Rotten Wood Makes for a Major Snag in Rehab of 1970s Shag House

The shag is gone—but the ’70s vibe remains.

When we last checked in with Alysha and Nate Jackson six months ago, demolition was underway at the 1970s time capsule home they had bought in Fort Wayne, IN.

To jog your memory, there was colorful shag carpet everywhere when they bought the place—even in the kitchen and bathrooms.

Fans of over-the-top color schemes may have been mourning, but there were practical reasons for its removal.

Alysha Jackson says that many felt that the main bathroom should be left as is, with its scarlet carpet climbing up the tub.

“However, when we did open it up, it was moldy and rotten, and it would not have been viable for very much longer,” she says. “The tub looked really cool, but when you sat in it, it was extremely uncomfortable.”

The tilework, too, she adds, was failing in some places.

Original home in Fort Wayne, IN


Original shag color scheme


Original main bathroom


Original kitchen


Original kitchen


Original exterior


Some of the Jacksons’ over 42,000 Instagram followers weren’t happy with their decision to turf the scarlet carpet out of the bathroom.

“A lot of these people unfollowed me already, but in the beginning, we got a lot of comments from people that were so angry that we were touching any part of this home,” Alysha says. “The thing is, sometimes you have to, so you can make sure the home will last. That was the case with this bathroom.”

Timeline torched

When the Jacksons bought the house in late 2020, they had a timeline for renovations, which quickly went by the wayside.

“We hit so many snags in material delays, and things we found in the house that were completely rotten,” she says. “Our initial estimate of being done this summer got pushed back quite a bit, but once this house is finished, it’s going to last forever and is going to be pretty solid.”

One major problem with the house arose when the couple began to build a deck. Once contractors peeled back the siding, they found that termites had eaten most of the home’s support beams.

“The only thing really supporting the roof was one metal beam, because the rest of the wood was rotten. It was an unpleasant surprise,” Jackson says. “It’s one of those big moments that you see on the [TV] shows where they find a massive problem. This was ours.”

The home’s support beams are now repaired, the dining room is no longer on the verge of collapse, and a new Trex composite deck is attached to the living space.

“We decided on a gray, creamy color to go with the flooring in the house. For our family, our kids are outside all the time, so we wanted that flow from inside to outside. The deck is completely done, and now we’re moving on to the interior of the house.”

Moving inside

The kitchen is the next project on the Jacksons’ list.

“We did decide to replace all the original cabinets, because they were not real. We’re replacing them with a similar, darker wood look. We’re keeping that ’70s feel,” she says.

Finding the right appliances has proven to be a challenge. The Jacksons would like retro-looking ones, but that isn’t in the cards right now.

“People sometimes see an Instagram and think that the budget is limitless. It’s not, and because of the issues that we found on the outside, it means we have to take from other areas, so we can’t splurge on appliances. We’ll have to get typical appliances that will be great, and go from there.”

Original interior


Original bathroom


The wood carvings in the kitchen and elsewhere throughout the house are staying, including the stunning front door.

While some of the wood paneling is staying, it’s out in the bedrooms.

“Having slept there for three months, you really don’t want wood paneling in your bedroom. You get wood chips in your pillow,” Jackson says. “It’s beautiful, but it’s real cedar, and it does shed sometimes.”

Given the couple’s desire to keep the integrity of the home intact, Jackson says making design choices is more difficult than she thought it would be.

“Everything takes so much longer when you try to be meticulous about your design choices,” she says. “It’s not like I’m going into a home with a blank slate.”

This is a home with a history, she says, with its own historical value and look, but it also has to be a place that she feels at home in.

“It takes longer to make design choices that will still honor the home,” she adds, “but will work for our family.”

Family matters

During the summer, the Jacksons had to rush back to Florida to take placement of a new baby who was going into the foster care system. Now, they are a family of five, with a sweet-tempered new addition.

“People always say going from two to three is really tough,” Alysha says. She notes that since the couple’s older two children came to them together, they had originally jumped from zero to two kids, and that “adding a third actually was a smoother transition.”

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