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Butterfly House: How this psychedelic home was designed for a woman who was losing her eyesight

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A husband decked out this in a multi-colour display after his wife developed an eye disease so she could see and enjoy her surroundings. Pictures: Realtor.com


If Lisa Frank were to vomit the colour wheel all over a home — the result would be what you see at ‘The Butterfly House”.

This eye-grabbing property, nicknamed the P.G. — because it’s in Pacific Grove, California — Butterfly House stands out so much, it has its own entry in Atlas Obscura.

And now, it’s listed for sale. The asking price for the two-bedroom, two-bathroom, 124sqm house adorned with hundreds of butterflies: $998,000 (A$1.5m).

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That’s almost 27 times what the owners originally paid for it, when it was purchased for $37,500 in 1977 — the equivilant about $191,000 ($A288,700) today.

Granted, the house was just an ugly little caterpillar at that point. When the original owners, J and Sonja Jackson, purchased it, it was in such poor condition that the floor collapsed one day while J was washing dishes in the kitchen, according to The Post.

Fed up with living in an abode that was falling apart, the retired school counsellor took a hammer to the house and brought it down to its studs so he could rebuild it himself.

Psychedelic butterfly home was designed for a woman losing her vision. Picture:

Even the garage comes decked out in butterfly patterns and bright hues. Picture: Realtor.com


Psychedelic butterfly home was designed for a woman losing her vision. Picture:

Multiple butterflies adorn the home’s bright exterior. Picture: Realtor.com


The metamorphosis into the cosy cottage it is today took nearly two decades. J started decorating the house in the 1990s when Sonja, the secretary of the Blind & Visually Impaired Center of Monterey County, began suffering from a degenerative eye disease.

Despite the fact she was losing her eyesight, they discovered she could still see bright colours. J immediately went out and bought the brightest paints he could find.

Thanks to Sherwin Williams, and her husband’s labour of love, Sonja wasn’t left completely in the dark.

Of course, it’s hard to miss the butterfly theme. Why butterflies? J wanted to pay homage to Pacific Grove’s unofficial mascot: the Monarch butterfly.

What’s more, the property — which is just four blocks from the beach — is just over a kilometre away from the Monarch Butterfly Sanctuary.

Psychedelic butterfly home was designed for a woman losing her vision. Picture:

The foyer that leads inside. Picture: Realtor.com


Psychedelic butterfly home was designed for a woman losing her vision. Picture:

More colours and butterflies inside. Picture: Realtor.com


Many of the home’s butterflies were handmade by J in his on-site workshop. He spent an average of six hours a day making them.

Most of the flutter is found on the exterior of the home, where there’s a sign above the two-car garage that reads, “P.G. Butterfly House.”

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But there are also butterflies to be found in the bedrooms, the kitchen, the bathrooms and basically every living space.

If you were to walk through the house and take a drink every time you saw a butterfly, you wouldn’t be able to walk in a straight line.

Psychedelic butterfly home was designed for a woman losing her vision. Picture:

One of the bedrooms. Picture: Realtor.com


Psychedelic butterfly home was designed for a woman losing her vision. Picture:

Chill out in colour upstairs. Picture: Realtor.com


“I love the eclectic artwork,” Sotheby’s International Realty agent Arleen Hardenstein told The Post.

“One whimsical section flows to another — it’s very sparkly, fun and pretty.”

According to Hardenstein, J passed away a few years ago, and Sonja is selling the home because her needs have changed.

Needless to say, prospective buyers have to be either colourblind or a fan of bright colours to live here.

“A buyer has to love this house and be willing to live in a bit of a fishbowl,” Hardenstein said, who factored in the decor when pricing the home.

“The P.G. Butterfly House is well known in the community and attracts a fairly constant stream of visitors who are curious to see it.”

Psychedelic butterfly home was designed for a woman losing her vision. Picture:

The kitchen. Picture: Realtor.com


Psychedelic butterfly home was designed for a woman losing her vision. Picture:

Colours are also in the bathroom too. Picture: Realtor.com


Naturally, neighbours haven’t always been fans of having a tourist attraction on their street.

“I think it looks like a circus,” neighbour Wendy Davies told the Monterey Herald in 2015. “People drive by, some park in front of my house or block my driveway.”

According to J, one such spectator — who came all the way from south of the border — took a photo of the house to hang in his butterfly store in Mexico City.

“It’s amazing how many people drive by, stop, get out of their cars to look at the property and of course take photos [and] selfies,” Hardenstein said.

“The home appears to be in good shape, and the interior is very comfortable.”

So far, Hardenstein received an “enormous amount of interest” from all types of prospective buyers who either love the home, love the story behind the home — or both.

Haters — or negative Nancies hooked on neutrals — are gonna hate.

After all, colourful cocoons aren’t for everyone. But if you’re looking for Lisa Frank personified, good luck finding a more perfect property.

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This story first appeared in The Post and was republished with permission.

Story Credit: news.com.au

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