Weekend Opens (3/19-3/20)

Posted by Dave Fratello on Saturday, March 19th, 2011 at 8:02pm.

As the inventory starts to really grow now, the week's debuts are heavy with interesting, higher-priced homes in the Tree Section.

A few of this week's listings are quite near each other, so you may find it easy to dash from one to the other, whatever the weather may be.

There's a little something extra for your weekend reading over in the new South Bay Confidential column in the Daily Breeze. This week the column follows up on how last week's calamities impacted some local open houses.

To plan out your weekend tours, try this Redfin map list of open houses – you can sort by price or sub-region of MB by clicking the title on a column. Or click here for the more traditional Beach Reporter list of opens.

As always, click on any highlighted address for more pics & details via Redfin. If you tour, tell us what you see, what you like and what you don't like in the comments here.


Hill Section

913 8th (4br/3ba, 2850 sq. ft.) is unusual – should be a capital "u" – but mostly in a good way.

Behind that flat, sort of Cape Cod-ish exterior is a sharp, surprising, contemporary home with lots of stylish wood – especially the dramatic ceiling in the main upstairs living space.

The home has an unusual Unusual triangular trapezoidal footprint, with one side of the home tracing a 45-degree angle outward into the (ample) back yard.

The master and one other bedroom are downstairs, with their own entertainment space opening onto the big lower deck, which then connects to the yard. Upstairs is the signature great room with big city views, a modern kitchen, and 2 more bedrooms.

Though these up/down layouts with the kids on a separate floor are often a deterrent, the upstairs kids' bedrooms do boast a terrific feature: a separate anteroom that makes for a spacious kids' "office" – for homework or play space – that has a door that closes it off from the main living room.

913 8th last traded for $2.040m in Nov. 2008, seems much the same now, and is offered at $2.099m to start. (Can you get a late-'08 price today?) 

913 8th is open Sat. & Sun. 2-4pm.


Sand Section

We're only discussing a couple of Sand debuts this week, small homes on Valley near downtown, but if you're drawn to any of the 3 Strand listings that seem to headline the printed list of opens, check out our "Weekend Opens" post from 2 weeks ago that gave details on those.

Someone is going to have to get to work on 905 N. Valley (2br/2ba, 1300 sq. ft.), a smallish early-60s box in original condition that needs everything.

It's being sold as-is – a trust sale without court approval needed. Think of it as a blank canvas for an somewhat ambitious small family or, perhaps, a careful flipper.  Whoever does the work should have a decent little house that's very close to downtown.

As with 817 Valley (see below), the home's downside is readily apparent – traffic can be heard whizzing by through the current single-pane windows, for instance. But unlike 817, this home has a substantially bigger lot (2270 sq. ft., about 500 sq. feet larger) that affords a back yard/patio that seems positively spacious if you expect to see a postage-stamp yard typical of Sand Section half-lots.

Lots of potential here at $849k to start.

905 N. Valley is slated to be open Sat. & Sun. 2-4pm, though weather may cancel the Sunday open.


817 N. Valley (2br/2ba, 1420 sq. ft.) is a mid-50s original that's been remodeled along the way. We wouldn't call it 21st-century in style, but it has some improvements. (Good photos slightly oversell the home.) It's certainly a big step up stylewise from nearby 905.


The home definitely has the feel of a beachy rental with some party nights in its history. You enter the downstairs space through a curtain of beads. The downstairs space offers a built in bar/kitchenette, and the bath lacks a shower, but offers a jacuzzi tub. Paging Jimmy Buffett.



817 Valley starts at $999k, and is open Sun. 1-4pm.


Tree Section

1706 Pacific (5br/4ba, 4625 sq. ft.) is a big, custom, Spanish-inspired home on an unusually big lot (7150 sq. ft.). It's said to be a home that a noted local builder built for himself.

MBC previously called this home one of our favorite offerings in the Trees when it was listed back in Summer 2009. This week, it's just one of 3 special new offerings in the Trees.

The layout of the home is definitely different, with a separate living room up front plus a medium-sized separate dining room off the kitchen, and 4 of the bedrooms set upstairs in the front somewhat far from the master.

The kitchen is spacious and much more up-to-date than the 1991 build date suggests, so we're inferring that it was redone recently. Off one part of the kitchen is a very comfy outdoor living space with a built-in barbeque and fireplace. The primary family room, also off the kitchen, feature soaring, 2-story wood-beamed ceilings and a big, heavy rock fireplace.

The garages are hidden at the rear of the long lot, accessed by a side driveway, permitting the home a more timeless frontage than the typical garage-faced home.

Bonus: The ceilings in just about every room are different and stylized, coffered in some rooms, showing off beams in others – it's not hard to see a builder's special touch in details like these.

Worth noting: The online pics show the home furnished; they may come from the 2009 listing, because the home was completely empty on Friday.

1706 Pacific was offered in 2009 for $2.495m, and starts now at $2.379m. It's open both Sat. & Sun. 1-4pm.

1801 Palm (4br/4ba, 3900 sq. ft.) is a 10-year-old corner-lot Spanish in a quiet part of the Trees, not far from 1706 Pacific, but also a world away.

The living room off the entry is dramatic, with a 2-story ceiling and formal decor; we found the adjoining dining space a bit tight. The kitchen/great room opens to a nice vine-covered patio with built-in fireplace.

The upstairs bedrooms are mostly spacious, though the thick shag rugs were a bit of a surprise – this works as a style if it's your thing, but isn't for everyone.

Bonuses: A smallish basement space that's adequate for a small media room plus wine cellar – nicely faux-painted to look a bit like a room in a castle. Also, a sunny kids' play space/office at the very front of the house, down a couple sets of stairs, is a great hideaway.

1801 Palm starts at $2.299m and is open Sun. 1-4pm.

616 17th (5br/4ba, 3650 sq. ft.) is on one of the great, private blocks of the Martyrs area. That location, plus the larger lot (6125 sq. ft.), are privileges that figure prominently in the bottom line: the home starts at $2.775m, nearly a half million more than each of the other new Tree Section offerings discussed above – even though the home itself is somewhat smaller.

They call the style of the home "French Country," the result of a recent (2004) remodel that shows a lot of dedication to style, detail and a love of woods.

There are lots of charming living spaces downstairs; the main living room has soaring ceilings that seem possible only because the remodel pushed the upstairs bedrooms toward the front. Connections to the sunny back patio and yard off the living areas are an extra draw.

616 17th starts at $2.775m, and is open Sat. & Sun. 1-4pm.

1908 Elm (4br/3ba, 3500 sq. ft.) is a mid-80s Tudor house that flopped on the market last year, but has seen some recent updates to make it salable this year.

The layout and flow are pretty traditional – the sunken living room is an artifact of the home's time. The master is quite large, with the bath partly updated.

After an effort to sell last year pre-remodel, 1908 Elm starts this year at $1.595m, and is open Sat. & Sun. 1-5pm.
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