If Lisa Frank threw up the color wheel all over the house – you would have 309 Ninth St. Nicknamed the PG because it’s located in Pacific Grove, California, this eye-catching property Butterfly House stands out so much that it has its own private entrance Atlas Obscura.
And now it’s for sale. The asking price for the 1,334-square-foot, two-bedroom, two-bathroom home adorned with hundreds of butterflies is $998,000.
It’s a steal considering Zillow’s “Zestimate” costs $1.02 million. Or it’s a scam considering the property was purchased in 1977 for $37,500 — about $191,000 today.
Admittedly, the house was just an ugly little caterpillar at this point. When the original owners, J and Sonja Jackson, bought it, it was in such bad shape that one day the floor collapsed while J was washing dishes in the kitchen. Tired of living in an apartment that was falling apart, the retired school counselor took a hammer to the house and took it to the studs so he could rebuild it himself.
The transformation into the cozy little house it is today took almost two decades. J began decorating the home in the 1990s when Sonja, the secretary of the Monterey County Center for the Blind and Visually Impaired, was suffering from a degenerative eye disease. Although she lost her sight, they found that she could still see bright colors. J immediately went out and bought the brightest colors he could find.
Thanks to Sherwin Williams and her husband’s love, Sonja wasn’t left completely in the dark.
Of course, it’s hard to overlook the butterfly theme. Why butterflies? J wanted to pay tribute to Pacific Grove’s unofficial mascot: the monarch butterfly. Additionally, the property — which is just four blocks from the beach — is just a mile from the Monarch Butterfly Sanctuary. Many of the house’s butterflies were handcrafted by J in his in-house workshop. He spent an average of six hours a day making them.
Most of the flapping is found on the outside of the house, where there is a sign above the two-car garage that reads “PG Butterfly House.” But butterflies can also be found in the bedrooms, the kitchen, the bathrooms and actually in every living room. If you walked around the house and had a drink every time you saw a butterfly, you wouldn’t be able to walk in a straight line.
“I love the eclectic artwork,” said the listing agent Arlene Hardenstein by Sotheby’s International Realty – Pacific Grove Brokerage. “One quirky section flows into another — it’s very sparkly, fun and pretty.” According to Hardenstein, J died a few years ago and Sonja is selling the house because her needs have changed.
Of course, prospective buyers must be either color blind or a fan of bright colors to live here.
“A buyer has to love this home and be willing to live in a ‘fishbowl’ of sorts,” said Hardenstein, who factored in decor when pricing. “The PG Butterfly House is well known in the community and attracts a fairly constant flow of visitors curious to see it.”
Of course, neighbors weren’t always fans of tourist attractions on their street. “It looks like a circus to me,” neighbor Wendy Davies told the Monterey Herald in 2015. “People drive by, someone parks in front of my house or blocks my driveway.”
According to J, one such viewer – who traveled all the way from south of the border – snapped a photo of the house to hang in his butterfly shop 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 pictures [and] Selfies,” said Hardenstein, who says they have many eclectic homes on the Monterey Peninsula, but none are as unique and colorful as this one. Lucky for Hardenstein, it has great bones.
“The house appears to be in good condition and the furnishings are very comfortable,” she said.
So far, she’s received “tremendous interest” from all types of potential buyers who either love the home, love the story behind the home — or both. Haters—or negative nancies addicted to neutrals—will hate. After all, colorful cocoons are not for everyone. But if you’re looking for Lisa Frank personified, good luck finding a more perfect property.