Stage Your Own Boogie Nights in This 'American Hustle'-Worthy Home

Photographer Richard Franklin has created this epic Hollywood pleasure palace in the Hollywood Hills for use as his own private studio, but now he’s ready to move on.

Photo by John Russell, courtesy of Nathaniel Pitchon-Getzels, Berkshire Hathaway Homeservices This hand-carved pavilion, which Franklin believes is of Indian origin, is a perfect set for the photographer's glamour photos, and also provides intimacy in a room that had 30-foot ceilings.

High over Sunset Plaza towers one of L.A.’s most provocative bachelor pads, a house that many people would consider to be the epitome of a certain kind of Hollywood highlife. Glamour/fine art photographer Richard Franklin has used the home as his own private fantasy studio for the past 23 years, and his distinctively decorated rooms have become legendary. But he’s finally reached a point where he’s willing to let it all go – to whomever is willing to pay the $6.75 million asking price.

Described as a cross between the Madonna Inn and Studio 54, the 6,101-square-foot home has a number of elaborate theme rooms that include a two-story disco with strobe lights; a cave room with stalactites on the ceiling, tiger stripes on the floor and a hot tub in the middle; a casino room with upholstered game tables; an Egyptian bedroom with giant hieroglyphics painted on the walls; a home theater with circular bed seating and an 18-by-8-foot screen; and a fully-equipped gym with “inspirational” murals of girls in brief workout attire. One might expect Fabio, who lived there for a time, to pop around the corner at any moment.

Photo by John Russell, courtesy of Nathaniel Pitchon-Getzels, Berkshire Hathaway Homeservices Why yes, that's a circular bed with a fur cover, adjacent to a mirrored wall, on a platform in the two-story disco.

There are many truly surprising aspects of this house, but one of the most outstanding is the fact that it has never been rented out for lavish parties, ala the Playboy Mansion. With it's sensual murals and lighting, you'd think it would be a natural. Although the likes of Russell Simmons and Sean “Diddy” Combs have thrown elaborate parties on the premises, the music industry icons are personal friends of the owner, who never felt the need to make his home party central. He has therefore kept it in immaculate, albeit unique, condition.

Another surprising aspect of the home is its stunning, unparalleled views of Los Angeles and beyond to Catalina Island. What catches you off guard about the sweeping vistas is that Franklin has covered many of them up, for the sake of his photo shoots. His goal was to control and minimize all incoming light. But there are plenty of decks on the home’s five-plus levels where guests can enjoy the outside views.

Franklin has always intended the home to be a reflection of his personal esthetic. Most of the walls that are not adorned with his own photos of colorful, curvaceous women are painted with murals of colorful, curvaceous women. He's quick to point out that all are dressed -- at least a little. He's not fond of nudes. Still, a sale of the property as is, with all that pulchritude jutting out,  could be a bit tricky. However, it just might appeal to an ex-NBA star, a rapper or a recording industry executive. It’s rumored that several of these types have already toured the property.

After looking at the photos of his pied a terre, you can’t help but wonder about the the man behind this unique environment. Franklin's background is as surprising as his decor. He was born and raised in London, in the house of Alexander Fleming, the Nobel Prize winning biologist who is credited with discovering penicillin. His aunt, Rosalind Franklin, was one of the discoverers of DNA, and his brother, Martin Franklin, is the founder and Executive Chairman of Jarden Corporation, a Fortune 500 consumer products company. His father? He was knighted, immigrated to the U.S., made quite a reputation on Wall Street, then settled down on ultra-exclusive Jumby Bay, Antigua, with neighbors like Ken Follett and the family behind Dolce & Gabbana.

“I suppose I would be considered the black sheep of the family,” Franklin laughs, adding that he’s selling because he feels it’s time to move on to the next stage of his life. He’s fostering a 7-year-old boy, and says, “He is my world. Everything else has dwindled.” Franklin plans to open his own gallery, and is looking for a house with a “radically different style.”

It will be interesting to see if the new owners honor Franklin’s personal vision, or refurbish and make the house their own. We’ll keep you posted. In the meantime, get additional information from listing agent Nathan Pitchon-Getzels' Berkshire Hathaway Homeservices site.


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