homeowner reading on a couch in his remodeled bungalow's living room
Photo: Deborah Whitlaw Llewellyn

My Mom Thought I Had Lost My Mind

We weren't in the house five minutes before tears started rolling down my mother's face, as she took in the kitschy stenciling on the walls and the orange-and-green shag carpets. I tried to comfort her, detailing all the potential the nearly 100-year-old bungalow had—original beadboard ceilings and horsehair plaster walls, for starters—but she wasn't having it. The second floor of the 2,200-square-foot home was unfinished, and the first was filled with shoddy, half-done remodeling projects and had a musty smell.

Shown: Homeowner Charles McAfee relaxes in the living room.
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