While GM was away last week, he received several emails from readers lamenting the new paint-job at Serendipity 3 at M and Wisconsin. GM got home last night and took a quick trip by, and yes it is pretty hideous.
Using the company’s purplish pink hue, the restaurant painted about a quarter of the building’s trim. The color is pretty garish, but GM’s not sure if it’s made better or worse by only being haphazardly applied. It’s like they gave up once they realized how ugly it is.
But this is no call to action. Despite the rigorous historical preservation laws that Georgetown is subject to, there are no restrictions on paint color. And really, there shouldn’t be. Preservation is about preserving permanent things. Paint color is temporary (it’s slightly different, however, if we’re talking about unpainted historic brick. No protections exist for them now, but there could be a case to do so.)
Longtime readers may recall a similar situation at the Ice Berry down the street. There the store had painted part of its trim neon green. That was later removed, but not because of historic preservation laws. Rather, the building is subject to an historic preservation easement. Unlike the government, the holder of an historical preservation easement typically can restrict the colors used to paint the facade. No such easement exists over the Serendipity property.
So we’re going to have to live with the eyesore.