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Inside a Painted Lady
May 12, 2012 1:43 PM   Subscribe

What's it like to live in one of those six houses from the opening of Full House?
posted by absalom (38 comments total) 22 users marked this as a favorite

 
you're missing the homeownerporn tag
posted by The Whelk at 1:44 PM on May 12, 2012


I'm guessing zany but heartwarming.
posted by Bonzai at 1:49 PM on May 12, 2012 [17 favorites]


The two things they could happily do away with: the tour buses that go by with megaphones (the neighbors are actively trying to ban the double deckers) and the frequent loud parade of drunk people walking by in the middle of the night, screaming up at the windows for DJ and Uncle Jesse.

Further proof that drunk or sober, some people are just assholes.
posted by axiom at 2:08 PM on May 12, 2012 [3 favorites]


I am shocked, shocked, to see that the living room in that house isn't one-third as wide as the Tanner living room.

That is one perfect house, though.
posted by orange swan at 2:18 PM on May 12, 2012


I used to live a few blocks from there, and drove by pretty regularly on the hunt for parking. I found it kind of surreal just being in proximity to them all the time. But then, I tend to feel that way about
most famous landmarks.

Thanks for the article. It was nice to get an inside perspective, so to speak.
posted by Brak at 2:20 PM on May 12, 2012


Those cake-tops. Wow.
posted by palmcorder_yajna at 2:20 PM on May 12, 2012 [2 favorites]


I've liked the painted ladies for years. I remember them from when I was a kid, and we drove by back in the 70's, but as they said, it wasn't that big of a deal then. I just liked them 'cause they looked cool, and they were a throwback to the pre-earthquake era. Don't imagine growing up in Northern California in the last century without a strong realization about the 1906 San Francisco earthquake. Even though I live in Colorado now, I still measure things by that. I used to own a house here in Colorado that was built in 1902. I would tell people that it "survived the 1906 earthquake." Of course they would look at me all confused since there never was a famous earthquake in 1906 in Colorado, and the San Francisco one was way too far away, wasn't it?

Anyhow, I'd go walk through Alamo park whenever I was in San Francisco, and had time. In the early 1990's a friend who is a veterinarian was working in the city, and "fixed" my dogs for me as a barter for wine when I was in the wine business in Napa and was broke. When I picked them up from the urban vet clinic, first place I took them was Alamo park. While not really "sketchy", it still wasn't a great place, and really is kind of a crappy park. Both puppies took a crap there, and I didn't have bags to clean it up, so that park has a little of my past doggies in it still at some atomic level. Of course bum piss definitely has the stronger presence there.

The painted ladies are beautiful, but I imagine a little underwhelming in person for those who know them from the helicopter intros to teevee shows, or postcards taken in perfect light, or scenes from movies which all glorify them. But for those of us who grew up seeing them, they're one of the anchors to the past of San Francisco, and definitely part of the character of the city. While I don't know that I'd want to live in one, seeing them does make me nostalgic for my time growing up and living in Northern California.
posted by Eekacat at 2:21 PM on May 12, 2012 [2 favorites]


WTF Absalom?

I thought this was going to be tattoo porn.
posted by timsteil at 2:33 PM on May 12, 2012


After reading this, I realized I really didn't want to know what it's like to live in one of those houses. Creeped me out for some reason. I think it was the wedding cake tops.
posted by mantecol at 2:42 PM on May 12, 2012


Is the fridge stocked with Greek yogurt?
posted by jonmc at 2:43 PM on May 12, 2012 [1 favorite]


Everywhere you look, there's a face of somebody who needs you to pretend you're Michelle's grandmother.
posted by Sys Rq at 2:46 PM on May 12, 2012 [2 favorites]


I love the fact that at least one of these is lived by an elderly lady with a ton of San Francisco history. I always figured they got bought up by asshole corporate lawyers just like everything else that was good in Frisco.

