A couple of days ago I wrote about how much you enjoy living in your neighborhood has more to do with you than it does with most other factors. Today I saw and interesting article through StumbleUpon (http://www.stumbleupon.com/su/1aCp0J/sciencehax.com/2010/01/beautiful-home-built-from-recycled-materials/) which featured some beautiful homes people have designed using a lot of recycled materials. Everything from old wine bottles and corks, to picture frame samples and broken mirrors were used in creating these beautifully unique homes and it made me start to wonder. "Just how much freedom does a home owner have in decorating and designing their own home?"
There are definitely varying degrees of freedom which can depend a lot on zoning, home owners associations and even local laws. You may be able to get away with using driftwood as a building material in some parts of the country but something tells me it's not going to fly at a condo in Huntington Beach. In some neighborhoods you aren't even permitted to paint your house a different color than it originally was unless you get prior approval from your housing association, and I'm sure many of you know how those can be. Yet there are examples of artistic freedom, even in Orange County homes. Those who have been living in Huntington Beach for a while, or anyone who has driven up Magnolia from the beach has seen it. Right there on the corner of Magnolia and Bermuda stands a castle. The owner, who has also been known to wrestle bears, has converted his regular single family dwelling into an outright medieval fortress. Complete with gargoyles, spires and stone walls, it seems no one had a problem with the highly out of place home until the owner covered the city's bland peach colored cinderblocks. Now the city and the home owner are in the middle of a headed debate that's still going on three years later as far as I know.
On the one hand, this man owns this property and the land it sits on. Many would argue that he should be able to do with it as he pleases (and he has). We should all be given creative freedom over our own property to the extent that it doesn't hurt someone else right? Our country was founded on freedom, particularly freedoms of expression.
On the other hand, our cities and home owners associations are supposed to be keeping our best interests in mind. How many moms do you think are out there who regret their "Spring Break '89" tattoos? If we didn't have boundaries placed on our creativity some of us wouldn't be able to control it, and the rest of us wouldn't be able to handle it. I wonder if he ever even approached his next door neighbors or the ones across the street to share his plans with them, he might have but I don't know. Maybe he shouldn't need to but I think that it would have been courteous to do before opening the Medieval Times of Huntington Beach. Have you ever wanted to do something really creative with your home, like some type of remodeling or renovation? Well, have you ever considered ways you might be able to express yourself through the exterior of your house beyond just adding some new paint or stucko to the outside? Maybe we could all use a little bit of this type of creativity. I did say maybe.
Please share your thoughts. Does this home owner have the right to be creative with the exterior of his home? Would you buy or even rent a home in Huntington Beach right next to this one (I hear he has amazing Halloween parties)?