The Mardi Gras spirit has descended upon Bourke Street, Surry Hills, these past few weeks, thanks to the artistic inclinations of a group of residents at number 556.

Derek Hodgkins and David Wilson have been giving their house a Mardi Gras makeover every year since 2000, when they won the inaugural (and so far only) Mardi Gras Best Residential Display competition, which netted them a holiday in San Francisco. This year they have enlisted new housemate, Ian Beasley, to help create a house visage that uses sequins, fairy lights, feather boas and coloured letters that spell out the words Homo Sweet Homo.

This is the third year we’ve done it, Wilson told Sydney Star Observer. Last year we did something fairly simple, but this year we decided to go over the top, because nothing succeeds like excess.

Hodgkins said he and Wilson start planning their house’s makeover when Mardi Gras release their festival program. We don’t put up Christmas decorations; we save it up for Mardi Gras, he said.

Wilson and Hodgkins report they’ve had a very positive response to their house’s new look, with passers-by stopping to take photographs. And despite the fact that decking a house out in full Mardi Gras regalia could make it a target for homophobes, the residents report no trouble on that score whatsoever.

The designers also told the Star that the letters that form the words Homo Sweet Homo will flip over after this weekend to form a new message, and one that will resonate with increasing frequency in Sydney over the coming week: Happy Mardi Gras.

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