Quality meets location on a small scale for the price conscious renter who will easily make a home from this renovated walk up apartment on Melrose.  With an over $15,000 renovation which includes air conditioning, new instant hot water heater, stainless steel fridge and range, new kitchen cabinets and counter tops, refinished hardwood flooring, new paint and lighting, blinds and tile in the shower this unit shows both character and modern amenity.  Additional improvements included newly installed on-site laundry.

The unit faces north and has plenty of indirect sunlight throughout the day.  The noise level was elevated, but not too bad with the windows closed and it really gives of that NY City Vibe.  The bedroom was small however there were two large closets with built in closet organizers which made for plenty of storage space.

Fascade Kitchen Living Room Living Room Master Bathroom Bedroom One Bedroom Two Courtyard Fascade Courtyard Entrance


|rental listing|

A narrow interior garden courtyard contains the entrances and stairways leading into these charming, Mediterranean style two-story townhouses built in the 1930’s and preserved  on the register of historical buildings there is no lack of appeal here for those seeking old world style and charm.  There are two units available that I toured, each two story, two bedroom, two bathroom townhouses with one garaged parking space each.  I was immediately taken by the hardwood floors and cold, plaster walls.  The north facing units were dark without the electricity to power the lights.  You are going to give up certain amenities such as in unit laundry, central air and a dishwasher but in return you will have a unit that maintains much of its original character and has been well preserved over the years.

Pool Area Entrance View from Terrace Terrace Kitchen



I found this over the weekend and set up a showing for Monday morning with Nina who was very pleasant and it must be noted a professional landlord; meaning she is not renting her condo that she had to move out of, but rather she has been renting it for many many years.  I say this because it is an important consideration that you must have.  If you are moving into someone’s house or condo that they just moved out of because they can’t afford it or had to temporarily reLAcate then they are going to treat both you and their house or condo differently than a professional landlord and eventually they are going to most likely want to move back in, make regular visits to check on their house and or default on the mortgage.  My recommendation for anyone looking to rent a house or a condo is to ask the questions: How long has this been rented out by the owner, why is the owner renting it out, what are their intentions in the next 12 - 24 months, etc.

Okay, back to the condo.  I lucked out and found a spot near the building which Nina tells me happens quite frequently.  Walking through the gated entrance I find the grounds to be quite pleasant, very quite at the time of my mid-morning Monday visit.  The worn brick ties together a well maintained grounds with just the right amount of vegetation, all wrapped around a very welcoming pool with southern views over and beyond the Sunset Strip.  I can certainly see myself enjoying this.

The unit is small but with the terrace and pool right outside of your front door it makes for a unique environment that could become part of your almost private enclave.  Being on the ground floor it lacks privacy and is is more like a single story home, which for me I am not so sure that I am comfortable with.  The living room faces south and is going to get good light throughout the day while the bedrooms are on opposite sides, one facing south (not going to want to have your shades drawn here) while the other faces north with a view of a wall enclosing the garage of the neighboring building.  The kitchen and dining room have the same view.  What you are renting here is really the location and amazing outdoor space. 

My apologies I did not get more photos however the condo is currently rented.  One bathroom has been renovated with lots of stone and looks attractive, the other looks to be in original condition and is very narrow and much less appealing than the first.  There is a very narrow stacked washer / dryer in the unit, suitable for small loads of laundry.  For your larger items there are coin-operated machines in the parking garage of which 1 spaces comes with this unit.  Overall this is for the person who wants the Sunset Blvd location and is going to enjoy the outdoor space.  

Pacific Listings: “Where are you?”

I submitted on December 22nd to view TWO rentals listed by Pacific Listings… still waiting for viewing instructions… talk about service, I mean I know “very near future” is relative but come on people we are three weeks out here and my timeline is measured in months not years!

Viewing Instructions for PL1880
1 message

Pacific Listings <info2@pacificlistings.com>

Thu, Dec 22, 2011 at 11:34 AM

To: xxxxxxx.x.xxxxxxx@gmail.com

Hey xxxxxxx,

We appreciate your interest in this property:

This unit is shown by appointment.
One of our representatives will be in touch with you shortly to arrange a viewing.

