94-year-old Norfolk woman’s home getting attention for religious decor

Posted at 11:42 AM, Oct 09, 2019
and last updated 2019-10-09 17:24:14-04

NORFOLK, Va. - There are many brick homes plotted along Philpotts Road in the City of Norfolk with much curb appeal, and then there’s this one – wedged right in between.

Some call it "unwelcoming and a little bit eerie," but others see love.

“Red is for the blood of Jesus. White is purity. He died for the sins of the whole world for you and me," says Vernice “Granny” Archer.

Archer, also known as "Granny," will be turning 95 this year. Granny lives at the home.

“The neighborhood is being watched. She’s out here greeting people," says longtime neighbor Darnell Bolling.

Some children of the neighborhood – once taught the Bible inside of these spirited walls about 34 years ago – are now adults who’ve become protective of the house and of its owner.

“She’s never been one to cause anybody any harm at all. She’s always been about togetherness," says another longtime neighbor, Nicole Ballou.

“I was in and out of jail. I would come and talk to her. She turned my life around and would say, 'Focus on the good things, and the good things will come to you,'" says Bolling.

Granny says she’s been living in her house for almost 60 years. She says she painted it back in the 1980s with the help of God.

But, as you can imagine with a house this bold, not everyone who drives by is in favor of it.

“I’m wondering why is the city allowing this house to be like this here? Why aren’t the neighbors complaining? Why haven’t I ever heard anything about this house? What’s going on with this house?” asks a woman who wished to remain anonymous.

Related: Local Norfolk landmark gaining national attention 

People who don’t like what they see when looking at Granny's home say they believe it degrades the property value. News 3 spoke with a local real estate agent who says the city doesn’t have any say because Granny doesn’t live in an area that has a Homeowners Association.

Whether you love it or hate it, Granny says her house is here to stay - just as is.

“You can’t be ashamed of Almighty God, no way. He woke us up this morning," says Archer.

And with her positive outlook on each new day, you may be able to understand what her neighbors see: Looking past all of this on the outside and focusing on the value of the person living inside.