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by Pauli Poisuo
Have you ever been so mad at someone that you wanted to build a whole house just to let the whole world know how much you hate them? Of course you haven’t. That would be insane. Still, as strange as it sounds, multiple extremely petty people have wanted vengeance so badly that they’ve actually erected entire buildings out of pure spite. These are their stories.
Plum Island Pink House
Take a look at the idyllic dream home in this picture:
This is where John Mellencamp was born.
Surely, a house like that couldn’t be anything but a labor of love, meant for raising a happy family and cavorting in the inviting bushland surrounding it. And sure, the original version of the house was probably meant for that sort of thing. Too bad that the Pink House on Plum Island, Massachusetts is merely a replica. A replica that was specifically made to be as awful as humanly possible.
As many spiteful things do, it all started with a couple falling out of love. The year was 1925, and a man whose name history has fortunately forgotten wanted to divorce his wife. The wife agreed to do this on one condition: The man would have to build her an exact replica of their town home. Unfortunately, she had forgotten to specify just where and how the house should be built. And this was decidedly not an amicable divorce.
The man set out to fulfill his upcoming ex-wife’s wish in the most douchey “evil genie” manner possible. While technically respecting the letter of the deal, he went out of his way to build the house in a place that would cause her the most discomfort. The site he chose was the great marshland of Plum Island, far away from everything ... completely isolated from other people. As an extra scoop of pettiness, the place didn’t even have fresh running water -- the only available water was as salty as the builder’s attitude.
Incredibly, the man did build the house well enough so it wouldn’t crumble at the slightest gust of wind. The Pink House is still standing today, a slowly decaying memorial to love ended badly. Occasionally, people attempt to purchase it because some folks will buy anything with a good enough backstory. However, the asking price of $375,000 (circa 2012) would barely cover half of the actual expenses of the place, since there’s a frankly worrying amount of lead paint, asbestos and radon to deal with. We’d like to say that those are probably there because 1925 was a very different time, construction wise. But really, if a guy is vindictive enough to build his ex a home on marshland in the middle of barely livable nowhere, would you put it past him to deliberately build said home from actual poison?
The Candy Striped House
Imagine owning a prime piece of real estate in Kensington, one of the swankier parts of London. However, imagine that said townhouse is basically just a concrete box with windows that you mostly use for storage. Naturally, you’d like to tear it down and build a much better home in its place. (In case you didn’t figure it out yet, you’re filthy rich in this scenario. We probably should have mentioned that right away.)
Alas, your rich neighbors want nothing to do with your construction antics, and objections to your dream home fly left and right. It looks like you’re stuck with the concrete box until you can figure out how to appease a bunch of grumpy London millionaires, which is only marginally harder than building your dream house on the Sun, and draws roughly the same amount of heat.
So you decide to make the best out of a sticky situation and liven up the current building with a quick paint job. And that’s how we got the Candy Striped House of Kensington. Behold:
It also doubles as a stand-in for a 1960s movie about nurses.
That is not a Photoshop. That’s a very real house makeover that real estate developer and owner of the most Mary Poppins-y name in existence, Zipporah Lisle-Mainwaring, gave her problematic Kensington townhouse in 2015. This, of course, was just because she felt that turning her house into the architectural equivalent of clown pants livens up the neighborhood. It was totally unrelated to her troubles with her neighbors, and definitely not a specifically formulated middle finger meant to annoy them to the bottom of their souls. Definitely.
Of course, the neighbors were immediately blinded with righteous upper-class scoffing (and by the eye-aching color scheme), and the Kensington and Chelsea Council served her a notice to paint the house white. Zipporah Lisle-Mainwaring didn’t give a fraction of a damn. Instead, she gleefully took things to court, and after a mere two years of fighting, actually got a judge to side with her. With law on her hilarious paint job’s side, she’s now fighting with her neighbors over what kind of house she can eventually build in the Candy House’s place. They’re currently arguing about the basement floor, which seems like an unwise move from the neighbors, considering how Lisle-Mainwaring seems hell bent on making the fight circus-themed at every opportunity.
What we’re saying is that the next time you see the headline “Kensington Clown Basement,” they might not be talking about a Purge spinoff.
The Beirut Grudge Building
It’s one thing to construct a building out of spite. It’s another thing entirely to make it so blatantly obvious that the building gets its very name from it. Such is the case with Beirut’s own al-Ba’sa (literally “The Grudge”), an apartment complex that’s way less apartment-y and complex than its perfectly ordinary facade would have you believe. That’s because the facade is pretty much all that it is:
“Dude, watch out! You almost cut yourself on the edge of that building.”