Yes, "Frisco."
posted by Slarty Bartfast at 2:50 PM on May 12, 2012 [3 favorites]


MetaFilter: Of course bum piss definitely has the stronger presence there.
posted by hippybear at 2:50 PM on May 12, 2012


These are the most famous, but not the only painted ladies of San Francisco -- where the historically-inspired polychrome paint scheme was first revived. It's a particularly effective grouping because they're all by the same architect and built at the same time.

mantecol, Queen Anne architecture in the US is known for its ostentatious ornamentation, reflecting an era of modern mechanical lathes and jigsaws allowing for prefab construction of brackets, columns, dentils, cornices, and the like. Perhaps you're thinking of their 20th century reincarnation (along with Victorian Gothic) as haunted houses?
posted by dhartung at 2:51 PM on May 12, 2012 [1 favorite]


What's it like to live in one of those six houses from the opening of Full House?

What's it like to be unbelievably, unimaginably fucking rich?
posted by ethnomethodologist at 3:03 PM on May 12, 2012 [6 favorites]


These are the most famous, but not the only painted ladies of San Francisco -- where the historically-inspired polychrome paint scheme was first revived.

Historically inspired, but not historically accurate. I used to live about a block from that row on Alamo Square. I knew a guy who restored a lot of homes in that area. He told me he did extensive research on the original paint schemes of the day. He even did layer analysis using techniques from art restoration, to examine the bottom layers of paint.

He said that the typical "polychrome" paint scheme was actually monochromatic with extremely low contrast details. So typically a building would be all white, with the trim in a very light grey, with a very subdued effet. I saw a few houses he painted like that, they are much more beautiful than the garish schemes of typical Haight hippie houses.
posted by charlie don't surf at 3:08 PM on May 12, 2012 [2 favorites]


I know a guy who lives in a house of about that vintage, though in New Orleans instead of San Francisco, and I've spent a few nights in his guest room. It's a major pain in the ass. A lot has been learned about how to build houses in the last 100 years and while some aspects of the construction are much more solid than more modern efforts, some are just uninformed and inferior. The original plumbing and wiring were of course completely useless and both remain crippled by modern standards despite several attempts to upgrade, the insulation is poor, installing central climate control is impossible (probably more of an issue here than in SF), and there are constant repair issues.

That said, it is a lovely house and people fall in love with it easily. But they don't live there.
posted by localroger at 3:22 PM on May 12, 2012 [1 favorite]


We can definitely blame/credit the hippies for the painted ladies phenomenon. The book Painted Ladies has a bunch of really wacky, clearly hippie houses. My favorite is the one that was totally rainbow ('cause what 10 year old in 1979 doesn't like rainbows!!!)
posted by vespabelle at 3:23 PM on May 12, 2012


Growing up in relatively isolated Montana, I thought all the houses in mystical, far away San Fransisco looked like those houses, except those in Egg Chen's neighborhood.
posted by Brocktoon at 3:28 PM on May 12, 2012


The two things they could happily do away with: the tour buses that go by with megaphones (the neighbors are actively trying to ban the double deckers) and the frequent loud parade of drunk people walking by in the middle of the night, screaming up at the windows for DJ and Uncle Jesse.

I'm pretty sure it says ..something.. about me that I wondered why people were calling for Uncle Jesse of Dukes of Hazzard while drunk in San Francisco. Something good, I'm *sure*.
posted by Measured Out my Life in Coffeespoons at 3:31 PM on May 12, 2012


One day, I will paint one of those houses with the blood of Bob Saget.
posted by Burhanistan at 3:39 PM on May 12, 2012 [3 favorites]


These houses aren't designated landmarks?

Wake up, San Francisco!
posted by Sys Rq at 3:47 PM on May 12, 2012 [6 favorites]


> One day, I will paint one of those houses with the blood of Bob Saget.

Rust is a terrible color for a house. Just do the basement in it and give the house a nice Amityville atmosphere.
posted by codswallop at 4:01 PM on May 12, 2012


Ew, I could never live in a house that small!
posted by lotusmish at 4:48 PM on May 12, 2012


I heard a bit of San Francisco lore that said that the owners of those houses get royalty checks every month from the sale of postcards with pictures of the houses.
posted by bendy at 5:16 PM on May 12, 2012


I attended a dinner once with a guy that lived in a painted lady. I was struck by how such a possession could come to define a person's identity and character. It was basically all he talked about. I'm not sure if he wasn't an interesting person before moving in or after - but it seemed like he had been consumed by the painted lady he occupied.
posted by astrobiophysican at 6:20 PM on May 12, 2012


One day, I will paint one of those houses with the blood of Bob Saget.

