Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Couched in These Terms, Ugly Is Good

Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Couched in These Terms, Ugly Is Good

Article excerpt

It's a dubious one as awards go, but on the upside, it offers a chance to win $5,000.

Rose Wilson of Jacksonville Beach has a bluish-green and yellow behemoth in her family room that is one of the three finalists in the Ugliest Couch in America Contest, sponsored by Sure Fit Inc., a national slipcover company.

"Actually, I don't think my couch is ugly," Wilson said with a laugh. "My friend wanted me to enter the contest, so I guess that tells you what she thinks."

Wilson's entry was one of more than 1,000 in the company's sixth annual contest. Next week, the three couches will appear on ABC's Good Morning America, and the first-place winner of $5,000 will be announced. The two runners-up get slipcovers. Air time and judging guidelines haven't been decided yet.

A panel of Sure Fit staffers culled all entries to a Top 10 list they posted on www.surefit.net/uglycouch/topten.cfm. People logged on, looked at the photos and voted. Of the 4,227 votes cast, Wilson got the most with 837.

The hide-a-bed sofa, which Wilson's two grandchildren love and refer to as "Granny Rose's Fun Couch," has an eye-popping pattern of swirls. Liana Toscanini, public relations director at Sure Fit who developed the contest in 1995, said the fabric makes Wilson's entry a standout.

"People thought the pattern was hideous in a make-you-dizzy way," Toscanini said. "Actually, that couch is the most controversial entry because some other people thought it was cool. It's a love-hate reaction . . . this is definitely a case of ugly is in the eye of the beholder."

The other two finalists in the contest are Sandy Joslyn of Coon Rapids, Minn., with a red and white geometric-patterned sofa, and Paula Prince of Port Richey with a burgundy, brown and red button-tufted camel back.

"The couch has been such a focal point in her living room, and it has rarely failed to elicit a reaction from anyone who sees it," said Susan Cullom, Wilson's friend who encouraged her to enter. …

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