Hue Must Be Joking

A town cloaked in shades of pale shudders as homes cross the color barrier

Hermila Sanchez wanted a house that she could find in the dark. Muted pastels were the predominant colors in her hometown of South Gate, 10 miles south of Los Angeles, where the dusty heat further blanches the stucco residences to uniformity. But Home Depot's Navajo White and Swiss Coffee were not for Sanchez. And so, for her very first home, the accountant chose blue. Not a dainty cornflower or staid navy but the kind of blue that makes your eyes sting on a bright day.

It was bolder than even she had intended, but a good fit--nearly the shade of her...

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