The sign by the front door welcomes you to the Sunset Apartments. But most people in Echo Park know this white, two-story Sunset Boulevard building as the longtime home of Herb’s key shop and the fairly new Dona Mary tienda and botanica. On Thursday, an “Open House” sign plunked on the sidewalk invited people inside to take a look at Apt. No 7. It’s downstairs, below street-level, on the right side of the hall.
Open the door to Apt. No. 7 and here is what you will find: a clean, single room, about 11-feet by 14-feet, with a small fridge, sink and a space for a soon-to-be installed stove. A Laverne & Shirley-like basement window faces a concrete wall and the parking lot of Happy Tom’s restaurant. (Well, since Apt No. 7 is partly below street-level, you are actually looking up at the bumpers and fenders of cars and trucks parked in that lot).
But wait. Where’s the bathroom to Apt. 7? It’s down the hall and shared with the tenants in Apt. No. 6, explains the person who answers the manager’s phone. Don’t be surprised, however, to bump into the owners of Herb’s and Dona Mary while you wait to take your morning shower. They also get to use the same bathroom. And it’s all yours for only $695 a month.