

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