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‘I’m hoping to make it pink once again’

Buyer of famed Alamo Square Painted Lady promises you can keep tabs on renovation via social media

Three homes with peaked roof tops. Photos by F8 Photography, courtesy of Jeremy Rushton of Coldwell Banker

Sharp-eyed observers will immediately notice the problem with Leah Culver’s handle on Instagram and Twitter: “Pink Painted Lady.”

The house that Culver recently bought and plans to chronicle the restoration of via social media isn’t really pink. Not yet.

“But it was in the ’60s,” Culver tells Curbed SF, and she indeed plans to restore the Queen Anne-style Victorian to its former hue, but in this case she also says that it will be a tasteful shade that blends in with its neighbors.

“Maybe with some gold trim,” she adds.

Yes, her new house is the Steiner Street home, the beloved but slightly battered Painted Lady across the street from Alamo Square Park that sold for $3.55 million at the end of January, after listing for $2.75 million just a few weeks prior.

It was the first sale on famous Postcard Row since 2014; the former sale was a troubled exchange that took four years and ended up selling for nearly one million under its asking price. But in this case, Culver said she was motivated to hop into the bidding right away.

“Because I’m not a property developer I thought I had a small advantage,” says Culver, a software developer who moved to SF from Minneapolis 14 years ago. “I thought if I were only competing against developers, I would value it more highly,” she says, since “there are homes you could turn over more quickly.”

There may indeed have been interests looking to flip the world famous 19th century Victorian, as it has deteriorated a bit in recent years and could fetch even more after a fix-up.

But Culver says she really plans to remain a long-term resident—and as someone who lived across the street from Dolores Park for a decade, she says she’s prepared for the crowds.

Seeing an opportunity with the publicity of such a noted home hitting the market, she set up the Pink Painted Lady accounts to invite the public to track what’s being done to the property, which is part of the Alamo Square Historic District but, surprisingly, not a registered landmark on its own and has minimal preservation protections.

Culver plans to spend another $3 million on restorations over the course of two years, although right now it’s mostly prep work—e.g., hiring a project manage, interviewing architects, and looking at the new neighbors’ houses to get an idea of what missing details might have looked like.

For the concerned, she assures us that her aim is to keep the Victorian the same, with the exception of those areas where work is glaringly needed. And for those itching to keep a closer eye on it, well, look no further.