A homeowner says that he's painted his house purple and decorated it with pink ribbons because he wants to raise awareness about two fatal diseases. But some of his neighbors are seeing red over what they view as a retaliatory gesture, not a charitable one. And they say they've been complaining about the upkeep of the property in Denville, N.J., for some time.
October is National Breast Cancer Awareness Month and homeowner John Pinto -- who inherited and is selling the house in central New Jersey that's at the center of the controversy -- told the Daily Record newspaper in Parsippany that the pink plastic ribbons are intended to aid in the fight against that disease, while the purple paint job is in support of the battle against lupus. Pinto says that he knows victims of both diseases. The home's color scheme is apparently attracting the attention of more than just his neighbors.
"My mom just passed away from breast cancer, and I just saw it and wanted to take a picture," a passing motorist, Sandy DeMidio of Mount Olive, told the Daily Record. "It means something to me, and I wanted to share it."
But some of those living nearby in the town of about 17,000 told local media that they are skeptical of Pinto's motives, having previously complained to authorities about the state of his property -- from its overgrown grass to a roof that was caving in. Ray Baxter, who lives across the street from the house, told the Daily Record that he feared that the condition of the property and Pinto's latest actions "could drive the property values down the whole block."
"Shame on him for taking a serious cause that has effected [sic] so many people and their loved ones to get others to condone his sheer lack of disregard for a neighborhood," wrote commenter Sarah Walsh O'Toole on the News 12 New Jersey website.
Another commenter there, identifying herself as Jenn Pinto, sister of the homeowner, defended his actions: "We know SEVERAL people that have suffered through both Lupus and Breast Cancer and have all donated to both causes. It is NO ONE'S business what he chooses to do unless they are paying the mortgage on the property. ..." Jenn Pinto went on to add that "the ribbons are fashioned from recycled materials."
In other comments, Nancy Raines Prail of Morristown, N.J., wrote: "It looks a lot better than it did before. ... now it is clean looking and fresh."
Nicole Milluzzo, a spokeswoman for Weichert, Realtors, which is representing John Pinto in the sale of his home, said that he declined to be interviewed for this story. However, Bill Peer, a Weichert agent -- but not the listing agent -- told AOL Real Estate that the home is uninhabitable and will likely need to be torn down and that its accompanying eight acres could be sold for development.
According to AOL Real Estate's review of listing records, the property at 382 Franklin Road has been listed for $1.1 million and its 1,833-square-foot house on it was built in 1949. Milluzzo said the agency is currently in negotiations on its sale.
Pinto told the Daily Record that a portion of the proceeds from the property's sale would go to charities related to lupus and breast cancer. If the sale falls through, Pinto said, he plans to knock down the house, which he inherited 14 years ago and rented until it became structurally unsafe. "None of this is permanent," he said.
Of course there's plenty of precedent for "making the statement" like this, whatever the motive. In September, Chuck Blanton of Lafayette, Ala., painted his house purple, but added pink polka dots and gold stars, to celebrate the 20th anniversary of the first time he did so after he "got miffed" in 1983 by a critique in the local paper about the condition of his house. This time around "is just for fun," he told a TV station there, WJCN.
And last year, AOL Real estate reported about a couple in Buena Park, Calif., that had their home painted green and orange as part of a promotional scheme -- in return for payments on their mortgage.
See the slideshow below for a look at some dramatically painted homes currently for sale -- where the intent seems only to please.
HOMES MAKING A COLORFUL SPLASH ON THE HOUSING MARKET:
This pink 2-story renovated view home overlooks Holly Park. The kitchen features custom cabinets, granite counters and high-end appliances. The adjacent skylit dining area overlooks the garden and has southern views, according to the listing. Detached on 3 sides, this home is bright, has views, and is perfect for contemporary living. The 1,225-square-foot home is listed for $995,000.
This 1894 Queen Anne Painted Lady has more than 3,000 square feet. A former bed and breakfast, it has 4-bedrooms and 1.5 baths. The listing states that it is well insulated, has natural woodwork, stained glass, hardwood floors, three fireplaces, a gazebo and other outbuildings. It is listed for only $274,500.
Built in 1890, this Victorian was updated in 2011 with a granite island in the kitchen and stainless appliances. There is a tiled fireplace with gas insert in this 5-bedroom home. The listing says that there are pocket doors, and a master bedroom with adjoining office/nursery. A third floor is also finished with hardwood. The list price is $349,900.
This purple Victorian has marble floors, double parlors, and a master suite with walk-in closets. According to the listing, the 5-bedroom home has gorgeous chandeliers, custom drapes, stained glass medallions, and the fifth bedroom has its own full bath. There is an in-ground pool and artist studio. It is listed for $2,495,000.
This 9-bedroom home was built in 1912 and completely redesigned by the Berkeley Dean of Architecture, Joseph Esherick in 1955. The property consists of three lots. The 9,398-square-foot home is built on one lot with a small portion encroaching on the second lot, according to the listing. The home has spacious rooms, high ceilings, lots of natural light, massive storage, a large wine cellar, 3 side-by-side interior parking spaces and guest parking. It is listed for $10.75 million.
Although not for sale, this 1,500-square-foot "Not So Big House" will be featured this week in an AOL Real Estate article about architects.
"This home reflects the party-throwing style of the owner, a high-tech worker by day and a stage manager by night, while incorporating the client's love of theater," says architect Susan Harris Welker of Harris Welker Architects in Austin, Texas.