Multi-Chromatic Excelsior House Offers Solace From White Interiors

It’s high time we talk about color.

Take the example of 964 Avalon Avenue, a two bed, one bath Excelsior house circa 1950 that’s just listed for $899,000. Realtor Jim Beitzel calls it “super cute,” which of course could mean a lot of things, but one of the first that stands out is that the interior colors are, well, colorful.

In a world where virtually every SF home on the market sports seemingly the exact same all-white interiors, this little Avalon abode dares to present more brash hues, ranging from aquamarine to bright purple to loud buttery yellow. For those who find the glacial quality of other SF listings oppressive, it feels almost like a moment of rediscovery.

(Photos courtesy of Corcoran Global Living)

It’s not just SF that’s to blame for the monochrome craze. Design writer Grace Bonney writes that “at least 90 percent of the homes we see every month” elsewhere are painted white top-to-bottom too, adding, “Whether you love it or hate it, this aesthetic has defined […] the past 5-6 years.”

Bonney suggests that the whiteout is a response to trends from 10-20 years ago that favored more colorful and varied looks, as well as an acknowledgement that times are hard in many places and it’s simply cheaper and easier to default to minimalism.

(Or perhaps in SF it’s simply an economical option to help maximize your profits on a home flip…)

Cultural historian Kassia St Clair points out that this is hardly the first time white has been in vogue, dating the original bleached homes fad to designer Syrie Maugham’s work in 1927, adding that, “A century ago, white interiors were revolutionary. Now they’ve become so ordinary that we are constantly having to reinvent them.”

Has the time come to ditch reinvention in favor of just plain-old invention and come up with some new and more chromatically adventurous ideas?

Certainly some parties seem to think so: Benjamin Moore is pushing a shade of teal as the defining color of 2021, alongside hues like “rosy peach” and “potters clay.” Pantone, meanwhile, awarded its “color of the year” superlative to “ultimate gray” and “illuminating yellow.”

Of course, these companies have a lot of financial incentives to market new and different colors. In the meantime, white interiors do keep selling for top dollar in San Francisco, so while some of us may feel a bit salty about white, maybe demand means this is simply the way things are meant to be for now?

But at least those looking for a little more variety somewhere over the rainbow have a few options like 964 Avalon to consider.

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