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Proud Silver Lake homeowners think they're pretty in pink

If you were to consult a real estate agent or a paint manufacturer about the appropriate colors for a home's exterior, the reply would skew heavily to the light, neutral, inoffensive wedge of the color wheel.

But not in Silver Lake. In the trendy Los Angeles neighborhood, the wheel lately revolves toward pink.

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According to a January discussion on the social networking site Nextdoor, a pink home exterior trend has been bubbling in the artistic enclave, causing a minor hubbub about matters of taste, the effect on property values and suppositions about homeowners' appetite for hallucinogens.

In an era when Millennial Pink, Ultra Violet and Caliente have been crowned the colors of the year by various experts, perhaps it's no surprise that the midcentury down the block matches your lipstick. Pink, it seems, is having a home exterior moment.

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In recognition of the city's long tradition of pink houses, Silver Lake resident Dan Miller ago covered the brownish-green hue of his hillside house with the cheerful Camellia Pink by Benjamin Moore 18 months ago.

"We were sick of all the sun-absorbing dark colors that began proliferating about a dozen years ago, but we didn't want to go with white because of the glare," said Miller, a librarian.

Pink evokes innocence, girlhood and Barbie's signature shade, and lately, a stronger brand of femininity.

"Pink was a very visible color last year," said Ellen O'Neill, director of strategic design intelligence for Benjamin Moore. She cited the sustained presence of pink pussy hats, pink's dominance in home decor and a democratization that's making the hue more genderless and mature.

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Such tastemaker outlets as Pinterest, Architectural Digest and Southern Living have recently extolled the virtues of pink front doors and home exteriors, even if local real estate agents are mixed on the impact on property values. Sotheby's Silver Lake agent Gail Crosby admires a fuchsia-accented home that's across the street from her own house yet counsels clients to stay neutral for the widest possible appeal.

Silver Lake agent Karen Lower of Compass noted that a vivid red house recently set an area record, though some folks hate it. "You have to take into account the neighborhood, current trends and what people find acceptable," she said.

According to Silver Lake architectural designer Carol Strober, pink is a traditional desert color derived from the pinkish-tan of adobe mud and the pink-flecked flagstone of the Southwest. In Southern California, pink complements our tile roofs, rosy sunsets and bougainvillea blossoms.

"People do tend to pick palettes to correspond with what lies beyond the window," O'Neill said.

Pink also makes homes memorable.

"They are basically almost like a celebrity, a neighborhood hallmark," O'Neill said.

Indeed, comments in the Nextdoor thread about the area's pink houses described an under-construction home with a fuchsia wall and a chrome-paneled garage door as "pretty dope."

Full disclosure: I live in a pink-ish house and tested the area's sentiment in a Nextdoor poll about pink homes. Turns out most of the people were OK with pink, and only 14% agreed with the statement "Pink is a disgusting, property-value deflating color for house exteriors." It seems you have a less than 1 in 5 chance of getting hate mail from your neighbors if you coat the stucco in Pink Parfait.

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Meanwhile, the California Realtors Assn. in Los Feliz said it hasn't studied the resale impact of pink homes.

Pink grows on you. In 2012, when Patrick Terrill bought one of the 23 small-lot homes in the Mews, an eco-friendly development in Atwater Village, the second-floor exterior was a bright, tropical pink.

"Now I wouldn't change it," Terrill said. "I like it."

It's become such a landmark that he tells visitors to look for the lone pink house. He even printed hot-pink T-shirts with its image to celebrate the housewarming.

Pink homes are in keeping with the area's taste for vivid shades, according to Peggy McCloud, owner of Jill's Paint in Atwater Village.

As the unofficial home-color historian of greater Silver Lake, McCloud recounted the many notable color palettes she sees: purple, orange, mud and Pepto-Bismol.

"You're never going to see those colors in a planned community with an HOA," she said. "That's what makes Silver Lake eclectic. You've got the musicians, the artists here, so anything goes."

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