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‘It’s like a cemetery’: the trend turning San Francisco’s colorful houses ‘gentrification gray’

More and more, the pastels and gold-leaf embellishments have given way to the contemporary, but unimaginative, tungsten hue

By Peter-Astrid Kane | 19 November 2021

THE GUARDIAN — Richard Segovia’s house is as loud as the Latin rock music he teaches children to play in his basement studio. With colors ranging from jungle green and royal blue at the pavement to a red and yellow sunburst at the ridge, the otherwise modest Spanish-style home is essentially one enormous mural, a crowded portrait of long-gone musicians, Segovia’s family members, social activists, various psychedelia, and the odd jungle animal.

Segovia has lived in San Francisco’s Mission district since 1963, and he sees himself as a custodian of the neighborhood’s culture, specifically as the birthplace of Latin rock. (Carlos Santana, a family friend, grew up nearby.) But increasingly the 68-year old “Mayor of the Mission” finds himself face to face with a stark representation of all the color that has been bled out of the city over successive waves of tech-fueled gentrification.

“I walk the neighborhood every day and I see all these gray houses,” Segovia says. “It’s like being in a cemetery.”

From the Golden Gate Bridge’s International Orange hue to the elaborately carved and painted façades of the Painted Ladies fronting Alamo Square, vivid color has long been the grammar of San Francisco’s vernacular architecture. […]

1 Comment on ‘It’s like a cemetery’: the trend turning San Francisco’s colorful houses ‘gentrification gray’

  1. Mid-century vintage suburban brick houses painted white or grey with black trim stamped with a front door of transparent or translucent glass are cropping up throughout their surrounding of the city. It is the look of mini prisons with no relation to nature or homeyness. Though not a fan of vivid ethnic colorization, to me the original natural brick shades at least offer subtle variety without ‘making a statement’.

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