Judging Buildings – Another House Goes Fire Engine Red

by Prince Of Petworth May 3, 2011 at 4:00 pm 41 Comments

“Dear PoP,

Just a heads up that on the 1500 block of T St NW a homeowner painted his/her house an awful shade of shiny, lipstick red. It ruins a really nice block. Oh well.”

Back in March we looked at a house on the 600 block of Florida Ave, NW that went from fire engine red to a more muted color. A neighbor tells me that this house has been this color for years, it was just getting a new coat.

  • fireman

    actually, i think it’s a lovely shade

    • mmm

      I like it.

      • Jen

        Ditto. And anyways, going from pink to red doesn’t “ruin” the block. I mean….. it was pink…..

  • Anonymous

    Another Red/Green colorblind district resident buys paint.

  • Anonymous

    I am a fan.

  • Eric in Ledroit

    This “ruins” a block?

  • 1216

    I think bright red looks fine, as long as there’s no yellow trim like the one discussed. But I feel like people should paint their houses whatever color they want even if it pisses off snobby neighbors.

  • GDopplerXT

    I certainly don’t think the red is any worse than the pink (faded red?) that it’s covering up.

  • MaxDC

    As much as I hate this (and please note that it was pepto bismol pink before), it hardly “ruins” the block. One person’s bad taste does not ruin the block. some totally insane people might actually argue that this kind of freedom, to pick your house color without the approval or others, actually does the opposite of ruining something. I know, totally insane.

  • greent

    heh, I walked by as they were painting. I agree with the no worse than the faded red/pink it was.

  • Anonymous

    fsck that is awful. so glad I don’t live anywhere near them


    I walk by every day. It was faded pink. Then they painted over the pink with new pink. THen they decided hot shiny red was the way to go. Woohoo!

    • EW

      Me too! It really wakes me up on the way to work. I actually thought about submitting this to PoP last week…glad someone else is less lazy

  • Warder Kid

    How does this ruin a block? One of the more unique aspects of rowhouses in DC is that it seems there are no color requirements, which gives us some awesome, colorful blocks (11th St NW/Kenyon area comes to mind).

    I suppose if I felt that this type of paint job “ruined a block,” I’d head out to Manassas and find myself a nice, sterile ranch style home that is built exactly the same and painted the same dull beige/white/egg shell/whatever as every other home.

  • SF

    If you think that ruins a block, you should really venture out of the *safe* neighborhoods in NW more often.


  • LOVE it….

    “ruined a block,” OMG I can think of so many other things that do this.

  • textdoc

    I might have preferred something slightly more muted (a blue red rather than an orange red), but I really don’t think this shade of red is bad at all.

    IMO, the colors of that stretch of rowhouses on Cliffbourne Place — especially the orange one — are far more egregious: http://www.flickr.com/photos/ekelly80/5383242910/


    • Polytasker

      Whoa, I have to say I really love the Cliffbourne Pl. houses. Could have picked a much better shade of yellow/orange, but the combination of the four has great impact.

      Besides, I think the condition and care of the house is far more important than the color. If you buy an already painted rowhouse, paint it chartreuse, and keep it clean and meticulously maintained, that’s going to look a thousand times better than a dark red or beige house where the paint is peeling and falling into the yard. The hot pink house in the unit block of Rhode Island Ave. NW is a good example of this.

    • LCM

      I love all of the brightly colored row houses! (Don’t like the glossy paint of the Florida Ave one, though). In general, the bright colors remind me of South America and make DC so much more fun. I even love the orange one you mentioned.

      DC has a reputation of being drab and boring, these houses show a more playful side of an often too-serious city.

      • Ellen Ripley

        Me too!

    • textdoc

      Yeah… I know lots of people like them, which was why I preceded my remark with “IMO.” ;)

      I think it’s really the orange one that does it for me… the blue one and the red one are OK, and the green is a smidgeon bright but not that bad.

      It’s all relative, of course.

  • Anonymous

    is it a high gloss on stone? No? Well then wheres the problem?

  • MtP

    Better than the pink its being painted on! I like it!

  • Polytasker

    I like it a lot, especially against the gray shade on the right. But then again, I used to live on the 1300 block of Kenyon and absolutely loved how colorful the houses were.

    I guess some people don’t like to look at bright colors, or something, but this hardly “ruins” the block. Would you rather have a boarded-up shell there, or a house that is clearly well-maintained? Not everyone wants a beige house, and that is A-OK.

  • Veronika

    this is fab. it ruins nothing. i’m more offended at garish upward additions that break up the line of the rowhouses than a paint colour. it livens things up.

  • Anonymous

    I’m a fan as well, as long as they don’t paint the trim yellow like that other house.

  • LCM

    The pink wasn’t a primer?!

  • grumpy

    I think we could have judged this one without the whiney commentary attached. I think it looks fine.

  • notlawd

    I like this too! What color would the poster prefer? Renovation yellow? The bright color rowhouses are my favoriate. I wish all the houses on my block were fun colors, including mine.

  • Sarah Lindsey

    Crazy story about that house being painted –

    I was biking by about 5:30 pm (ish) this afternoon and noticed people yelling outside. A painter was up on the ladder (the same ladder in the picture – but not the same man) painting the while edging around the 3rd story right window. Apparently a few minutes before I arrived, the ladder had started to bend and give way. It is made of metal, but up close it looks more precarious than most ladders.

    A quick thinker had grabbed another ladder to prop up the (now dangerously curved) original ladder and there were 5 people (neighbors/passersby/painters holding on to the bottom of both ladders trying to prevent this guy from falling down.

    Someone living in the building (I think) had just called the fire department. Someone else living in the building next door had instructed a woman to grab his sofa cushions and position them below the man in case he fell. One of the men holding the ladders ran upstairs to try and pull the guy into the window through the ladder rungs (a fairly thin man). His feet were just dangling out the window when the fire truck pulled up a few minutes later.

    Needless to say, the firemen were not amused – last I heard they were threatening to call the police/DC regulatory agency if the ladder wasn’t immediately destroyed.

    Lots of drama for a paint job. I wanted to take a picture, but it felt a little opportunistic at the time. I walked by the house later in the day and the paint is clearly smeared on the upper window where the ladder/man were sliding around.

    • textdoc


  • z

    I’m partial to the block of 12th Place NW between W and Florida. Not too garish but bursting with colorful charm. And I agree that glossy paint can turn a fashion risk into a disaster, on the red and yellow ones and also that sort of fuschia/mango thing on Florida around 5th.

    • brooke

      agreed-one of my favorite blocks!

  • P’worth

    I love it. It’s just COLOR, people!

  • Anonymous

    What’s a ballpark figure to have a 2 or 3 story traditional rowhouse painted?

  • fz

    I like it! Whoever thinks this ruins the block will probably be a lot happier by moving to the suburbs and running an annoying homeowners association.

  • Erin

    I like it too! Haters gonna hate, but who cares!

  • I love it. If it was my house I would paint it the same color.

  • Bitter Elitist


  • Nick

    If you think this splash of color “ruins” the block, don’t think about setting foot in San Francisco. You’ll have a heart attack from the rainbow of Victorians for which, of course, the city is famous.


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