A historic house in a tony section of Atlanta, painted orange by its most recent owner, has the neighbors in an uproar, observers say.

The house, designed by architect Neel Reid, built in 1922 and listed on the National Register of Historic Places, had featured a grayish exterior for 88 years before T. Ruben Jones changed the color to orange, The Atlanta Journal-Constitution reported Sunday.

It was like hitting a wasp nest with a stick.

"I knew it would shock some people," Jones said. The grumbling of neighbors "doesn't bother me. I understand because it is different. Through life, you'll always have raised eyebrows."

A neighbor of Jones is Robert Hays, chairman of the high-powered King and Spalding law firm.

"A lot of people are upset over it," Hays said.

William R. Mitchell Jr., the founder of the Southern Architecture Foundation, says the old architects and their clients "wanted their houses to look like European villas" -- but old ones. Stucco was given an appearance of being faded from the start and colors were muted, the newspaper said.

Jones said the color, "maple leaf," is meant to replicate the hue of an Italian villa. It will fade, he assured neighbors.