After a year-long battle, Mount Dora residents Nancy Nemhauser and Lubomir Jastrzebski, who painted their entire home to look like Vincent Van Gogh’s Starry Night have won the right to keep the mural intact.
You see, the Florida couple has an adult son with autism and Van Gogh’s painting “acts as a beacon” for him; the couple first had the idea to make their house stand out visually to help their son get home, should he need assistance from a stranger. (I mean, you can’t miss “The Van Gogh House”.)
But it’s also a painting he really connects with. I don’t have children but if I did, and I had a child with autism who was visibly moved by a painting, I’d paint my house in an instant.
“The town has dropped their complaint stating the paint job violated a city code, rescinded $10,000 in fines it had issued, and agreed to pay the couple’s legal fees, which were $15,000 in total, according to Reuters. The mayor of Mount Dora also issued an apology to the family.
Nemhauser and Jastezebski first put paint to concrete to give a grungy border wall around their home an artsy upgrade inspired by the Dutch painter’s famous work, a favorite of their son. When the city slapped them with an order that said the wall had to match the house, they decided to commit to the theme: Rather than painting the wall back to a solid color, they commissioned artist Richard Barrenechea to expand the starry scene across the entire exterior of their two-story home.” 1
Although the city initially claimed the house was a “danger to residents”2 because it distracted drivers and because it “violated a law about business signage displays”3, the complaints have now been dropped and the family is protected from future ordinances that may raise issues around their unique home.