Southern Minnesota family’s home nominated for ‘Ugliest House in America’

A Blue Earth home that once was a funeral home was nominated for HGTV’s “Ugliest House in America”
The home of Noel and Renee Johnson, formerly the Patton Funeral Home, is pictured Tuesday, Jan....
The home of Noel and Renee Johnson, formerly the Patton Funeral Home, is pictured Tuesday, Jan. 11, 2022, in Blue Earth, Minn. The home was recently in the running for HGTV's "Ugliest House in America."(KEYC)
Published: Jan. 11, 2022 at 5:36 PM CST|Updated: Jan. 11, 2022 at 7:12 PM CST
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BLUE EARTH, Minn. (KEYC) — Tucked away in Blue Earth is a home unlike any other you’ve probably seen before.

“It can kind of get viewed as like oh you think your house is so ugly, no we actually have a really beautiful house you know it’s like, it is the best house we have ever lived in,” Noel Johnson said.

Renee and Noel Johnson’s house used to be a funeral home.

“The doors to the funeral home side sometimes, Noel says he deadbolts it, but sometimes they will just be wide open,” Renee Johnson said. “We are like ‘why is it so cold?’ and you go over there and it’s wide open. That has happened more than a few times.”

“I will just say that maybe there is not a good handle on it... It’s drafty, we will just say that,” Noel Johnson added.

They closed on the nearly 7,000-square foot house on Oct. 31, 2020.

Complete with a former viewing room, which has since been turned into a playroom, along with an embalming room that the couple will turn into a laundry room, it has not held a funeral or wake since 2003.

“I don’t know that I pitched it as a funeral home. I think I probably shared about the house that is kind of like the property is unique in the sense that it is a house kind of with a funeral home wrapped around it,” Noel said.

In one way or another, the community of Blue Earth is already connected to what was the Patton Funeral Home.

“Everybody has a history with it, whether it is a building they have walked past and kind of wondered about or so. I think in that way it is kind of cool to invite the community in.”

The two moved from California to Noel’s hometown of Blue Earth when they saw an opportunity in the area. Since their move, the couple has purchased other properties in the area, in addition to tackling renovations at their current home.

Earning the credit of being an official eyesore comes from recently being featured on the HGTV series “Ugliest House in America.” The couple did not win, but the brush with fame has helped them realize the potential of their unique home.

“The peace that came from or how this is a place that people were comforted, yes, they were sad, but for a lot of people, it was the last time they got to say goodbye to someone, and it brought them peace,” Renee Johnson said.

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