Spite House (Friday Fictioneers)

It is time to join in with Friday Fictioneers and here is the photo prompt (by B. Rudberg) this week:

 

Spite House (fiction word count: 100)

So let me get this right, sir.

You want our company to build a five-level home that is 10 feet by 40 across?

This will be the thinnest house we’ve ever constructed.

Now you DO realize that narrowest point inside will be about 6 feet?

 

Yes sir, this is what I want.

I may not even live in it – might rent it out.

My family inherited 200 acres.  When I came back from serving in the Gulf – the quitclaim deed allotted me this small quarter acre with a crumbling cliff.

Oh I see – you’re building a SPITE house.

Yup….

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Friday Fictioneers is hosted by Rochelle – Go HERE to join in this week or read more entires for the photo prompt.

Author Notes

Today’s 100-word story was inspired by two things:

First, when we were looking for property in Northern Cal back in 2001-2002 – things were grim.  Most lots (and homes) were way out of our price range (we were not too bothered by that because we knew it was expensive – the snobby zip code type of thing). Anyhow, during the time that we were looking, we actually drove a far distance to see an affordable piece of land (with so much hope) to find ourselves looking at a slice of land that was a joke to  even consider building on. That experience came to mind when I saw this photo – although imagine a bunch of switchbacks and Redwood trees in our scenario. 

And did you know that U.S. home prices are back on the rise? Yes, the housing crash of 2008 is an afterthought in some areas:  U.S. home red flag areas are Phoenix, AZ (10 percent to 14 percent overvalued) and the cities of Atlanta, Denver, Los Angeles, San Diego, San Francisco, Seattle and Tampa (5 percent to 9 percent overvalued). But I guess there is only a problem if the median home price is six times the median income (?) – more here

Second, Have you ever heard of a spite house?

A spite house is a home that was constructed to irritate neighbors or get back at someone. The house itself might create an obstruction to block a scenic view, sunlight, or even limit access.  The spite house is a symbol of defiance and there are many examples in history.

Today’s fiction was considering building a spite house that was high – and thin, but wide enough to cut off the view of greedy siblings. (not that I personally suggest this type of retaliation – sometimes we might need to walk away and let mean and greedy go… sometimes a loose hand and yielding attitude can bring much peace to a greedy situation…).  And this idea was based on the story from the Skinny House in Boston, MA (ca. 1870s).

 

Legend has it that two brothers inherited land. The first brother built a big ol’ home, slighting the other brother (a soldier serving in the military at the time)and only left him a slice of the property. The greedy brother assumed the slice of land was too tiny to build on – but the second brother had an idea – he built a spite house: 4 levels – approx. 10 feet by 9 feet. and it is still standing today. 

 

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70 thoughts on “Spite House (Friday Fictioneers)

    1. Hi!
      I like that term “bloody-minded” ha
      and I guess that in the US there are now “codes” that prevent spite homes – or prevent homes from disrupting neighborhood harmony. many even limit color choices!
      anyhow, I guess in the 1900s and at the turn of the century – there were numerous SPITE homes built….

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  1. I understand that tactic. Anger can do nasty things and each of us is able to go to any lengths that the zoning laws will permit his bitterness and resentment aren’t kept on a short leash

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    1. oooo
      well said.
      I personally do not think we would go this route. we actually had an issue – not quite the same- but we acquiesced – and it was just what we felt led to do.
      But I have also seen where folks say they will not be a doormat.
      and maybe – sometimes a spite house is needed. I don’ know – but your ending words: bitterness and resentment
      well they can poison a human….

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    1. well I guess it would depend on the type of spite.
      For example – some of the ones I read about would be stopped from codes. Like one example where an alley was blocked would maybe be prevented.
      Hollensbury family (1830) had a house that bordered an alley, which was flooded with loitering and annoying horse-drawn wagon – to stop this and prevemt access to the alley – they built a 2-story spite house 7 feet wide – that Spite home has gouges from wagon-wheel hubs and is occupied to this day.

      — also – and I am just guessing here – so let me know your thoughts – but with fire codes about “how close shrubs” can be in certain areas means that people cannot just put up what they want to build.
      or can they?
      it likely depends on where their property is….

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      1. We rented the second story of a house in Arrowhead Spring. We got there late at night, didn’t see how big the house (or spite) eas, it was so small that we were suffocated. We got up in the middle of the night and came home. Didn’t see that in daylight.

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      2. wo w – came home – that says a lot.
        I almost did that when we were at a vacation rental that was stuck in the 70s – but chilled and stayed – glad I did – but there is a time to go

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      3. The worst (expensive) hotel was at Key West right by the water front, it has like fleas on the carpet that bit my legs. The maids didn’t vacuum the floor – it was humid.

