Homeowners Who Spent A Fortune Just for Revenge
Homeowners Who Spent A Fortune Just for RevengeStories
It’s not uncommon for warring neighbors to erect fences or cut down trees just to get on each other’s nerves, but what happens when someone has enough time, money and malice to use construction as revenge?
Let's have a look at some of the pettiest homeowners who took vengeance to the next level!
In Newport Massachusetts, there is a quaint little house adorned with baby-pink paintwork, an adorable chimney and a generous conservatory that would mislead you into thinking of it as a labor of love. However, the Plum Island Pink House was in fact born out of pure hatred.
Divorce is rarely pretty and both parties don’t always get what they want, but one woman got more than she bargained for during a particularly nasty settlement in 1925. The story goes that the woman in question agreed to sign the divorce papers on one condition: that her husband built her an exact replica of their current home.
Her husband obliged happily, realizing that his soon-to-be ex-wife had forgotten to specify exactly where the house should be, which presented an irresistible revenge opportunity. He fulfilled his ex-wife’s wish and an exact replica of her beloved home was painstakingly created, but it was plunked in the middle of the desolate marshland of Plum Island.
Not only was the house completely isolated from everyone and everything, but her ex-husband dished out an extra scoop of revenge by hooking the plumbing up to water saltier than he was.
Unsurprisingly, the unfortunate woman never moved in – which was probably for the best considering how much asbestos, lead paint and radon it contained. Arguably the dangers of such things weren’t known back then, but I like to think it was all in the name of good ole’ spite.
A Woman Scorned…
They say hell hath no fury like a woman scorned, and that’s especially true in the case of a monumental building in Buenos Aires which was erected just so one woman could stand back and appreciate the true beauty of revenge.
Sometime in the early 1930s, Corina Kavanagh – a self-made American millionaire who made her riches from property deals – fell in love with the son of Argentinian bigwig Mercedes Castellanos de Anchorena.
The aristocratic Anchorena family didn’t exactly approve of their precious son marrying a woman who came from “new money”, so they pressured him into breaking off the engagement.
Instead of just drowning her sorrows in a tub of Ben & Jerry’s, Kavanagh decided to put her real estate cunning to good use. The Anchorena’s lived in a decadent local palace called the San Martin Plaza and they’d recently built a private family church across the road named the Holy Sacrament Basilica.
In 1936, Kavanagh instructed an architect to design a skyscraper with the sole purpose of blocking the Anchorena’s view of their own church.
She sold three cattle ranches to fund the scheme, and within 14 months the Kavanagh Building was born. At one point the 33-floor art-deco structure was the tallest building in South America, and it showcases a suggestive resemblance to a middle finger.
Revenge is Sweeter than Candy
Anyone lucky enough to own a piece of prime real estate in London’s swanky Kensington neighborhood is probably rich, and the rich love nothing more than keeping up appearances.
On one row of haughty townhouses, there’s a bizarre anomaly to this rule which puts the rest of the street to shame: The Candy-Striped house. Thankfully, this garish paint job isn’t just a questionable style choice, but a delightfully petty way to ruffle the neighbors' feathers.
The property’s owner Zipporah Lisle-Mainwaring devised the monstrous makeover after her plans to demolish and rebuild the $6 million house were denied by snooty neighbors in 2015.
The naysayers quickly realized their mistake – presumably after they kept having to wear sunglasses while passing by the literal eyesore – and turned to the council for help, who ordered Lisle-Mainwaring to repaint it white.
These efforts fell on deaf ears though, and Lisle-Mainwaring took her opponents to court instead. After a 2-year-battle, she won the right to demolish the property and build her dream home, and in 2019 the Candy-Striped House was flattened to make way for its replacement.
Lisle-Mainwaring now plans to embark on an ambitious rebuild involving a wildly over-the-top ‘super-basement’ fitted with a private gym, cinema and an underground swimming pool. Needless to say, her neighbors remain gloriously displeased.
They say to keep your friends close and your enemies even closer, but would you really wanna move in next door to your worst nemesis? Believe it or not, the reason why two otherwise adorable houses in Nevada are located so uncomfortably close to each other comes down to a tale of deep-rooted rivalry.
In the 1950s, there were two silver miners who couldn’t stand each other. They hated each other so much that when one bought a desirable plot of land in Virginia City and built his dream home there, the other went ahead and bought up the plot right next door.
Hellbent on making his enemies' life a misery for as long as he lived there, the spiteful miner then relocated his existing home inch-by-inch so that it butted right up against his foes' new build, blocking any sunlight, decreasing the property’s value and ruining the view in the process.
Now positioned just 12-inches apart, these awkward abodes are the architectural equivalent of being squashed up against a stranger on busy public transport.
Little Slice of Hell
At first glance, the following building doesn’t look like a house at all but rather some sort of swanky garden shed. Take a wander around the other side though and you’ll be astonished to find that this property in Seattle Washington is actually a pretty sizable abode.
The best way to get a real understanding of this Tardis-like home is to view it from above, which reveals how it earned its name The Montlake Pie House.
At its largest point the house is 15-feet-wide, tapering down to a mere 55-inches at the other end – and the best part? It was built entirely out of spite. There are a couple of conflicting stories about the origins of this bizarre creation.
The first is that – during a bitter divorce settlement in 1925 – an ex-wife was given a tiny portion of land in the front yard of her former home and decided to make the most of her lot in life…all 860-square-foot of it.
