Wandering through the streets of San Francisco and gazing up at grand Victorians is something tourists and locals alike enjoy on a clear, sunny day. But for a niche community of gawkers roaming the city’s streets, it’s more like, “But did you see that amazing garage door?”
Perhaps because of how the city was built or maybe it’s because it’s a perfect blank canvas, some San Franciscans have opted to extend the paint job on their homes to include the garage. Sometimes, they treat it differently altogether.
A growing hashtag on Instagram, #garagedoorsofsf is the place to go to ogle at elaborately painted facades. From intricate murals to vibrant, alternating colors, garage doors have become a centerpiece of the city’s artistic landscape.
Susie Berenson, a frequent contributor to the hashtag, moved to San Francisco just three years ago from the East Coast. She said she started noticing the doors almost immediately and started photographing them because she loved the mix of symbolism and symmetry.
“The doors represent openness,” Berenson said. “And people really express themselves through their garage doors through their colors and choices.”
Julie Gebhardt, a Bay Area resident of 40 years, said she started noticing the prevalence of painted garage doors in the Mission years ago, but as time went on, they were popping up in more neighborhoods.