What Not to Wear: The House Edition

Joe Blundo

Sometime this fall, I will mark the 34th anniversary of owning a home.

Now, I realize that writing about an anniversary that doesn't end in zero or five violates all rules of anniversary journalism. But let's do it anyway because, if the economy gets any worse, by this time next year I could be renting.

I will use this momentous anniversary to review Home Decor and Landscaping I Hated, either in my own house or others'.

Let's begin with Wall-to-Wall Carpet in the Bathroom.

This had to be the idea of pharmaceutical companies who were hoping that the emergence of more germs would lead to a spike in antibiotic sales. And I believe it did, because this stuff was basically a humid breeding ground for microorganisms.

Somehow, carpeted bathrooms became popular in the 1970s, along with disco, polyester and many other abominable developments.

What else makes my list?

Wallpaper: It's a nightmare to hang. It's a nightmare to remove. And it begins looking out of date after about six hours on your walls.

Worse, in my experience, people tend to wallpaper right over holes, bumps and old picture-hanging hardware. You can still see them, but now they're encased in floral patterns, which isn't much of an enhancement if you ask me.

I knew I had a strong marriage when the two of us were able to wallpaper a room without filing for divorce. Otherwise, I would say it wasn't worth it.

Imitation flooring: Vinyl doesn't look like brick and, even if it did, who covers a floor in brick? I wish I'd been thinking that way before I installed a faux-brick vinyl floor in my first house. But you live and learn.

Understand that I have nothing against vinyl, just vinyl masquerading as something else. Let it stand on its own merits, whatever they may be.

Textured ceilings: This is a classic cheap home-construction trick. Basically, it allows a builder to hide seams in drywall with minimal labor. But what's in it for the rest of us?

Well, I have a textured ceiling. I can't wash it because the little bumps break off or scratch my hands. And I can't repair a hole in it because it's nearly impossible to match the texture. But I can always point to it as evidence of how the builder preserved his profit margin.

Forsythia: I know I'm supposed to love this stuff because its bright yellow flowers are a sign of spring. But I have never seen a ruder shrub. You cut it to the ground, and it returns to its former size in three weeks.

If it were possible to file a stalking charge against a plant, I'd slap forsythia with a subpoena right now.

Granted, I'm lucky to have had a roof over my head these 34 years. And never one with green shingles. I hate those, too.

Joe Blundo's column So to Speak appears in the Life section of The Columbus Dispatch. Visit his blog at Dispatch.com