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by CareyBot

"It's so ugly." That was my comment to my mother as we drove past a house in our neighborhood that she and my father owned for 24 years. Yes, she agreed. The house was indeed ugly. In my parents' day, the house conformed to its traditional Ranch-style architectural roots: It was painted a plant-friendly shade of green, the plant boxes were built of natural bricks, the driveway was an unobtrusive plain concrete affair and a decorative birdhouse was perched on the brown wood-shingle roof.Birds didn't actually occupy the small house, but it was a standard element of this type of house in the neighborhood. Two decades and a new owner (or owners) can make a huge difference in the appearance of a house -- especially if it's been neglected or the new owner has no respect for arc...