Owner of Alleged 'Spite House' in London Allowed to Keep Her Paint Job

Carl Court/Getty
Carl Court/Getty / Carl Court/Getty

The paint job on Zipporah Lisle-Mainwaring’s London townhouse certainly makes a statement. According to her neighbors, that statement is meant as an over-the-top slight against them. Whether or not that was Lisle-Mainwaring’s intention, a London court has ruled that she’s allowed to keep the candy-striped house the way it is, The Guardian reports.

The conflict began when the neighborhood forbid Lisle-Mainwaring from tearing down her house, which she uses for storage, and building a new one in its place. The red-and-white stripes appeared on the facade in March 2015 and The Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea demanded that she repaint “all external paintwork located on the front elevation” shortly thereafter.

The notice, which was served under the UK’s Town and Country Planning Act of 1990, said that the “stripes on the front elevation, [are] incongruous with the streetscape of South End and the local area.” Instead of painting over the stripes within 28 days as the notice required, Lisle-Mainwaring took the matter to court.

The 71-year-old property developer’s initial appeal to a small claims courts failed, so in 2016 she launched a judicial review action with London’s high court. The judge, Justice Gilbert, ruled that while the bold pattern may be aesthetically questionable, it's “entirely lawful.”

As for whether or not the house was painted out of spite, it’s not the most outrageous idea. People have been erecting so-called “spite houses” (and even "spite fences") for centuries. But as Justice Gilbert stated, the “color scheme may have come about because of an owner’s eccentricity or because of his/her pique. The [law] does not apply any differently to the latter than it does to the former.”

[h/t The Guardian]