You entered in the following as your contact information:

We will use the above information to contact you in the very near future.
Thank you for using www.PacificListings.com

Thank you,
(323) 303 3440


Viewing Instructions for PL1876
1 message

Pacific Listings <info1@pacificlistings.com>
Thu, Dec 22, 2011 at 11:36 AM
To: xxxxxxx.x.xxxxxxx@gmail.com
Hey xxxxxxx,

We appreciate your interest in this property:

This unit is shown by appointment.
One of our representatives will be in touch with you shortly to arrange a viewing.

You entered in the following as your contact information:
xxxxxxx xxxxxxx

We will use the above information to contact you in the very near future.
Thank you for using www.PacificListings.com

Thank you,
(323) 303 3440
Modern? I have no words! Those are some shiney ceilings! 80's here we come! Lot's of room in this kitchen.... The Clash of the Hardwood Floors Oh, wait, is this in the backyard?

5822 Harold Way, Los Angeles, CA

….into the hood of Hollywood.  Okay, well it’s gentrifying, I mean all those wannabe Hollywood Stars and Starlets, they gotta live somewhere on a budget and if they aren’t hip to Silver Lake [yes, it’s two words, I double checked! :)], well they just might be right here, right now.

Parking my car I see a few nice character pieces on the street but nestled between some insidious tear downs from the 60’s when rental demand got so out of control all sense of design went right out the door.  Walking down the street I find the address given to me on something clearly straight out of the late 80’s or early 90’s, and “Modern” I am just not seeing:


Adjective:Of or relating to the present or recent times as opposed to the remote past.
Noun:A person who advocates or practices a departure from traditional styles or values.

new - up-to-date - contemporary - latter-day - neoteric

Now, to Cody’s credit, in comparison to the 1920’s house that I just came from this is much closer to modern times but I honestly can’t see anyone calling 80’s mass appeal building style modern by today’s standards and get away with it. 

Walking in the door the fun really starts.  We have nice, clean, newly laid out dark hardwood floors that look really out of place with all of the 80’s finishes and original oak finishing around the fireplace and built-ins in the master bedroom.  Lot’s of square tile in the kitchen and those infamous black appliances that were all the rage back in the day placed flush with the oak cabinets in the kitchen.

This is really a less than half-ass job on a remodel gone wrong.  I mean seriously, dark hardwood floors and natural oak cabinets, really?  The ceiling paint is so shiny it is reflecting the sunlight right back down to the floor and the walls have been touched up in patchwork fashion, classy!  I really hope they are not leaving it like this, I think I see primer spots on the wall. 

On the positive side, if you are speaking only to the fundamentals I can and must admit there is a lot of storage here and it is 3 beds and 3 baths for under $3K. 

Okay so Cody let me down, but to his credit he isn’t going to lease any apartments if he can’t get anyone out to see them.  In the end, after filling over two hours of my day with disappointment I am starting to feel like I have rock star dreams on a garage band budget but what I really know is that my home is out there, I am just going to have to work a lot harder to find it!

Kitchen Bathroom I Living Room Bathroom II Fascade Living Room Fireplace

517 N Edinburgh, Los Angeles, CA

I found the ad on Padmapper, a repost from Craigslist:

A rare find, a remodeled single-family on one of Beverly Grove’s most coveted streets, 1 block to West Hollywood. This charming 2 bedroom/2 bath has European tile/stone influence throughout, living room with vaulted ceilings and tiled wood burning fireplace, formal dining room, washer/dryer, extensive use of European Security shutters, French doors open to expansive redwood deck and gigantic back yard. Steps to The Grove, boutiques and best restaurants of LA. Pets ok. avail. Jan. 6th. Call Don at 310.358.3240 or 310.386.4398

Well, the pictures, all four of them, on Craigslist showed the front, back and furnished living room and renovated bathroom.  I called the number and spoke with Cody, this was a house, and on a pretty nice street and just minutes from my offices, so for $3,200 there was no question, I had to check it out. 

