It’s hard to believe, but there was a time when San Francisco’s famed Painted Ladies were not the vivid colors you expect, but a dull, drab gray.
In fact, you’d hardly even know that this week’s Historical Shelter – an 1898 pastel Queen Anne Victorian flanked by sisters in blue and taupe – once likely boasted gunmetal gray thanks to war-surplus paint during World War I and II.
But this gorgeous lady was part of a build in the western and southern neighborhoods and survived that, and survived the earthquake and fire of 1906 when so many Nob Hill mansions were destroyed.
When this home (and the homes around it) were built, however, they were often painted in bright colors. And by 1963, most credit artist Butch Kardum for convincing people to return to that, when he used blues and greens to paint his Victorian house. About a decade later, even more homes returned to their more colorful exteriors, thanks to Kardum and the artist community.
This home, located on Masonic Avenue, was built by Hugh Keenan and Robert Cranston, two of the first commercial home builders in the city. In fact, the house is mentioned in the seminal An Architectural Guide to San Francisco and the Bay Area, where Cranston and Keenan are specifically credited for putting “a little more verve into their Queen Annes.”
And indeed, they did. The facade of this home, with its pastel paint scheme, has a six-sided turret, triangular pediment on ornamented entablatures, a rounded Juliette balcony, and an arched entry porch with Corinthian columns.
It’s had an update, but still honors the original footprint and layout of the home, and still boasts the original wood carvings, medallions, and crown moldings.
The Victorian, which is listed by Monica Pauli with Compass, is close to Haight Street shopping and dining, too.