What it’s like to live inside one of the iconic ‘Painted Lady’ homes in San Francisco

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The Painted Ladies are among the famous homes in the world.
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Melia Robinson

Imagine coming home from work and finding dozens of tourists parked across the street, snapping photos and singing the theme song from ’90s sitcom “Full House.”

For San Francisco homeowners Come Lague and Charlene Li, the scene described is part of their everyday routine.

The couple lives in one of the pastel-colored Victorians known collectively as the “Painted Ladies.” Made famous in part by their appearance in the “Full House” intro, the homes are among the city’s most photographed tourist destinations.

Business Insider recently had the chance to tour the home. Take a look.


Look familiar?


The Painted Ladies rocketed to fame after their cameo in the “Full House” intro, though they’ve been featured in dozens of commercials, TV shows, and movies.

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Melia Robinson/Business Insider

Source: NPR


When we arrived, two dozen tourists stood with cameras and phones outside the homes. Some climbed the hill to capture the cityscape in the background.

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The largest and oldest house on the block sits on the corner. It was built by architect Matthew Kavanaugh, who designed all the homes on “Postcard Row.”

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Google Maps

Kavanaugh made the 4,600-square-foot house his personal residence, and 124 years later, venture capitalist Come Lague and startup founder Charlene Li call it home.

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The house sat on the market on and off for four years before the couple scooped it up for $3.1 million — $900,000 below the original asking price — in 2014.

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Source: NPR


The couple recently picked a new paint color, slate blue, for the exterior. Orange (for the San Francisco Giants) was in the running, but they decided it wouldn’t photograph well.

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They gave the Queen Anne Victorian-style home a “long overdue” makeover recently, says Lague, who founded and runs intellectual property management company Zetta Research.

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His partner, Li, whose consulting firm Altimeter Group was acquired last year, explains they wanted to respect the home’s history while also making it work for a modern family.

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New appliances add a contemporary flair.

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The family can control their internet-connected devices using the Amazon Echo.

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A backyard is hard to come by in San Francisco, even on big properties. French doors open onto a small deck, which has room for a grill and potted plants.

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The family took down a wall to create a more open-concept feel. A red, black, and white color scheme carries from the formal dining room to the parlor.

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No room is so stuffy that you wouldn’t feel comfortable putting your feet up on the couch. There are two teenagers living here, after all.

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A piano sits in the corner, overlooking Alamo Square Park. The curtains hang shut to help protect the family’s privacy, though the sheer fabric still lets light in.

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The Discovery WineStation by Dacor allows the couple, who own a vineyard in northern California, to tap several bottles and keep them fresh. It retails for $5,499 on Amazon.

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Source: Amazon


The home has five bedrooms and four-and-a-half baths, though Business Insider only got a peek at the finished attic, which doubles as a guest room.

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Melia Robinson/Business Insider

Source: NPR


A wraparound couch and media center makes for a relaxing entertainment zone.

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The attic provides unobstructed views of downtown San Francisco.

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Look down and guests will find a set of newly installed solar panels that Lague and Li lease from solar provider Sunrun.

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Learn more about Sunrun.


The panels generate enough power to run the home’s electricity and heating and cooling systems. Lague says he expects the system to shave at least 30% off their $300 monthly electric bill, and they will be able to sell “leftover” energy back to the grid.

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A Tesla Powerwall battery hangs in the garage. It charges using electricity generated from the solar panels and powers the home through the evening when the sun is gone.

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Source: Tesla


In spite of its stunning interiors, this Painted Lady is best known for its exterior. Li says she’s seen photos of her home pop up on buses and in building lobbies.

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Tourists even approach sometimes when she arrives. “To have people tell you your house is beautiful, every day,” Li says, “it’s an awesome feeling.”

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