Specific Housing Search in LA
March 14, 2013 1:06 PM   Subscribe

Moving in a few months within LA and need a place where music practice is tolerated - tips? neighborhoods?

We're looking for specific advice on neighborhoods, searching, etc. in Los Angeles proper. I've done the apartment search in LA before, so no need for general tips like calling phone numbers on buildings. I have an okay sense of which areas are not nice.

Where would you move if you had these requirements?

- Tolerates musical instrument practice (this is the hard one and the most important! I realize this may be hard to judge before moving in, but maybe you have tips?)
- Between, say, Culver City and the 110, and not in West Hollywood or further north
- Not outrageously expensive
- At least 1 bed/bath
- Parking for 1+ cars
- Allows pets (optional)

Please feel free to chime in if you have more general advice aside from the music issue. Thanks!
posted by Red Desk to Home & Garden (13 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
Your very best bet for music is probably getting a house (rather than an apartment with shared walls). You could try to find other musicians - or friends who don't mind your practice - to share a freestanding house with.

For musical instrument practice, it also really depends what instrument it is, how good you are, and what time of day you're planning to practice - someone who is really bad at playing the trumpet at 10pm is going to be a problem most places; someone who is really good at playing a quieter instrument in the middle of the day is going to be way okay almost anywhere.
posted by insectosaurus at 1:27 PM on March 14, 2013

Best answer: What kind of music? If you're not renting house in a kind of run-down neighborhood, band practice is a bad idea and there are plenty of rehearsal spaces in LA. If you really must have band practice at your place, make sure there's a serviceable basement and do some sound-proofing. Don't have band practice in an apartment, for the love of god. I play music. I have been in bands. I fucking hate people who have band practice in their tiny second floor studio apartment.

If you're just talking about, say, piano practice or whatever, I don't think it's a problem unless you're renting from some giant apartment complex that has a ton of rules or your landlord is a weirdo. Mention it to you prospective landlord, but I doubt anyone is going to say, "Oh, I don't rent to jazz flautists!" I filled out a ton of lease applications saying that I own a violin and a guitar, and no one ever asked me about that. Just be considerate about when you practice.

Between Culver City and the 110 is . . . Mid City, West Adams, and Koreatown. Maybe the Miracle Mile if you go further north. I have a pretty blase attitude about living in the ghetto, but if you don't, I wouldn't live in the first three I mentioned. Maybe look just north of the 10 between La Brea and La Cienega. I think of Miracle Mile being north of Olympic and between La Brea and La Cienega (I could be wrong), and it's a really nice part of town but I don't you'd find a one bedroom for less than $1,400/month.

If you're down with living in Koreatown, a friend of mine has a cute studio around Wilton and Wilshire for $850. It seems like a pretty nice area, and I'm sure you could find a one bedroom for less than an arm and a leg, but probably not less than $1,100/month.

Re: Pets - If you have a cat or a smaller dog, you should be fine. You might get turned down for a few places, but most apartments in LA will, with some nudging, accept a cat or small dog. If you have a big dog, you're kind of stuck renting from individuals or paying out the nose. I have a German Shepherd, and I'm renting from a homeowner. It is what it is. The size of the dog has nothing to do with noise or damage, but I digress . . .
posted by ablazingsaddle at 1:29 PM on March 14, 2013 [1 favorite]

I think you should plan on NOT practicing music at home, and rent a practice room for that.

Your plan will not work. I can not think of one apartment or type of building I have lived in where this would be tolerated in Los Angeles.

LA is warm, so walls and windows are not constructed weather-proofed, and hence sound-proofed, sufficiently to block out people's conversations and TV's. So band practice is out of the question.

Furthermore, many many buildings are constructed on courtyards or shared balconies, very communal living. Sound carries across common areas like courtyards and alleyways. Your neighbors in your building will hate you. Your neighbors in adjoining buildings will hate you.

Budget for rehearsal space.
posted by jbenben at 1:35 PM on March 14, 2013 [2 favorites]

Your plan will not work. I can not think of one apartment or type of building I have lived in where this would be tolerated in Los Angeles.

