Behind the paint job

My latest Stir column is live!
What Will the Neighbors Think

All about public versus private color choices, a favorite topic of mine...

Ever wonder about the back-story behind a building you pass by regularly?

For this Stir column, I finally had a good, credible reason to contact Giovanna Tanzillo, the owner of this fantastically 'out there' house I've been eyeing forever. I left her a note in her fuchsia painted mailbox and crossed my fingers she would get back to me. Luckily, she did!
 The houses around it 'pale' in comparison.

In front of the house, there's a sign with a quote on it.

 image source
It turns out this quote hails from the children's book, "The Big Orange Splot" by Daniel Pinkwater (of NPR fame) When the main character's house is splashed with bright orange paint, he decides a multicolored house would be a nice change and one by one, he convinces the neighbors to follow their hearts and make their homes reflections of who they really are inside.

How perfect is that?!

Interviewing Giovanna Tanzillo was so much fun. I met her at her place of business, Uptown Body and Fender. Stepping inside, I thought it might be a design firm, with modern furniture, art prints on the walls, and a shiny espresso machine. Nope, it's a body and fender repair shop! Who knew. Turns out the same architects who renovated her home designed her shop as well.

I like the architects' analysis,
"Among life's more predictably dismal experiences is banging up your car, and the subsequent trip to the body shop." - Ace Architects
Not Giovanna's shop, that's for sure. Her auto-body shop motto says it all; "Smoothing out life's little wrinkles. One car at a time."
Why take yourself too seriously? Take the whimsy behind this tongue-in-cheek concept- steel panels resemble a shiny giant monster, with the mouth opening onto the shop's front garage doors. This structure forms the lounge/office area. The architects call it the happy "car-beast."
I knew I recognized it from somewhere, it's been featured in a multitude of design magazines.

Where else can you find fine art hanging in the "gallery" of repaired cars, waiting for their owners to come pick them up. (The actual bodywork happens at a nearby location) Its no wonder this location is a popular venue for art, music, and culture gatherings.

Anywho, back to my interview.  At the risk of sounding new-agey, Giovanna positively radiates good energy. She has sparkling green eyes and was dressed from head to toe in emerald green the day we met. She offered everyone who came through the door a cappuccino. Were it not already late in the day, I would have had one myself...

Really delightful, she was as cheerful as her orange house. Turns out she has thing for oranges. The last paint color of her 1920's house was a lovely terracotta. Her painter patiently put up something like 16 different versions before he finally hit upon the -exact- shade as Giovanna remembered it from her trip to Assisi, Italy. Incidentally, her painter Dean Byington is also a fine artist.

Looks like Ace Architects, who determined the exterior color scheme, really like orange and purple.
These colors are also used on their logo and website.

It was a pleasure interviewing Giovanna for my Stir piece. I just wish more images of her place could have accompanied the article. So I'll leave you with some detail shots I snapped.

Detailing of ellipses above front door

Railing painted in auto-body paint
Spiky orange and fuchsia plants, complete with custom-dyed wood chip mulch.
Graphic gate and inlaid mosaic spiral leading to garden oasis.
A sneak peak in the backyard over the gate.