Children stop and point at the house on College Avenue. Cars slow down, and sometimes stop completely. Occasionally, someone honks and waves, or a passerby shouts, “I like your house.”
Most do not know the story behind the two-story bungalow in the historic Fairmount neighborhood. They just admire the rainbow of pastel hues.
“It makes people happy, and that’s the whole point,” said Doug Dillmann, who owns the home with his wife, Nina. “Every time I walk onto the front porch, I smile.”
The Dillmanns have painted their house 10 brilliant colors, a near copy of the iconic home in Pixar’s 2009 movie UP.
Nina can rattle off the colors: Dynamic Blue, Undercool, Icy Lemonade, Daffodil, Confident Yellow, Electric Lime, Jovial Pink, Kismet Lavender, Dishy Coral and Umber.
Above the front porch, in black letters are the words “Keep Looking Up.”
Two years ago, Doug found those same words scribbled on a piece of paper on the floor of Cook Children’s Medical Center. The couple had taken their daughter, Daisy, to the hospital when unexplained bruises covered her body. She was 18.
It makes people happy, and that’s the whole point. Every time I walk onto the front porch, I smile.
Homeowner Doug Dillmann
Tests revealed that her red and white blood cells were decimated, her clotting factors absent. She was diagnosed with Acute Promyelocytic Leukemia in spring 2014.
“You are not going to give me this girl for 18 years,” Nina told God, “and then take her away.”
Walking around one day, Doug found that piece of paper. Prepared to throw it in the trash, he turned it over first to see the words, “Keep Looking Up.”
“Those were some down days. I spent a lot of time literally looking down at the ground, going from one place to another,” he said. “I needed that reminder. Sometimes, God has a sense of humor.”
Daisy is now 20 years old and a student at Tarrant County College. She will soon receive her last chemotherapy treatment, her mother said.
The family’s health woes did not end, though. One year ago, Nina suffered a small stroke.
“What is the purpose of all this?” she recalled asking herself.
We have painted houses bright colors, like turquoise, red or yellow. Just never 10 bright colors at once.
Justin Smith, Pinnacle Painting owner
As the Dillmanns healed, they decided to celebrate. Their old home, in the 1800 block of College Avenue, was built in 1900 and expanded in 1920. It had weathered over the years and badly needed a new coat of paint. Nina Dillmann could not stop thinking about the movie UP which she had watched with her children years before.
The couple mentioned the idea to Justin Smith, who owns Pinnacle Painting in Fort Worth. He loved the unconventional idea.
“We have painted houses bright colors, like turquoise, red or yellow,” Smith said. “Just never 10 bright colors at once. Now everyone smiles when they walk by.”
Neighbors and friends have asked the Dillmanns if they plan to fly balloons outside the home, as in UP, which they said they are considering.
“I feel tickled every time I see this place,” Doug said. “This is a happy house.”