Paint It Gray

Grayed Expectations: What’s With All the Gray Houses?

Washington City Paper, Dec. 24, 2015

If you live in a part of D.C. where houses are bought and sold like daytrader shares—or if you just have a bad habit of surfing Zillow at work—there’s one aesthetic question that’s probably crossed your mind in recent months.

What’s with all the gray houses?

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.

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Photograph by Darrow Montgomery