I bet he'd tell you a really dirty joke about it before you did, if you asked him.
posted by scalefree at 6:23 PM on May 12, 2012 [1 favorite]


The title of this post did make me a teensy tad worried it would be images of transvaginal ultrasounds being taken of prostitutes who were looking to get abortions.
posted by hippybear at 7:14 PM on May 12, 2012


Last time I was in San Francisco, the painted ladies really bummed me out. When I'd hung out there during the early nineties, the painted ladies were all done in these really bold colors-- purple with deep rust with red with emerald green, or every shade of blue, or (as vespabelle mentions) rainbow. And they were all wonderfully, uproariously different.

Now, it seems, the a much more subdued look is the mode. They're done in pale pastels and subtly varying shades of eggshell. Pfui.
posted by palmcorder_yajna at 7:31 PM on May 12, 2012


When I see these houses all I can do is get whisked back to the awful, gut-wrenching scene where Nancy Travis gets dumped by Mike Myers in So I Married An Axe Murderer.

Spoiler Alert: They get back together.
posted by jimmythefish at 9:08 PM on May 12, 2012


An aside: Once in a while I'll come across a page like this one, where the font is tiny and - for some reason pertaining to the higher mysteries of CSS - totally resistent to being embiggened on the browser-side. The pictures get bigger, but the text stays unreadably small. Why would anyone stick to such a setup?
posted by bicyclefish at 11:27 PM on May 12, 2012


One of them has several rooms on Airbnb available, Cosette and I rented the basement for a week in March, was lovely.
posted by Cosine at 11:41 PM on May 12, 2012 [1 favorite]


Re: "Ew, I could never live in a house that small!"

Only in San Francisco would a 500 sq. ft. apartment be described as "spacious". I'm lucky enough to have found a 650 sq. ft. apartment in SOMA, although it's still half the size of the Florida condo I lived in before I moved here.
posted by mike3k at 12:26 AM on May 13, 2012


bicyclefish:
Once in a while I'll come across a page like this one, where the font is tiny and ... totally resistent to being embiggened on the browser-side. ... Why would anyone stick to such a setup?
Beware of -webkit-text-size-adjust:none
posted by ancienteyes at 1:20 AM on May 13, 2012


A friend of mine lives next door to a relatively famous house in Toronto -- one of the handfull that claim to be the smallest house in the city. People stop by to take pictures and such, but her funniest story is of waking up to the morning news and seeing pictures from the front of her house on the news, and going to look out the window so she could watch them filming the footage that she was seeing on TV.
posted by jacquilynne at 10:00 AM on May 13, 2012


Ew, I could never live in a house that small!

Hahhahahahhahhahaha. Heh.

Those houses are massive by average SF living standards. I'm honestly not sure what I would do with all that space, though I think the museum idea is lovely.

I live on the north side of the park (in a sizable by SF standards but modest 1BR); the Painted Ladies lie on the East. Alamo Square is really a magical little park, and I treasure living here. That said, they're right, we really could do without the double decker buses.

Also, I can only imagine what the Painted Ladies' residents go through, having people stare at them all day. At least the owner in this post seems to have taken it in stride.
posted by Barking Frog at 11:54 AM on May 13, 2012


Also, there are much more beautiful and interesting Victorians a couple blocks away on McAllister St. I'm always amused at how many people wander around looking at the maps in their guidebooks, passing by phenomenal examples of SF Victorian architecture while trying to find the Full House.
posted by Barking Frog at 11:57 AM on May 13, 2012


ethnomethodologist: "What's it like to be unbelievably, unimaginably fucking rich?"

One of the painted ladies recently went on the market for $2.3M, which is a lot, but there are far more expensive single family homes in SF.

It was last sold in 1993 for $575,000

:P
posted by danny the boy at 3:24 PM on May 13, 2012


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