The 1997 comedy Romy and Michele's High School Reunion follows two best friends (Romy, Michele) who live together—fabulously—in Venice, but are afraid that their lives of clubbing in edgy, homemade clothes and watching/offering commentary on Pretty Woman will fail to impress their former classmates at their 10-year high school reunion. Apparently they never once considered just showing off photos of their snazzy, DIY-decorated, oceanfront apartment, which would have been a surefire route to massive envy. What would it it cost to rent their Venice Beach apartment today? We asked an expert on Santa Monica and Venice real estate.
The best friends share a top-floor apartment in Venice right on Ocean Front Walk. Romy and Michele don't spend a lot of screentime in their apartment, but it seems to be a loft with exposed brick and large, double-hung windows. (The unit almost looks like it might have been an office: their "bedroom" area looks better suited to a meeting room than a bedroom.) There's no on-site laundry, but the unit is pet-friendly: a scene where the two are having an epic, eat-your-feelings junk food binge prominently features a big orange cat snacking along with them on what looks to be a lump of carved ham. The building itself looks to be from at least the 1920s or 1930s, and has a turquoise fire escape. It's also right across from the beach.
It's not clear what their 1997 rent was, but with Romy working as a cashier at a Jaguar dealership and Michele unemployed, it probably wasn't a lot.
Trying to guess their 2015 rent was a bit of a challenge, says Pardee Properties Leasing Specialist Penny Muck, because most of the boardwalk-fronting buildings in Venice are either commercial space or boutique hotels. (The building used for the exterior of Romy and Michelle's apartment is actually now a suites-only, extended-stay hotel.) Muck looked at similar spaces: large, one-room apartments with oceanfront access. A comparable unit—a 600-square-foot, single-room unit with a small bathroom and exposed brick—would probably rent anywhere from $6,000 to $7,000, Muck guesses. (Romy and Michele would probably have needed to take a loan from Sandy Frink.)
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