Just off Peterson Avenue in a quiet North Side neighborhood one encounters this startling house. A front yard paved in polished granite slabs makes a platform for a cutesy sculpture, while a threesome of patriotic columns supports a dangerous wrought-iron balcony looking as if it was made from old bed frames. The corners of the balcony are marked by plastic chairs in the shape of gold hands.

But what makes this anthropomorphic house beautiful is the face painted on the stucco! With its fiery cheeks and green afro, the painting is at once finely detailed and nonesensically surreal. It's expression is monstrous and frightening at first glance, but somehow also benign with its blank stare and breathless gasp. Is it going to say something? With its hands raised in supplication, perhaps the house is speaking to higher powers above? Who knows?

Copyright 2010 Matt Bergstrom