A landmark home in San Francisco — made so solely because of a creative paint job inspired by the work of Piet Mondrian — has become just another drab house in a row of similar houses, because its new owners clearly didn’t appreciate what they had and prefer a life of conformist banality.
Nicknamed the Mondrian House, the home at 2140 Great Highway had for at least two decades been one of those quirky little surprises that was part of the delight-filled fabric of San Francisco. And its humdrum new look, with a washed out shade of blue and some equally faded yellow doors, feels indicative of what many have bemoaned about the city in the last decade or so — namely that it’s lost its joie de vivre along with a large portion of its creative class.
The paint job, which just happened earlier this month, was notable enough to garner the attention of Chronicle architecture critic John King, who called the Mondrian House “one of those unexpected encounters that stood as a vivid treat in what can seem an ever-more-predictable Bay Area landscape.”
“No longer,” he writes, dejectedly. “Just like that favorite store or saloon that has closed for good because of the coronavirus.”
RIP #MondrianHouse pic.twitter.com/n9IlmQn1cM
— Andy Cooper (@terrapin_sf) October 27, 2020
King spoke to a local surfer who lives on the block, Don Reigrod, who called the formerly standout home a “landmark,” and he noted that surfers on the water have long used it as a reference point for their location.
“You’re out there, trying to line up on a peak,” Reigrod said, apparently referring to the sandbars beneath the water that make for the best breaks. “You need an orientation point. Maybe it’s Sutro Tower. Maybe it was the Mondrian house.”
Curbed reported on the two-story house hitting the market in April 2019, and it of course sold for over its asking price, for $2.05 million — with the original asking price $1.495 million.
There was no requirement that the new owners retain the paint job, and a year and a half in, apparently they decided to go with these shades of Hazy Sky and Curdled Cream.
Sure, it was just a house among many in San Francisco 49 square miles, and there are many other fun paint jobs to be enjoyed. But, as King notes, this is just “another small diminution of how surprising San Francisco can be,” and a depressing one in a year when we could have used any last extra bit of delight.
My apologies to the homeowners for their lack of imagination. May their now unremarkable house also sell for over asking, when the time comes.
Photos: Andy Cooper/Twitter