Privacy is Overrated

Posted by Dave Fratello on Monday, May 14th, 2007 at 6:29pm.

Manhattan Beach has more than its share of sports stars, entertainment industry figures and corporate mucky-mucks.

That's who's buying the homes at $3-$5 million.

A month-old listing, new construction in the Hill Section at 300 N. Dianthus, recognizes two things about this élite clientele:
  • they've got the money, and
  • they have little or no expectation of privacy.
Think about the lives pro athletes and corporate titans live. If it's not the trainers, coaches, fans and media hounding you day in and day out, it's the business press sniffing around.

All day, every day, you're surrounded by people demanding performance, decisions, explanations. It's exhausting. That's why you get the big bucks.


If you're used to living in a fishbowl, you will love the Master Suite at 300 N. Dianthus. Check out the photo of the front entry. That set of three arched windows next to the front door? It's your bedroom!

Your views from inside are of cars parked on the street, or stopping at the 4-way stop just outside. Soaking in the jacuzzi tub, you may hear some traffic noise, but don't worry, this part of Dianthus isn't terribly busy. It's doubtful that a person in a car driving by could see much inside, unless you have the lights on.

To be fair, this unique layout came about because the architects wanted to give you a home totally focused on entertaining others. The top level is more than 2000 square feet of living space – two dining rooms, a giant kitchen/great room combo opening onto a spacious patio, plus another living room. The spaces are well suited for large gatherings, truly lovely with very nice materials, and they all take full advantage of the location's main asset: its panoramic views to the north and east. On a clear day, you'll see downtown L.A., and perhaps your office in Century City.

Some people might view the position of this Master Bedroom as a ghastly mistake. Not only is it exposed to the world, but access to the upstairs living spaces requires everyone else on the main floor (3 other bedrooms) to pass the Master, coming and going. It's hardly a retreat.

But with a 3-car garage plus 4 bedrooms (total) on the ground floor, the layout decisions were tricky. Do you put the Master under the patio, opening onto the private, serene back yard? No, it'd be too small, because of the garage. Hence a Master Bedroom where you can see the FedEx driver drop off urgent documents, or where you can just slide open your window to ask solicitors to go away.

MBC notes that this 6BR/6BA, 5500 sq. ft. house is one of the most expensive now on offer in MB at $4.495m. The builder is asking top dollar despite a glaring error in design. Someone will buy the house, because it has many charms.

But if you're a builder and you want full price, MBC would think you don't want to make life difficult for the Master who's supposed to pay it. You might need to offer a discount.
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