Purple-and-Pink House Stirs Passions in New Jersey Town

john pinto house denville nj
Courtesy of Bill Peer

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.


More on Painting a Home:
Exterior Paint Colors That Sell
Interior Paint Colors That Help Sell Your Home
Homes With Crazy Paint Jobs

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