Seven of the nine houses that won this year's "Painted Ladies" competition are from Elgin, as is the grand prize winner.
The annual competition -- its full name is "Chicago's Finest Painted Ladies & Her Court" -- is run by the Chicago Paint & Coatings Association.
The grand prize winner was the home of Lynda Quindel at 214 South State St. in Elgin, painted by Josh's Painting. The 1889-era house also won in 2002, when Quindel's late parents lived there.
The new paint job has a similar color scheme with a few new touches, Quindel said. It was done about a year ago, just before her mother, Roseanne "Sue" Izzo, died in December.
"She loved it," Quindel said. "Mom was waiting for this to get painted, and I'm happy she got to see it get done before she passed."
There's a lot of enthusiasm in Elgin about painting houses, association executive director Brenda Svenneke said.
"We are really excited about that, and we are excited about their painters," she said. "They have a really nice group of painters from that area that are really consistent about entering (the contest)."
This year featured a record number of winners from the total of 20 entries mostly submitted by painting contractors, said David Brimm, public relations counsel for the association. Participants have to submit paint swatches along with before-and-after pictures.
"Elgin is usually represented every year, but we've never had seven (winners) from Elgin," Brimm said.
The other two winners are from Chicago's Beverly neighborhood.
The home of Jacquelin Settipani and Cindi Inden at 34 N. Porter St. was among the winners for the painting job done this summer by Homework Construction.
"The house needed painting," Settipani said. "It was peeling badly and we wanted to bring out the architectural detail by choosing colors that contrasted."
"We really chose colors that are more classic and a little bit more mature than maybe the first time we painted, which was a little bit more youthful," Inden said.
Painting a house's exterior is an easy way to increase its value by 5 percent to 10 percent, Brimm said.
"We obviously don't know what these homes look like on the inside, but on the outside it looks terrific," he said. "A lot of people can't really afford to do a whole lot, but they can afford to paint it -- and it gives them pride in their home."
The competition, now in its 31st year, was born for Victorian houses in Chicago and later expanded to all houses in Chicago and the suburbs. Evanston was a big winner for many years, but Elgin has taken over in recent years, Svenneke said.
The other winning houses in Elgin are at: 582 Park St.; 34 N. Porter St.; 414 S. Liberty St.; 18 N. Porter; 870 W. Highland Ave.; and 864 W. Highland Ave.