Just one of the region's most unusual homes.
That’s what the sign says that hangs outside Randy Gilson’s playful, striking home on Pittsburgh’s North Side. In a neighborhood of delicately restored Mexican War Street Victorian homes and, frankly, its fair share of run-down properties, Randyland is a joyous shout of the owner’s love of life, Pittsburgh and the North Side in particular. "This house is my experience of what love is all about. It’s an incubator, a place of hatching dreams. I’m a reflection of all who surround me. I absorb their energies and passions and reflect them back out."
It has taken 11 years of those energies to transform his home and an equally joyous property next door. He painted "99.9 percent" of the murals himself, though he is quick to point out that he is "a poor waiter-not an artist." A friend outlined the musicians, and a boy from the neighborhood cut stars from contact paper for the night skies. Gilson uses all recycled materials (including old Mexican War Street streets signs) and inexpensive "oops paints," paints that people buy, take home, and are afraid to use because the colors are simply too bold. He is also an avid gardener, filling his yard with lush gardens that include "Pittsburgh-hardy" banana trees. The gardens are another statement of Gilson’s energetic love of life. "I want my home to say to people, ‘Let’s get happy-let’s get going!’"