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10 Houses Painted in Protest

OnlineAthens.com
OnlineAthens.com

Homeowners who paint their houses unusual colors, like Mr. Plumbean in this classic children's book, are sometimes doing it just for fun. But sometimes their motivations are all about making a statement or getting revenge. Spiteful paint jobs are a common way for people to get back at strict city ordinances, historical commissions, homeowners' associations, bigoted neighbors and even banks. And like spite houses, they're fun to look at. Here are a few examples.

1. Topeka, KS

Image credit: courtesy of Gawker

Gawker reports that an activist group has purchased a house across the street from Westboro Baptist Church, which has gotten national attention for its vehement anti-gay activities as well as the anti-gay slogans posted on signs on its property. Now church-goers will have a house-sized gay symbol to look at every Sunday morning: The owners are painting the new house to resemble a rainbow flag.

2. Cape Cod, Mass.

The owners of this historic house applied for permits to alter the building, but they were repeatedly turned down. According to a 2010 article from the Cape Cod Times, they denied that they commissioned the garish green and yellow update to get revenge, but it seems a clear case of a spiteful paint job.

3. Lubbock, Texas

Image credit: Courtesy of OnlineAthens

The city cracked down on the landlord of this house for allowing unrelated occupants to live in it together. So the landlord thumbed his nose at the city by painting the brick house purple, with black and yellow polka dots. Eventually, though, the landlord settled with the city and agreed to return the house to its original color.

4. Edenton, N.C.

Image credit: Courtesy of WVEC.com

A development company reportedly painted this house yellow with purple stripes in 2011 to express frustration over a dispute with their bank, according to local news outlet WVEC. When neighbors protested, the owners hastily painted over the bright colors with white paint.

5. Thorntown, Ind.

An Indiana homeowner was insulted when town officials accused him of neglecting his child. He posted angry signs in his windows, painted odd designs on his house and filled the yard with outrageous lawn ornaments like a boat and a giant styrofoam alligator.

6. Avondale Estates, GA.

Image credit: Courtesy of 2Dorks

A homeowner in Georgia, denied permission to change the front steps of his house, painted the whole thing bright green with purple spots to get revenge on the local Historic Preservation Commission. The Los Angeles Times reported that many neighbors painted purple dots on their own houses in sympathy. Within a month, the mayor overruled the earlier decision and the owner was able to alter his front steps.

7. Napa, Calif.

In 2010, a Napa resident spray-painted expletives all over his home’s exterior in an attempt to send a message to employees of the gas station next door, who he complained were using their leaf blower too late in the evening. (Napa city ordinances prohibit businesses from using noisy equipment after 9 p.m.—the neighbor claimed that he heard gas station employees working with the leaf blower at 10.) A code enforcement officer for the city said there wasn’t much they could do: “It’s his own property and he has the right to paint it,” she told the Napa Valley Register.

8., 9. Cambridge, Md., and Bradenton, Fla.

 

This is awesome!! The American flag house pictured above is located in Cambridge, Maryland, and its owner, Branden...

Posted by Beth Mansfield on Saturday, April 26, 2014


In 2013, this photo of a home in Cambridge, Md.—and the alleged story behind the patriotic paint job—went viral. According to the rumor, its owner was told to take down an American flag he had flying in his yard, and, in protest, painted his entire house red, white, and blue. In reality, the reasons for the makeover weren’t quite as patriotic—the homeowner was actually protesting the historical code after building inspectors told him that his restored Victorian’s windows weren't in compliance. 

In Bradenton, Fla., last June, a Florida man outfitted his home in the stars and stripes after he was cited for several local code violations, including peeling paint, a lack of window screens, and trash in the yard. Officials first noticed that his house was in violation after they received an anonymous complaint that his 15-foot Christmas tree had fallen over in the front yard. 

10. London, England

The owner of a townhouse in London’s posh Kensington neighborhood—worth £15 million—hired painters to give her residence candy stripes after neighbors blocked her plans to demolish the building and, in its place, build a brand-new home boasting a two-story basement with a pool. Unless she repaints, the Chelsea and Kensington neighborhood councils have threatened to prosecute under a section of a local act that states that a property’s condition should not “adversely affect the amenity of the area.”

 

Portions of this post originally appeared in 2013.

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Ker Robertson, Getty Images
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architecture
5 Scrapped Designs for the World's Most Famous Buildings
Ker Robertson, Getty Images
Ker Robertson, Getty Images

When an architect gets commissioned to build a skyscraper or a memorial, they’re usually not the only applicant for the job. Other teams of designers submit their own ideas for how it should look, too, but these are eventually passed over in favor of the final design. This is the case for some of the world’s most recognizable landmarks—in an alternate world, the Arc de Triomphe might have been a three-story-tall elephant statue, and the Lincoln Memorial a step pyramid.

GoCompare, a comparison site for financial services, dug into these could-have-been designs for Alternate Architecture, an illustrated collection of scrapped designs for some of the most famous structures in the world, from Chicago's Tribune Tower to the Sydney Opera House.

Click through the interactive graphic below to explore rejected designs for all five landmarks.

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Paul Wegener
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Design
For Sale: The Safest House in America, Complete With Hidden Command Center
Paul Wegener
Paul Wegener

For some people, locking the front door just isn't enough to feel fully safe at home. Maybe they set up a home security system. Maybe they go out and buy a fancy smart home hub with a security camera. Or maybe they spend six years and $30 million to build a veritable fortress mansion, as one guy in Atlanta did. That house, called the Rice House and referred to as one of the safest homes in America, is now up for sale for $14.7 million.

Built by an entrepreneur who hired a security architect with a background designing Justice Department buildings (and his own bunker/house), the Rice House is billed as a "modern fortress" in the real estate listing.

For its owner, creating an impenetrable home was more of a personal challenge than a real security need, according to Bloomberg. But by its features, you'd think it was built for a Bond super-villain or a head of state, not a businessman in a wealthy Atlanta neighborhood.

A secure door with several locks
Paul Wegener

It has its own water and power supply, a 5000-square-foot command center hidden behind a waterfall, a vault, and doors capable of withstanding machine gun fire. There’s an indoor gun range, in case you need some target practice. There’s enough room in the garage for 30 cars, in case you have a few dozen Batmobiles—or you want to invite friends to hunker down with you during the apocalypse.

And since anyone who lives there might be more invested in staying safely inside the gates than going out on the weekends, the place has plenty of amenities that make it a standalone mini-community. It’s got its own art gallery, a gym, a bowling alley, a wine cellar, a home theater, and a pool. It has three kitchens and two commercial elevators, with staff quarters so the servants you inevitably need to cater to you never need to leave, either.

But wait, there’s more. If the house lacks something you want, that’s fine! Because according to the listing, “the property purposefully awaits final personalization.” In other words, for your $14.7 million, it’s not finished.

Check it out here.

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