Planetizen - Urban Planning News, Jobs, and Education

Washington, D.C. Renovations a Peculiar Shade of 'Flip-House Gray'

Washington, D.C. is awash in a layer of gray paint that has followed a wave of renovations that have followed the rising cost of housing. Washington City Paper peals away the paint to explore the origins and implications of the fad.
December 30, 2015, 6am PST | James Brasuell | @CasualBrasuell
Share Tweet LinkedIn Email Comments

Amanda Kolson Hurley asks the big question of Washington, D.C. real estate: "What’s with all the gray houses?"

The context for the question:

"From Petworth to Anacostia, Riggs Park to Bloomingdale, developers are applying fresh paint in tones of Raincloud or Flagstone to the fronts of newly renovated rowhouses, as subtle as a 25-foot “For Sale” sign. The gray rowhouse shines out to homebuyers not so much as a beacon in the fog but a foggy beacon, its message contradictory: Here is a chance to buy property in D.C., but hurry, it’s fleeting; this neighborhood is desirable but in transition; the house is seemingly pristine, and most likely a flip."

The origins of the color's popularity are unclear, though the financial reasons for renovators to paint over—rather than power wash—century-old brick facades is. Kolson Hurley does speak with an interior designer who makes a case for gray as walking the line between "tradition and classic."

The article includes more on the cultural implications of the growing swath of gray paint covering the Nation's Capital.

Full Story:
Published on Wednesday, December 23, 2015 in Washington City Paper
Share Tweet LinkedIn Email