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    1. wow – how cool that you have heard of it – I think you can also rent this one out – a few years ago saw an article about it and that would be fun, eh?

      Liked by 1 person

    1. Oh wow – did not know there were a lot in India. thanks for that.
      I am not sure I would want to live in one because of the negative energy it would seem to perpetually have….
      ya know

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      1. wow- very interesting – and I guess in my head I stereotyped a lot and thought of advanced yogis – others eating paneer – as cattle roam….
        half kidding

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  2. I guess anything possible that people will go extra mile to build a spite house. I guess if you are mad enough that might happen ( we do unwise thing when we are not in good mood).

    I did not know the housing prices are on the raise. Hmm, I am wonder what is the cause of that.

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    1. Hi YC…
      well I am not pro on the real estate stuff – but the first thing that came to my mind was “location location location” right? but then actually I once read about the economics behind some of that and so sometimes there is business stuff at play.
      and did you know when we were looking at homes in Northern Cal – there were so many bidders on houses that people were writing letters and submitting poems to have their bids accepted as the top one. Crazy – all about supply and demand for location location location

      and then your point about
      how folks “do unwise things when we are not in good mood”
      oh the wisdom in that!

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      1. You are right when it comes to house prices , the major factor is “location location location”. I guess when people say the house prices are on the raise back again that means in general or on average every where. I have not looked into getting a new house but I know from observing houses that put up for sale around my area, within few weeks of the “under contract” signs are on them. They go fast. I guess it is a seller market (I am no expert on this too). Did you notice thing likes this in your area?

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  3. I’m familar with Spite houses. Usually, the person being spited finds numerous ways to get back (skunks, hornet’s nests, etc.). It always makes for entertaining reading.

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    1. well did not know that side – and it would make sense that the cycle would continue – which is another reason to maybe walk away and leave it alone –

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    1. ah yeah… you are right about the space differences –
      and here in the States we have two trends – the extra grand house (5,000 sq feet for the middle classer) or those tiny homes that are movable – not against them but would be worried if a big storm came.

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  4. Interesting concept – a spite house. I know a few people who have planted spite trees, and heard of a few who’ve seen to it that the spite tree’s get a good dose of something nastily terminal. Great take on the prompt.

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    1. thanks for the comment – and I only heard of the fences and the walls that are put up.
      but a spite tree?
      makes sense…
      and I know a few folks that have never dosed but likely wish they could.
      was a cookout one year – friend of a friend sort of thing – and suddenly a banter broke out – pleasant but tense – between two neighbors and their ongoing tree issue….
      I bet this is ver common, eh?

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    1. HiDale – at first i was just going to have a desperate person build a house on a thin slice of land – but the spite house seemed to add something – so thanks!

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  5. Great post. You really united all of these well.
    Of course, a spite house might have serious advantages beyond anger or economics, like regular spurts of cardio 😉
    As a single person, I could quite easily live in a 10×9 per floor. Den, kitchen, bed, and oh, what a nice big bathroom!

    We were part of the housing market crisis, most of our neighborhood was at the time. We were one the first families to leave, but nearly everyone left. The two houses following that, we went low, like 15% of our income low, haha! But my poor parents, they waited too long to make a purchase in Florida. They lost tons in the market and are too aged to get new financing. Meanwhile, our realtor friend in their area is making so much money, even years later, he can’t believe his income. More of the yin and yang there.

    Then I have a friend in Vancouver who tells me my modest bungalow would go for millions there. Millions. Having only visited places with high cost of living, I can’t say I’d ever want to move anywhere like that. Beauty, natural amenities — but millions? Oy.

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  6. Comic yet tragic Y! So revealing of human nature and reminded me of a story I often heard from my mum as a child. Two brothers had a falling out and became sworn enemies. One day the younger brother received news of his brother’s youngest son’s death and the informer rubbed it in, “you werent even invited for the last rites”. Infuriated, the younger brother declared, “even I wont invite him for the last rites of my youngest son.”

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    1. haha – that is a funny tale – and yet sad to.
      and fighting is tough in any case – but tragically sad when between siblings.
      But sometimes it just “is what it is” and a theme I have seen is when friends make up for what family had breached.

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      1. Indeed more youngsters at least are moving away from family and building a network of friends – works just as well I think. At least most of the times

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  7. Nice story, Y 🙂 You reminded me of this guy I met years ago, aquaintance of an aquaintance, who had a spite house built. His ex got their house in the divorce settlement, so he went and built a larger one across the street and moved in with his new girlfriend. I don’t know the details, but that must have been one nasty divorce. 😉

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