Styled, Staged & Sold

Bringing you the latest home design and staging trends. From REALTOR® Magazine.

Inside the ‘Ugliest House’ in America’s Transformation

The home nabbed a bad rep that it had to overcome. See its dramatic makeover that eventually got it sold.

A 134-year-old farmhouse in Williamsburg, Va., earned the title of “Ugliest House of the Year” from HomeVestors of America in 2023. But the property has overcome its dilapidated past with an impressive remodel. 

The 2,277-square-foot home, which was originally built in the 1890s, had been severely neglected. In the 1960s, the land surrounding the home was developed into a neighborhood, but the farmhouse, sitting on 70 acres, was mostly left untouched. It fell into disrepair, with overgrown vegetation and decaying wood on the outside and clutter, debris and gaping holes in the floor on the inside.

A Makeover of Mega Portions

While some became frightened of the home—locals took its unsightly appearance as a sign that it was haunted—Daniel Nice saw potential. Nice, a Virginia franchisee with HomeVestors of America, decided to make it his next—and biggest—remodeling project yet.  

“The previous owner was so happy we were going to salvage the home and that we were capable of tackling a renovation of this magnitude. He was thrilled the home would be given a second chance,” Nice says. “Throughout the project, neighbors would stop by and tell us how the house had been known as the ‘haunted house’ and that they never thought it would be restored in their lifetime. One neighbor was happy that their dog would stop uncontrollably barking at the house given all the critters that lived around it before we came in.”

Nice budgeted $270,000 for the seven-month renovation. Here are a few tasks that were on his long, to-do list:  

  • Cleared the lot to manage the overgrowth of vegetation surrounding the home (while still preserving the home’s crepe myrtles and magnolia trees)
  • Gutted the interior of the home
  • Renovated the crawlspace to turn it into an extra living space
  • Installed new water and sewer lines
  • Installed all new electrical and plumbing systems for the home
  • Upgraded the exterior, such as with new siding and windows
  • Installed new systems throughout, including the HVAC and water heater
  • Completely overhauled the kitchen and bathrooms
  • Installed new flooring and added fresh paint

But not everything was torn out. Nice took careful attention to refinish the home’s handcrafted original staircase, making it a focal point.

Nice’s renovations paid off: Shortly after the renovations, he found a buyer and sold the home for $400,000.

View inside the complete transformation of the four-bedroom, two-and-a-half bath home.


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