2189 Sunset Plaza Dr, Los Angeles, CA
For sale: $6.75 million

It has all the makings of a party house: neon lights, a disco dance floor, casino and even an Egyptian lair. But, there have been no parties here.

“The truth about me is that I am much more conservative than I appear on the outside,” explained Richard Franklin, who bought the LA home 23 years ago. “I don’t buy into the culture we live in today, but you wouldn’t know that looking at my house.”

You also wouldn’t know that by looking at his photography. An English investment banker-turned-glamour photographer, Franklin uses the home as the backdrop for his elaborate photo shoots.


No two rooms are the same in Richard Franklin’s home. Some have serious elements; others are filled with bright colors, bubbles and smoke machines, reflecting what Franklin calls the “yin and yang of life.”

“The disco is really a serious studio,” he said. “But instead of what you would expect to find in a studio — white walls and paraphernalia — I put up lots of lights and play fun music … so I can draw from different moods.”

The home was built in 1990 and originally had two levels and a loft. After he started pursuing photography as a career, Franklin got permission to build a studio — the disco room — one level below the house. It was a tremendous engineering feat, he says, because the home is on a steep, 60-degree slope.

Without the help of an architect, he added a casino, home theater and bathroom with a huge walk-in shower on another floor. In total, the home has 6 levels even though the height limit for single-family homes in LA County is 35 feet.

“The city permitted me for more than the zoning max,” he explained. “But, I did it within the rules as much as I could. I was determined to work out of my home.”

Franklin doesn’t like shooting photos in other people’s homes because he says it limits his creativity. He also doesn’t have any assistants.

“I work alone,” he said. “I’ve taught myself things.”

That isn’t to say people haven’t tried to work with Franklin or use his house. Sean “Diddy” Combs and other celebrities have asked to host A-list parties in his studio. Reality TV show “Project Runway” also reportedly asked to house models in the home, offering $60,000 a month in rent. Franklin turned them all down.

“It’s too high of a risk to have those people in my house. I am not interested in being in the repair business. I reckon someone like Charlie Sheen could do $20,000 damage on his own,” he said.

Franklin is selling the home because, after nearly a quarter decade, he’s ready for a new canvas.

“He wanted to build a dream world, and he’s done that,” said listing agent Nathaniel Pitchon-Getzels of Berkshire Hathawy HomeServices. “He wants a place to create new art.”

Pitchon-Getzels is confident he can sell the home, but he says it will attract a unique buyer who wants this type of house and can afford it. The estimated mortgage payment is $26,385 a month, assuming 20 percent down on a 30-year-fixed loan.

“It’s too much for some people,” he said. “…But I specialize in unique properties that are a hard nut to crack for a lot of agents. I’m ready.”


Catherine Sherman, a real estate writer for Zillow Blog, covers real estate news, industry trends and home design. Read more of her work here.

About the Author

Catherine Sherman, a real estate writer for Zillow Blog, covers real estate news, industry trends and home design.

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