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

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

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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 camped across the street, snapping photos and singing the theme song from ’90s sitcom “Full House.”

For San Francisco residents Come Lague and Charlene Li, it’s part of their everyday routine.

The couple lives in one of the Victorian homes in the Alamo Square neighborhood, 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.

In 2016, Business Insider had the chance to tour the home. Take a look inside.


Look familiar?

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“Full House.”
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YouTube

The Painted Ladies rocketed to fame in the 1990s after their cameo in the “Full House” intro, but they’ve been featured in dozens of commercials, TV shows, and movies.

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Melia Robinson/Business Insider

Source: NPR


The iconic row is located in San Francisco’s ritzy Alamo Square neighborhood.

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Google Maps

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

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Melia Robinson/Business Insider

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. More than a century later, married entrepreneurs Come Lague and Charlene Li call it home.

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Come Lague (left) and Charlene Li.
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Melia Robinson/Business Insider

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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Melia Robinson/Business Insider

Source: NPR


By comparison, the median-priced home in Alamo Square lists for $1.15 million. Houses in the area typically sell for 104% of the list price, according to real estate site Redfin.

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Shutterstock

Source: Redfin


It’s unclear why Lague and Li got such a deal on the home. In 2014 the San Francisco Chronicle reported on the sale, “Maybe buying a piece of San Francisco history isn’t that appealing if thousands of tourists are taking a picture of your front door every day.”

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Shutterstock

Source: San Francisco Chronicle


After the sale, Lague and Li picked a new paint color — slate blue — for the exterior. Orange in honor of the San Francisco Giants was in the running, but they decided it wouldn’t photograph well.

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Melia Robinson/Business Insider

They gave the Queen Anne Victorian-style home a “long overdue” makeover, said Lague, who is founder and CEO of Zetta Research.

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Melia Robinson/Business Insider

His partner, Li, whose consulting firm Altimeter Group was acquired in 2015, said they wanted to respect the home’s history while also making it work for a modern family.

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Melia Robinson/Business Insider

New appliances add a contemporary flair.

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Melia Robinson/Business Insider

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

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Melia Robinson/Business Insider

The French doors open onto a small deck, which has room for a grill and plants.

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Melia Robinson/Business Insider

A backyard is hard to come by in San Francisco.

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Melia Robinson/Business Insider

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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Melia Robinson/Business Insider

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

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Melia Robinson/Business Insider

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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Melia Robinson/Business Insider

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 over $8,000 from third-party sellers on Amazon.

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Melia Robinson/Business Insider

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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Melia Robinson/Business Insider

The bookshelves were lined with many children’s books and travel guides to Hawaii.

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Melia Robinson/Business Insider

The attic provides unobstructed views of downtown San Francisco.

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Melia Robinson/Business Insider

Solar panels that the couple leases from solar provider Sunrun hang on the roof.

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Melia Robinson/Business Insider

Learn more about Sunrun.


The panels generate enough power to run the home’s electricity and heating and cooling systems.

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Melia Robinson/Business Insider

In 2016, Lague said he expected the Sunrun system to shave at least 30% off their $300 monthly electric bill. Lague and Li are able to sell “leftover” energy back to the grid.


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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Melia Robinson/Business Insider

Source: Tesla


Though the home has stunning interiors, this Painted Lady is best known for its exterior. Li said she’s seen photos of her home pop up on buses, postcards, and in building lobbies.

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Melia Robinson/Business Insider

Netflix rebooted “Full House” with a spinoff series titled “Fuller House” in 2016, which sparked new interest from tourists in the iconic home located on Alamo Square Park. It’s been renewed for a fourth season.

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Netflix

Li said it’s not uncommon for tourists to approach her when she arrives home from work. “To have people tell you your house is beautiful, every day,” Li said, “it’s an awesome feeling.”

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Melia Robinson/Business Insider