A spite house is a building constructed or substantially modified to irritate neighbours or any party with land stakes. Spite houses may create obstructions, such as blocking out light or blocking access to neighbouring buildings or can be flagrant symbols of defiance. Because the long-term occupation is not the primary purpose of these houses, they frequently sport strange and impractical structures.
Spite houses are considerably rarer than spite fences. This is partially attributable to the fact that modern building codes often prevent the construction of houses likely to impinge on neighbours’ views or privacy, but mostly because fence construction is far cheaper, quicker, and easier than home construction. There are also similar structures known as spite wall or blinder wall.
John Hollensbury, the owner of the white and red houses pictured, was sick of loiterers hanging out in the alley. So he built the Hollensbury Spite House, a 7-foot-wide, 25-foot-deep dwelling in the Old Town district in Alexandria, Virginia. The house’s two main walls are the brick walls of the adjacent structures, making it more of an enclosed alleyway than an actual house, but it has been used as a residence ever since.