There's an apartment complex in my neighborhood that has a bunch of music students (?) who play their beautiful music with their windows open. It's fine. Unless the opera singer is still going at 11 PM, I don't think anyone minds.

But yeah, no band practice in an apartment.
posted by ablazingsaddle at 1:37 PM on March 14, 2013

Best answer: If you're willing to look east of the 110, what about Unincorporated East LA? I live in City Terrace, enjoy it quite a bit, and all in all it seems to be a very permissive neighborhood about things like noise during reasonable hours.

It's also affordable, parking is good (and depending on what you get you may have garage/driveway parking), and there seem to be a lot of different types of spaces available.

When you say "at least 1 bed/bath", do you mean that you're looking for a definite 1 bedroom apartment as opposed to a studio, or would you be interested in renting something larger? It seems to me that if you could get a whole house to yourself, that would probably solve your music issues.
posted by Sara C. at 1:43 PM on March 14, 2013

I'm not a musician but I spent a long time living with them.

We had successful living situations both in Historic Filipinotown (Echo Park's slightly seedy but pretty awesome cousin to the SW) and in the western part of Echo Park (Sunset and Coronado-ish, north of Sunset). Both were freestanding houses and both times the neighbors were either indifferent or blasting loud music of their own. If you venture a little ways from the Sunset/Alvarado nucleus of the neighborhood, rents go down and parking becomes much better. Pets are generally a non issue.

Also, rehearsal space in LA tends to be more affordable than other cities, and lots of bands are willing to share to further offset costs.
posted by justjess at 1:53 PM on March 14, 2013

So, OP, if you come back to this thread:

1. What kind of music are we talking about here?
2. Why do you want to live between Culver City and the 110? Do you have a job/family/school commute to worry about, or does that just seem like a good spot?
posted by ablazingsaddle at 2:15 PM on March 14, 2013 [1 favorite]

Can you quantify for us what "not outrageously expensive" means to you? Ballpark figure?
posted by nacho fries at 2:35 PM on March 14, 2013

I live in downtown and my loft building is surrounded by practice rooms in industrial buildings. That's really what most bands go for. If you want to practice the drums at midnight, you should be looking at places away from other people. In my neighborhood, rent is close to $1.00 a square foot.
posted by Ideefixe at 3:43 PM on March 14, 2013

Ideefixe is correct, and I was wrong about all apartments in LA not being exactly suitable for practicing music.

Downtown is the correct answer. My friends in bands do live/work in their spaces their vary happily!

I guess I was thrown off by the mention of Culver City, which really is not suitable.

Downtown. Yep!
posted by jbenben at 4:09 PM on March 14, 2013

Response by poster: To clarify - I'm not talking about a rock band at all. We play woodwinds and brass. We're trained musicians and one of us is pursuing a graduate degree in an instrument, so no cat-yowl music or anything. Renting rehearsal space, as some suggested, is not an option for practical/financial/time reasons, and we're talking individual practice anyway.

I practice regularly in my current apartment and have never had any complaints (only compliments :). I did not tell the landlord before moving in and it was not in my lease, and it's never been an issue.

ablazingsaddle, thanks for the encouragement. We play classical music. The Culver City/110 area is because we go to school within those bounds and one of us needs to be close-ish to school. We're thinking our budget is up to $1800 if it's really good, and it needs to be at least a 1 bed/bath, because a studio will probably be too small/we need our space.

Thanks for the tips so far!
posted by Red Desk at 4:28 PM on March 14, 2013

I think the Brewery Art Colony has a building dedicated to allowing music. It's basically where the 5, 10, and 110 meet, more or less.
posted by Vaike at 5:48 PM on March 14, 2013

I think you can definitely find a place in the Miracle Mile/Mid City area for less than $1,800/month.

It's a good idea to at least mention that you're musicians, though.
posted by ablazingsaddle at 6:51 AM on March 15, 2013

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