Before the days of fences and ding-dong ditch, angry neighbors settled their disputes another way: They built spite houses.

Characterized by their narrow, passive aggressive living quarters, spite houses were built for exactly that: To spite thy neighbor.

They were often designed to block light or views from neighboring abodes.

Boston’s most famous spite house, also known as the “Skinny House,” sits on Hull Street in the North End.


It’s got a story. And it’s very Boston.

According to local legend, two brothers inherited land from their deceased father, and while one was away serving in the military during the Civil War, his brother built a large sprawling home on the property, leaving only a tiny shred for the other brother to enjoy — not cool, bro.

Rather than cut his losses and build else where, the spited brother turned his frustrations into something tangible that could serve as a constant reminder: the spite house, of course.
Built in 1884, Boston’s historic Skinny House features 1,166 square feet of living space split across four floors. At its narrowest point it is just over 6 feet wide.

Although it was built shortly after the Civil War, it has been thoughtfully renovated over the years to maintain its old world charm while adding modern day conveniences, according to the listing.

"Every nook and corner is used to maximize the space," real estate agent Eric Shabshelowitz told Boston Magazine. "It's tight quarters. You find a way to make everything fit."

Each floor offers about 300 square feet of living space — the kitchen and dining room on the first floor, on the second is a living room, bathroom and dining area, the third floor has a study and a bedroom with built-in bunk beds, and the master bedroom is on the fourth floor. A roof deck offers spite-worthy views of Boston Harbor and downtown skylines.

It can all be yours for the price of $895,000.

For more information, contact Realtor Eric Shabshelowitz of Cabot and Company.

Latest From ...