Another centers around a neighborly dispute which arose when the landowner was offered a pathetic amount of money by a neighbor to expand their garden. To prove their disapproval, the landowner decided to squeeze the tiny house on the plot of land, forcing the offending neighbour to relocate.
One thing for sure either way: spite is the cement that holds this quirky property together. However, the Pie House is surprisingly spacious inside, and in 2016 it even sold for a whopping $500,000.
Scandal While at Sea
The McCobb Spite House – now located in Rockport, Maine – is one of America’s oldest Spite Houses, and it has a backstory worthy of a 19th-century soap opera.
In 1774, James McCobb built a handsome federal-period house in Phippsburg for his second wife where the pair raised their three children together, including their son Thomas McCobb.
When James McCobb died, Thomas – who had become a sea captain – returned to his former home to find that his new stepmother had moved her own family, the Hills, into the house.
This was against his father’s written will, so Thomas resolved to avenge the family name – and spite his stepmother in the process – by building an even bigger, better mansion right next door which overshadowed its counterpart.
Ironically, Thomas McCobb never married or produced any heirs, so when he died ownership of the colonial mansion was transferred back to the very people it was built to spite.
Surprisingly, the original house was destined to reclaim its original glory, because the historic McCobb spite house was eventually relocated to Deadman’s Point in Rockport, Maine in 1925.
The ‘Skinny House’ in Boston Massachusetts is the narrowest home in the city with a petite width of just 10.4feet – but it’s also an abode drenched in hatred and betrayal. According to local legend, it all began when two brothers inherited a generous plot of land from their father after he died during the civil war.
When one of the brothers returned from also serving in the war, he discovered that his sibling had already built a large house on their shared land, leaving him a mere ribbon of soil.
Determined to have the last laugh, the scorned brother erected the tiny house in what is basically an enclosed alleyway, knowing that it would block any sunlight and ruin his brother's view.
The house has been occupied since 1884, and it’s surprisingly spacious on the inside in a kitschy kinda way. In 2017, the Skinny House even sold for a cool $900,000 – I guess there’s some value in throwing your sibling under the bus after all.
This grand Victorian mansion in the booming village of Freeport, New York boasts seven bedrooms and a wraparound porch fit for a sweet old lady in a rocking chair, but its most unique selling point is that it was built specifically to be a poetic thorn in someone else’s side.
Back in 1906, local property developer John Randall discovered that a rival developer planned to arrange the village into a tidy grid system and decided that those plans must be thwarted.
Rumor has it this hulking home was then erected virtually overnight – earning it the name ‘miracle house’ – on the most awkward triangular plot of land possible that would surely halt the extension of the already developing grid.
As a result, the neatly arranged grid system was made to fork either side of the house on the corner of Lena Avenue and Wilson Place, royally messing up Randall’s rivals' plans.
Nowadays the house is a strange outlier in an otherwise normal-looking neighborhood, and Randall’s legacy lives on – when was the last time your hatred was so strong it caused actual streets to divert?
Room for Two
Behold the Alameda Spite House in the San Francisco Bay Area, which looks like it’s fallen from the sky and landed awkwardly between the road and someone else’s home.
The perpetrator of this crime of pure pettiness was carpenter Charles Froling, who had plans to build his dream house on a sizable plot of land before the majority was seized by city planners in the 1900s. Unfortunately for Froling the growing city of Alameda demanded a street to be built on a large chunk of his land, leaving him a mere 10-by-54ft patch.
Instead of just swallowing his pride and taking his plans elsewhere, Froling did what any logical person would do in this situation and channeled his time and money into a building project which would stand as a symbolic screw-you to the street that dashed his dreams.
Sure enough, Froling’s new abode landed right on his remaining sliver, measuring 20ft high, 54ft long and just 10ft wide. You might assume that the poor neighbor was just collateral damage in this architectural nightmare, but the Alameda Spite House actually targets two fronts at once.
You see, Froling’s would-be neighbor was an avid supporter of the new street and allegedly even helped pave it himself. To ensure this neighbor regretted their betrayal, Froling built his house just tall enough to block out any remaining sunlight and made it so uncomfortably close that you’d never want to undraw the curtains in fear of seeing something you shouldn’t.
Holding a grudge is supposed to be bad for your health, and when you start building revenge houses instead of just learning to let things go you should probably accept that you have a problem.
At first glance, this sliver-thin building in Beirut, Lebanon seems more like a mere wall than a home, but it is actually habitable – with its widest point measuring around 13-feet, and its narrowest just 2-feet. Locals have named the bizarre structure ‘Al Ba’sa’ which literally translates as ‘The Grudge’, and its long-standing history is a reminder of just how deep sibling rivalry can run.
Sometime in the 1950s, two siblings inherited a sizable portion of land from their father but couldn’t agree on what to build on it. To make matters worse, during all the squabbling a portion of the land was cruelly chopped off by various municipal infrastructure projects – leaving the remaining section oddly shaped and infuriatingly close to the roadside.
Fortunately one of the brothers already owned a large property just behind the land parcel, only furthering how cheated his sibling felt by the whole ordeal.
To prove his pettiness, the scorned man erected a 120-square-foot building which would block his brother’s million-dollar view of the ocean for as long as they lived. According to local law, the lot is too small to build anything else on, so the Grudge has remained ever since, acting as a spiteful barrier to the ocean beyond.
If you think these petty homeowners who spent a fortune on revenge were justified in their actions, you might also want to read about the stubborn homeowners who refused to move.