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The house is derelict and is situated in an otherwise abandoned industrial area. It is barely inhabitable, and The Narrator notes that when it rains, the electricity must be turned off because the house has a severely leaky roof, some sections having rotted away entirely. This also causes the basement of the house to flood with rainwater. The Narrator goes on to describe that the house smells, the plumbing is filled with rust, and the overall structure of the building feels as though it is ready to collapse, Tyler and Marla's rough sex being enough to dislodge ceiling plaster from the floor below their bed. Due to the power being cut on rainy days, the refrigerator is warm and moldy.
The house is perpetually dirty, the front and backyard having trash strewn about the place. Barely any of the houses amenities function; the front door lock is useless due to the door having been kicked-in sometime in the past, most of the lights don't work due to electrical problems, and many of the house's windows have been boarded up or had newspaper taped over shattered sections.
Three different addresses have been attributed to the Paper Street house.
- 420 Paper St. Wilmington DE 19886. Chuck Palahniuk mentioned this address in the afterword of the novel, although he did not directly state that it was the address of the Paper Street house. To date, he has never confirmed this one way or the other. Incidentally, the afterword was written years after the film's release, appearing only in copies of the novel published after 2005.
- 537 Paper Street, Bradford DE 19808. This is how the address appears on Tyler Durden's business card and is widely accepted as the house's official address.
- 1537 Paper Street, Bradford DE 19808. 1537 Paper Street is the address The Narrator gives while being interrogated by the police. It's unknown whether this was a mistake in the dialogue/script, or if it means an error was made in the creation of the business card.
There are also two different phone numbers attributed to the house.
- (288) 555-0153. This is the number printed on Tyler Durden's business card.
- (288) 555-1534. This number is shown on the phone The Narrator uses to call the "1888" office building near the end of the film.
Note: The 288 area code has not been assigned to any actual phone numbers. It is considered "reserved for future use."
The name "Paper Street" is a clever play on words, and possibly a subtle clue about Tyler Durden's imaginary nature. A paper street is a road or street that appears on maps but does not exist in reality. Paper streets generally occur when city planners or subdivision developers lay out and dedicate streets that are never built. Commercial street maps based only on official subdivision and land records may show these streets, which are legally public rights of way though usually undriveable.