Cody called around eleven to confirm our noon because after all what property manager wants to drive out for a showing to have his appointment flake.  I was early and worked my way around the back to find the door ajar and so I went in, camera at the ready and began firing away.  I knew instantly this wasn’t the place for me.  I first noticed the stone tile floors throughout and those are not going to get along with my modern furniture.  Next came the kitchen, well there is just no amount of interior design work that is going to get that looking acceptable to my high maintenance needs and I do love my cooking so immediately I turn to documenting for the rest of you out there.

Cody shows up while I am finishing up my photo-shoot of the week and we talk about the house.  I explain how the tiles just aren’t going to work with my home goods and the place needs some work, well a lot of work for my taste.  “Do you have anything else, perhaps something a bit more modern?” I ask.  He explains that he does have something, in a five unit building up north of Sunset, by the Hollywood Hills, off Bronson.  It has been renovated, all modern, really nice I should drive over and check it out. 

At this point I am envisioning a clean, modern, newly completed rental, open floorplan, loft like, somewhere one could hang a Jackson Pollock for example.  “I’m in, I’ll ring you when I’m there,” and with that I jump in my car and make the thirty minute trek through Hollywood, across Sunset and up Bronson…. yes up Bronson, wow and your first right turn and…..

Landing 137 N Sycamore Ave Master Bedroom Guest Bedroom Bathroom Kitchen Hallway Dining Room Living Room Living Room

137 N Sycamore Ave – Los Angeles, CA 90036

$2,800 | 2 bed + 1.5 bath

Oh character I found you on Padmapper only this morning and here we are meeting for the first time, in real person, only hours later….  “What is that ridiculous looking for rent sign doing in your front yard? If I move in will you take it down, because I just couldn’t live here with that, it’s really throwing off your style and I think we would get along better without it!”  Moving on, up the stairs we go and through your entry door and up the interior stairs and out pops the most striking set of red vinyl bench chairs between two old world bookcases stocked with books and I must say you look well read as those books certainly have been riffled through many times; I can only imagine the secrets they most hold!  Perhaps you are more than just a landing; A waiting area for those guests you want to let in, but not quite all the way in, as you finish getting ready to go out for the evening.

I shall not dwell on the possibilities, I want to know more and without further hesitation up the stairs and in your front door I am greeted by an open living room spread out across engineered hardwood floors that opens into a dining room that carries back to a kitchen that continues to a private laundry room and down the stairs and out the infamous back door!  Seeing what you have to offer I must say that I am impressed with your modern upgrades, the central air conditioning concealed by the original heating vents, the new plumbing bringing full water pressure and I am told all new wiring so my entire collection of plug in electronics will work without blowing your circuits!

Like many four unit Mediterranean buildings you lack inspiration of a creative layout seen in our Art Deco units we have recently toured but maintain functionality with both bedrooms positioned at the rear accessed via a long drawn out hallway with three lighted spheres hanging from the ceiling along the way.  Your walls form straight lines joined together to create boxy rooms, perhaps some dimensionality to your colors would cause your highlights to jump out at me, but as is I am standing here looking at a blank canvass and I really want for you to jump out at me with something unmistakably brilliant that says don’t leave, I am yours and you are home.

Courtyard Dining Room Private Roof Top Deck Living Room Kitchen Private Laundry off of Kitchen Full Bath (just one here) Mater Bedroom, faces South and East Guest Bedroom Faces North and East Entryway


2 + 1 | $2,500

Having always admired Sycamore for its early to mid-19th century architecture and quiet, tree lined street I was excited to finally see the inside of one of these remarkable pieces of history.  Parking is as always in short supply and thankfully this one comes with a single space, which does not say much for guests but at least coming home with groceries isn’t going to be a crap shoot and I am not going to have to remember where I parked my car in the morning and when was street cleaning on the west side of the street, oh is that a ticket on my car again… thank god none of that to occupy my already busy mind!

