Those who are lucky enough to be invited to the parties and brunches hosted at Eric and Frank’s Pico-Union home are greeted by wide open doors. A whole front wall of the house—or what used to be a wall—was replaced with double doors that connect the wide front porch to the living room inside.
The easy flow between the interior and the exterior makes the space seem large and inviting—kind of the opposite of the under-600-square-foot condo that the couple had been renting in Hollywood.
“He got tired of living in a small space,” Frank says of Eric, so they started looking around. After a few false starts and a lot of bids that failed to go any further, they heard that they’d gotten this roughly 2,000-square-foot, two-story house in Pico-Union. Frank was sure it was a mistake—they were fourth in a line of bidders—but that just made the victory that much sweeter.
The neighborhood and especially the couple’s street has improved a lot since the 1990s, an era when the area’s drug and gang troubles were drawing cops to their block frequently, neighbors who lived through it have told Eric and Frank.
But Frank and Eric say they’ve never felt unsafe in their neighborhood; one of the first things they did to the 116-year-old house was take all the bars off the windows. “The neighborhood is hardworking people. Kids still play on the street…It really reminds me of how I grew up,” says Frank.
The house’s front and backyard get a lot of use. The front yard’s roses decorate the rooms of the house regularly, while guavas from the tree are destined to become a big batch of flavorful jam. The backyard hosts the couple’s friends for meals and get-togethers as often as once a week during the summer.
Both areas have undergone transformations since Eric and Frank bought the house three years ago; having space for gardening was really important for Eric, who’s quick to admit he’s a little plant obsessed. “I sit all day long, because I’m a therapist…when I’m off, I don’t want to sit. I’m always in the garden.”