Other Cool Things

Painting a Historic House

The 1886 Haas-Lilienthal House is a historic house museum in San Fransisco. It is quite the stunner and for many years looked like this:


Pretty spectacular, right?


Wanna see? Scroll way down.

In 2018, a multi-million dollar restoration was completed. The original colors were ascertained and the results are both startling and unexpected.




















Wow. I am gobsmacked.

It all looks like one color but is actually two.

Before, one tended to notice the disparate parts. Now, one notices the whole.

I think the house looks FAR more elegant.

Just wow.








13 Responses to Painting a Historic House

  1. I have a couple nitpicks:
    -First, the window sashes would look substantially better in black, as was the norm for Queen Anne houses. To my eye, the windows just kind of…die, painted green.
    -The ACTUAL window trim (not the sashes) would pop in the darker shade of green.

    *they also could have used the secondary green to accentuate some of the other details. I can get behind using only the original colors, but some creative variance from the original scheme would do wonders.

    • It seems that they were not trying for, well, maximum POP, but historical accuracy.

      I love what they did. Which is why I did this post.

      While black sashes were common for the era (as with the Cross House) they were not absolute.

  2. Another good counterpoint to the widespread notion people have of Victorians being pointed in many bright, contrasting colors!

    Personally, I prefer a bit more variation than this one (especially the window sashes), but perfectly-correct examples like this are invaluable to understanding the original context. I wish more were done so.

    The painted chimney top is puzzling, though. I would like to know the story on that.

  3. In the first picture it looks like the chimney had some repair work done which kind of stands out perhaps that’s why they painted it. It does look odd. I agree with Cody, a third color to offset just a little around the windows would of looked nice but it is an amazing difference as is.

  4. The Victorians had a penchant for the dark and dreary. All these bright colors used today were not as authentic as many believe.

  5. Perhaps to signify the chimney was not original to the house? The Park Avenue Armory in NYC did all their current additions in copper so 100 years from now people would understand when and what additions were made at this time.

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