Climbing up three flights of stairs has its rewards with amazing views from this penthouse Art Deco on beautiful tree lined Sycamore.    With no common walls you truly have 360 degree, unobstructed views with this charming timepiece and as a bonus a quite rooftop deck off of the living room that is going to be perfect for entertaining guests.  The home is oriented to the West which is going to bath the deck, living room and dining room with lots sunlight into the early evening while the bedrooms are situated to the back where you will catch the morning sun to wake you.  The kitchen has been fitted with stainless steel range and refrigerator and unlike the previous Art Deco we toured this one has a workable amount of outlets in the kitchen for your counter-top appliances!  Just off of the kitchen a private laundry room, far enough away from the living areas where you aren’t going to be hearing your clothes go round and round while you’re trying sleep or entertain guests. 

Like many Art-Deco buildings this one has no lack of closet space to store all of your belongings, you may even find yourself feeling like your shoe collection just isn’t that large after all!  The bathroom has separate tub and walk in shower, the water pressure, as I have found to be typical, had something to be desired and the printed tile in the bathroom, well not for everyone’s taste I imagine!  I quite like that it is on one floor, and very well to do with its functional floor plan.  Having only one bathroom however means sharing with guests and a potential roomie, something to be given consideration.

A couple of window AC units have been installed and with the ceiling fans I am guess this place will be just fine in the summer months and for the winter the heating system works through floor and wall vents versus the in wall gas units that you see all over Los Angeles.

I can see this one working out well, aside from the timing, it looks like it is going to be taken soon, maybe even this afternoon and my timeline is a little further out so I am going to keep on looking!

312 N Crescent Heights Walk Up Living Room Dining Room Kitchen Guest Bathroom Shared Master Bath Master Bedroom Office Guest Bedroom Private Rooftop Deck


2 BED + 1.5 BATH | $2,695

My first foray back into the rental world of Los Angeles began with a call to Roger on Friday evening, whose listing piqued my interest with a description of “Spanish Architecture’, which I happen to be fond of. He returned my call on Saturday morning and after a brief chat about the building I decided to stop in and take a look. 

First impressions are lasting: a very busy Crescent Heights, potential difficulty finding parking, a fading paint job and a dirt yard-its not starting off very good here.  A couple walking by kindly pointed out the louvered windows and said I should really consider the noise. Valid point. It was cloudy out, however with primarily open southern and eastern views, this unit is going to have lots of light throughout the day.  The building itself was small, four units I believe, and this looks to be the largest of them.

Contrary to the listing’s “Spanish Architecture” description, this is distinctly an Art Deco building with lots of curves, windows and mirrors throughout. Okay, big deal. Not everyone is up on their architecture.

I think certain considerations should be made before you jump into your Art Deco lifestyle.  These buildings appeal to those who either have an aversion to modern amenities such as small appliances, air conditioning and laundry machines or those who place a style premium over the convenience of such creature comforts. With this specific example I noticed there to be only one outlet available in the kitchen. I also noted old circuit breakers in the sub-panel which may not be sufficient for running your in room A/C, blow dryer and microwave all at the same time. Overall the unit is quite spacious and I like that the bedrooms and office are above the living space.  There looked to be ample closet space for even those with extravagant shoe collections to match their equally extravagant wardrobe.  Another bonus is the private rooftop outdoor space, which looks to be nice for entertaining on warm summer nights although access was via the master bedroom only.  A complete lack of adequate power in the kitchen and updated conveniences like parking for one and dual pane windows to block the noise and keep me warm, especially considering my only heat is from a few in wall heating units, are going to be personal turn-offs for me.

Some regard to furnishings should be kept in mind when selecting an architectural apartment such as this.  The style is pretty bold & the scale is small. You can take the era by the horns and go all out with period pieces-which is easy to do here in LA with the abundance of vintage shops or local flea markets-or you can go simple, modern and neutral and pull off a cohesive look just as well. With this particular style, you kind of need to be mindful of this & let the Art Deco architecture speak for itself. Dragging in your old oversize, lazy boy recliner and leather sectional is not going to work.

Although Roger was having work completed on the interior of the unit and the master bathroom was in very good shape the in wall heating units looked to be as old as the building and judging from a complete lack of landscaping, well, technically dirt is a form of landscaping, I just prefer some things planted in it, I have to assume that building might not be taken care of very well and is certainly not a “trophy” property for the owner.

At the end of the day, I think I’m going to pass on this property. I don’t think I’m home yet…