Lake Worth man spent 16 years ‘decorating’ his home
| Palm Beach Post
LAKE WORTH — If strange home decor is your thing, this Bud – er, Lake Worth condo – is for you.
From the outside, the two-bedroom, 820-square-foot residence in the Lucerne Greene Condominium community near Lake Worth Road and Florida’s Turnpike, looks like any other.
But those who step inside say they’ve never seen anything like it.
Every inch of the condo’s walls and ceilings – except in its two bathrooms – is covered in cans of Budweiser beer consumed by the homeowner and his friends.
It took Michael Amelotte, a Navy veteran who died in June at age 69 after battling throat cancer, around 16 years to plaster his pad with the aluminum cans. Kris Johnson, Amelotte’s friend of 30 years and the executor of his estate, estimates 5,000 to 6,000 cans adorn the place, but it’s anybody’s guess.
“He was a character, alright,” Johnson said. “Crazy as hell.”
Crazy enough to catch the attention of the folks at Budweiser. After the condo went on sale following Amelotte’s death, the St. Louis-based company offered on its Twitter account to supply the new owner with free brewskis in exchange for the promise to maintain the home’s unique appearance.
The home was listed for $100,000 and has found a buyer, but the purchase is awaiting approval from the community’s homeowner’s association. It’s not yet known if the buyer will accept Budweiser’s offer.
The condo didn’t last on the market for long after Jesse Kearney, of Wellington-based Kearney & Associates Realty, posted photos on social media.
“We thought it was going to be a difficult property,” said Kearney, who reports that multiple offers were made. “We were not expecting the interest that we got.”
Kearney estimates that at least 50 showings took place and concedes that most who walked through the unit “had no interest in purchasing the property. They just wanted to see it.”
It’s not just the curious who wanted a look.
Dubbed the “House of Budweiser”, the condo has been featured in countless news stories as far away as New Zealand and was spotlighted recently during a segment of the entertainment news show, “Access Hollywood”.
“If Mike was looking down on us right now, I think he would be humbled by all the attention he’s getting,” Johnson said of Amelotte.
A lifelong bachelor from Buffalo, N.Y., who loved nothing more than watching his favorite teams – the New York Yankees and Buffalo Bills – on television while sipping a cold one, Amelotte got his decorating idea one day in 1990 while stacking Bud cans into a pyramid on his dining room table.
“You know what?” Johnson remembers Amelotte saying. “I think I’m going to glue these beer cans to the living room wall.”
“Are you nuts?” Johnson asked his friend.
“‘No, I think it would look really neat,” Amelotte responded.
“Well Mike, it’s your condo,” Johnson acknowledged. “If I put them on my walls at home, my wife would put me in a mental hospital.’”
For around the next 16 years, nearly every can of beer that Amelotte drank at home was washed out, dried and then mounted to a wall or ceiling. Visitors say there is not a whiff of beer smell inside the condo.
Every can in the place is a Budweiser. Amelotte refused to drink anything else.
”The only thing that touched his lips since he was able to drink was Budweiser,” Johnson said. “He just liked it. I brought a six-pack of Miller Lite over one time and he told me, ‘You can take that right back out to your truck.'”
Amelotte’s interior design spared no detail. He crafted beer cans into crown molding, electrical outlet covers and air conditioning vents.
“He really made it look cool,” Johnson said.
Kearney informed every prospective buyer of the condo’s decor before showings, he said, in order to avoid “surprises.”
“We didn’t want people going in there thinking it was a normal place,” Kearney said.
Johnson said he’s going to miss “going over there” and hopes that the new owner will maintain his buddy’s homage to Budweiser.
Kearney thinks the offer of free beer might not be “enough incentive” for the new homeowner not to redo the interior.
Johnson and Amelotte, who bought the condo from his mother in 1978, discussed the possibility that the cans might come down some day. Amelotte, Johnson said, reacted with levity.
‘I’m not going to worry about it, because I’m not going to be here,” he said.