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Couple With Autistic Son Win Legal Fight To Keep Their "Ugly" House

Reuters

They say parents will do anything for their children, and this couple from Mount Dora, Florida are living proof.

Nancy Nemhauser and Lubomi Jastrzebski fought back when their town tried to fine them for giving their home an eye-searing paint job.

And the reason behind their year-long fight is their love for their son, who has autism.

"He would be able to at least mention the Van Gogh house and people would be able to help and hopefully bring him home."

Van Gogh house
Reuters

The two-story home, which is now known around the world as "the Van Gogh house," is painted all over in bold blues and yellows, to match the look of Vincent Van Gogh's painting Starry Night.

It began as a mural on one wall, but Nemhauser and Jastrzebski were slapped with fines and warnings from the town after painting it.

They were told that the wall had to match with the rest of the house. Instead, they matched the rest of the house to the wall.

Van Gogh House
Richard Barrenchea - Twitter

Why would they put up with the garish design and sink their property values?

Their adult son - who they wish not to be named - loves Van Gogh's paintings, and they relax him.

Plus, the couple thought a distinctive house would help their son get home safely if he ever lost his way around town.

Van Gogh house
Reuters

"He would be able to at least mention the Van Gogh house and people would be able to help and hopefully bring him home," Nemhauser explained to Reuters.

But none of this mattered to the city, who piled on $10,000 worth of fines.

"I’m unhappy that we had to go through all of this, but the ending is a happy ending."

Van Gogh house
Mayor Nick Girone apologized to the couple.Orlando Sentinel

Mount Dora argued that the Van Gogh home's bright colors posed a danger to drivers. They also tried to charge the couple for violating a law about business signage.

After a year of legal back and forth, which has cost the couple $15,000 in legal fees, Mount Dora has finally backed down.

The town council unanimously voted to end their fight against the Van Gogh home this week while paying the couple's costs for their fight.

Van Gogh House
Orlando Sentinel

And Mayor Nick Girone gave the couple an official apology (as required by their legal settlement).

The couple will be allowed to keep their home just as it is, as long as it stays "in good condition and protect against fading, peeling and other conditions that may contribute to deterioration."

Girone has even invited the couple to join a new town advisory council about new ordinances and codes.

"We are absolutely delighted and ecstatic," Nemhauser told the AP about their legal win.

"I’m unhappy that we had to go through all of this, but the ending is a happy ending."

Congrats to the family! I say it's a beautiful home, what do you think?

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[H/T: BBC]

I write about all sorts of things for Shared, especially weird facts, celebrity news, and viral stories. CONTACT: zachary@shared.com