The Painted Ladies at Alamo Square might be a hot tourist attraction, but there's another house on the San Francisco market that is a better bargain with gorgeous beachfront views and nestled in a quiet neighborhood.
Along Ocean Beach's Great Highway, between Quintara and Rivera streets, there is a little house that -- instead of blending in with all the other box-shaped houses decorated with opaque shades of taupe, olive green, and periwinkle blue -- is a burst of color in a neighborhood surrounded by dull grey fog.
The Piet Mondrian-inspired house's exterior is painted in the signature style of the Dutch artist: solid horizontal and vertical black lines against a white canvas creating asymmetrical square regions accented with three regions filled with the primary colors of red, yellow, and blue.
Mondrian was an abstract painter in Europe who believed in theosophy, a complex brand of mysticism dictating that all of nature was governed by a divine order. Mondrian started off as a traditional landscape painter in his earlier career, but in 1908, with this new belief, developed a painting system that stripped the land to its most basic building components. From this new style, he hoped the meditative reductions would encourage spiritual enlightenment.
Not only did Mondrian influence the path of modern art, but his paintings have rubbed off in architecture, advertising, and fashion. In 1965, French designer Yves Saint Laurent revealed the Mondrian dress collection in Paris during the autumn runway season, the collection is largely credited to the emergence of color blocking: the use of two opposite colors in the color wheel to create a cohesive outfit or piece.
Flash forward to current day San Francisco. Now thanks to Mondrian you finally have a reason to go to the coast even if the weather around Ocean Beach doesn't really lend itself to the traditional fun in the sun activities. Just take a friend or loved one for a walk along the beach trail and admire this tiny little gem in the Outer Sunset district. You can also bike, or if you don't like to get sand everywhere, take a drive along the Great Highway and check out all the sights.
Muni buses 18 and 48 will get you the closest. If you decide to use the metro lines, the L is the best route. Just get off at 46th Street and Taraval and walk four blocks north. Look for the beach because this abode is facing the Pacific Ocean.
Just a word of advice.
This is a private residence, so please do not knock or try to disturb the inhabitants of this quirky tribute home. So like any great piece of art in a museum: please do not touch and admire from a distance.