The building is a result of good old sibling rivalry. Two brothers each inherited a plot from their father, but when the city’s road infrastructure partly reclaimed land from one of the brothers, he became hell-bent on making sure that his more fortunate sibling wouldn’t be able to enjoy his plot, either. He decided that the best way to do this would be to block his brother’s sea view, thus decreasing the value of any building constructed there. So in 1954, he took the remaining sliver of his own plot -- a thin 1,300 sq ft -piece of land conveniently located between his brother’s plot and the sea -- and constructed al-Ba’sa.
Yeah, dude basically built a wall on the last of his own land, solely out of spite. He also took care to make his wall an actual residential building: While only around 2 feet wide on one end, al-Ba’sa does widen just enough on the other end to technically qualify for residential use.
We’re surprised it wasn’t built in the shape of a middle finger.
Although al-Ba’sa seems like the first building a city would tear down because come on, it’s actually one of the least likely buildings to get ground in the teeth of Lebanon’s active building scene: Current legislation dictates its plot is far too small for building ... well, anything. Suck it, brother!
The Alameda Spite House
We’re not sure if it’s correlation or causality, but it certainly seems that badass revenge house names go hand in hand with public roadworks. Much like the al-Ba’sa, the Alameda Spite House got its start when landowner Charles Froling had the majority of his sizable lot seized by the growing city so they could build a street. This was enthusiastically supported by Froling’s neighbor, who presumably fancied a Froling-less view and a proper street address instead of being confined to some BS back alley.
However, while Froling’s lot in life seemed pretty grim, he still had a lot: Namely, a pathetically narrow, 8x54 -ft. patch of land between his neighbor and the street.
You can probably guess what happened next.
The upside is that you could borrow a cup of sugar through a window.
We’re not sure what we like about that tiny, overly high anger house the most. Maybe it’s the fact that he made it just high enough to block the neighbor’s windows entirely, structural integrity be damned. Maybe it’s the way he went the extra mile to make sure that the second floor outright looms over the street. Or maybe it’s the fact that Froling had dreamed of building a huge mansion for himself on the lot, but retired his dreams to build what’s essentially a two-floor corridor, purely to appease his spiteful rage.
Moral of the story: If you live next door to a guy called Froling, now would be a good time to invite them over for a neighbor-bonding glass of Scotch. It’s probably not in your best interest to piss them off.
The Kavanagh Building
The Kavanagh Building in Buenos Aires has a truly legendary origin story, and as Batman and Spider-Man can attest, this means that everyone telling said origin story has their own, slightly different version of it. However, most versions seem to agree about the following general structure:
In the 1930s, a rich young American, Corina Kavanagh, fell in love with a son of Argentinian bigwig Mercedes Castellanos de Anchorena. The Argentine’s family did not much care for a potential American in-law, so they undermined the relationship until it collapsed. And with most stories, that would have been the end of it. Corina, however, was not about to let the action-blocking antics of the Anchorenas go unpunished.
With some cunning real estate chicanery, Corina Kavanagh acquired a large piece of land at the very heart of the city and set out to build its first skyscraper named Edificio Kavanagh, or the Kavanagh Building.
Actually, we think this one WAS built in the shape of a middle finger.
She didn’t do this to drive the Anchorenas out of the local real estate market by providing affordable housing or anything. Her strategy was much, much pettier. The Kavanagh Building rose by the Plaza San Martin, which had a special meaning to the Anchorenas. They lived in the San Martin palace on one side of the square. On the other side of the square, they had built a family church called the Holy Sacrament Basilica, which they could see directly from their palace.
Like a giant, concrete middle finger, the Kavanagh building rose directly in front of the Basilica, completely blocking it from view and sunlight. Just like that, Corina Kavanagh had delivered the most poetic of all revenges. The Anchorenas had loomed over the most precious thing in her life, so she would literally loom directly in front of the most precious thing in theirs.
It probably goes without saying that Kavanagh herself moved into the skyscraper, taking over the entire 14th floor. We’ll refrain from speculating on any imaginative gestures and curses she might have thrown at the Anchorenas from her perch on a daily basis.
Like this article? Check out “5 Impressive Acts Of Petty Revenge” and “Insanely Creative Buildings That Solved Huge Problems”.