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Whatever Happened To The Real-Life Simpsons House?

While it seems hard to believe that the beloved long-running animated sitcom "The Simpsons" would ever have any chance of failure, there was a brief time when Fox had their worries regarding the iconic yellow family. In 1997, following a downfall in merchandise sales, Fox needed something big to keep the relevance of "The Simpsons" moving forward. Eventually, the heads thought of an idea so big and bold that it would be impossible for fans to resist. They would construct a life-sized, exact replica of the Simpsons family household located in Nevada, getting every last inch of the iconic cartoon abode right down to the last detail, from the bright colors to the furniture to the photos hanging on the wall. Headed by project manager Mike Woodley, architect Manny Gonzalez, and production designer Rick Floyd, the team took in hundreds of episodes and storyboards of the show to get the best layout of the home possible. The goal was that, following public tours of the home, a lucky fan would have a chance to win the house thanks to a sweepstakes with Pepsi (via Mental Floss). 

It sounds like any fan's dream come true — living in the home of your favorite characters. Not to mention, for a family of "Simpsons" fans, a perfect opportunity to play out your own couch gag moment. But with that said, did anyone get their hands on the big, colorful home? Well, yes, but it didn't end quite how you'd expect.

The house has gone through quite the makeover

The initial winner of the sweepstakes was then-63-year-old Barbara Howard, a factory worker from Kentucky (via the Las Vegas Sun). Fox gave her the choice between either the home or $75,000, which was about roughly half of what the house itself was worth (via Los Angeles Times). The contest winner went with the cash, as the house was too far away from her Kentucky home, where she and her family owned an ostrich and tobacco farm. Although she wished they'd be able to build the house closer to where she lives so she could use it as a tourist stop to help fund her brother's cancer fund, it wasn't a feasible option. 

Today, the home is in possession of a secretary who cares little about the show. Despite the constant pestering of fans trying to visit the house, she was able to make it her own (via Mental Floss). The vibrant colors that decorated the exterior of the home were brought back to the earthy colors of the other households in the area. Other additions to the exterior — such as Bart's treehouse and the "El Barto" graffiti done by "Simpsons" creator Matt Groening — are no longer present. However, the house still contains the decorative, non-functional chimney, circular door, bay windows, and the Homer Simpson cement drawing signed by Groening. It also lacks the Spanish roof tiling that the other houses in the area have (via The A.V. Club).