Saturday Opens (2/2)

By Dave Fratello | February 2nd, 2013
Welcome to Super Bowl weekend, and the promise of a real estate Spring ahead of us.

We here at MBC want to see a few things out of the Spring, and one is for all our readers to be just a little healthier, more conscious and more relaxed than before.

We were a bit alarmed to hear that the South Bay, despite general affluence and healthier lifestyles, also has: "unusually high levels of anger, worry and stress – on par with Post-Hurricane Katrina New Orleans and Detroit, MI, during the recession."

Yikes. That alarm bell is being sounded by the Blue Zones Project, and they'd like us all to tone it down a little and live longer.

Fortunately, the newest lifestyle pitch from Blue Zones, Wine @ 5, is a pretty easy tenet to promote and adopt. So we're helping.

They say adults ought to look for a friend and a glass of wine around 5pm each day, to connect socially, "downshift" and "belong." The medical benefits of a little wine are a nice bonus.

The Prize: Barsha Gift Basket
Will you? We've got a terrific gift basket to dangle as an incentive.

If you'll take the Blue Zones pledge (link offsite) during the month of February, you'll be automatically entered to win this awesome gift basket from the local wine (and so much more) shop, Barsha.

The "pledge" is low-stress. There are 9 principles, which include "move naturally," "downshift," take a "plant slant" in your diet, and put "loved ones first." (There's no Xenu hidden in the fine print.)

So take the pledge, pay a little attention to yourself for a change, and maybe get a sweet prize out of the deal, too. (We'll randomly draw a winner March 1 from among MB residents who take the pledge in February.)

The gift basket is valued at $200 and is chock full of goodies from Barsha, including wine, coffee, tea and chocolates, all hand-selected from a shop that is, itself, entirely hand-selected. If you haven't visited Barsha yet, do – it's a stunning new community resource. Fine wines are one thing, but these are all limited production wines, micro-distillery liquors you haven't seen, ultra-micro-brews, along with artisan honeys, olive oils and a range of other things.

Heck, drop in at 5pm (or so) for wine tasting and splendid cheeses at their communal tables. What a spot.

And back to real estate...

Just 2 new listings this weekend, before the (expected) flood starts after they declare an NFL champion some time Sunday. (Niners.)

To plan your open-house tours for this week, use MB Confidential's online list of Manhattan Beach open houses (it's mobile-friendly!).

Hill Section

624 6th (4br/4ba, 3450 sq. ft.) is the second of 2 Craftsman-style homes to pop up in the MB Hill Section this year. We took note of the odd coincidence in "Tracking Two Craftsmen" just a couple of weeks ago.

One of the properties in that story has sold already, that being 1031 Duncan (4br/4ba, 4200 sq. ft.), listed at $2.799M, now in escrow.

So now 624 6th occupies the field nearly alone. Indeed, there's only one other active Hill Section listing as we write.

Friday was our first chance to tour 624 6th, and we were duly impressed. The style is a loving nod to Craftsman style, though we can't vouch for how authentic it may be, or not. What you get is a very warm, comfortable, natural vibe, where wood is featured, not hidden behind paint, and that's a nice change. The home is only 6-7 years old, but shows new.

The views here are authentic. The upside-down layout gives those top-floor living spaces some very nice views of the Sand Section below, the ocean and PV peninsula. Yes, the home is just a few doors up off of Ardmore, but it's more than enough to take advantage of the upslope of the hill, see over all the neighbors and get a terrific sense of space.

Bonus #1: They dug a basement for a nice media room. There are also substantial extra storage closets and a bath downstairs.

The Outdoor Room within the Living Room
Bonus #2: Maybe our favorite feature of the house, on the top level, is the "outdoor room" fully integrated into the living spaces. Slide the doors closed, and it's an enclosed patio, but on 300 days out of the year, you pull those doors open and you have a real treat of a space that is both "in" and "out," with a fireplace for the cooler days. Give us more of these!

Mrs. MBC's architectural note: The "outdoor room" is probably inspired by the "sleeping porch," a turn-of-last-century home design innovation that's found, for instance, in the landmark Gamble House.

Though this home qualifies as a 4br due to the closet in an upstairs room – a room that really works more as an office/study – it really lives like a 3br, with 2br downstairs sharing a jack-and-jill bath and the master with its own. An extra room on the entry level serves as an office (2nd office?) opening out to a small deck and the backyard, such as it is.

As Hill Section houses go, this home is not large, and more notably, it's got a small lot. The lot's 4200 sq. ft., affording really just a little smidge of outdoor space in back. Think of it as a very big lot for the (nearby) Sand Section, but perhaps 70% of a standard Hill Section lot. Then again, not everyone wants the space or the upkeep that comes with a yard – this presents an interesting choice.

Locationwise, one plus that may be under-appreciated is the close walk to town, elementary school and even the beach. Remember that Blue Zones pledge to "move naturally?" This helps.

Worth noting: The one older house to the west that conceivably might build up some day and block views has a lot that goes all the way down to Ardmore, steeply down the hill, thus limiting the heights a new structure could reach – maybe limiting those heights a great deal. (No time here for a treatise on building height restrictions.) This looks like promising view insurance, but check it out carefully.

624 6th sold new in May 2007 for $3.400M, and starts now at $3.699M. ("Starts" by one definition... it ran as a FSBO for parts of the last several weeks, but now has a local agent.)

624 6th is open Sat. 2-4pm.

East MB

1125 3rd (4br/4ba, 3900 sq. ft.) is a newer (2005), custom-built home built on a steep hillside, one of its obvious and defining features.

Suffice to say it's an unusual home, but that they've done a lot to try to echo a conventional home despite the quirks – like countless stairs inside and out that move you into the home, around the home, and among the various tiers of outdoor spaces.

There's a lot of space on the main (entry) level. We counted 2 formal living rooms in addition to the big, central, kitchen/great room combo with a formal dining area carved out of one portion of that big room. A large guest suite fills out that main floor. The common spaces all get pretty nice city and treetop views from picture windows.

The master suite and additional bedrooms are upstairs, each connecting, in their own ways, to garden-like spaces at the front and back of the home. The master also sports a bonus sunroom/patio opening to the garden – a nice retreat.

Speaking of those outdoor areas, in the back, northern corner of the lot, they've added a big tiled patio space that gets forever views toward the north and east. It'd take a little commitment to walk out there for dinner or entertaining from the main floor, but it's quite a view to take in.

This home was offered on and off over nearly 7 months of 2012, at prices ranging from $2.1M down to $1.999M, without success. It was underexposed to the market and, frankly, underdressed, looking very spare. Newly listed, staged and repriced at $1.750M, this year it has a chance.

It reminds us, not at all incidentally, of 1042 2nd, which failed in a long and overpriced listing last year, only to return this year and draw multiple bids in a quick sale. That one also came out of the gates this year at $1.750M, after trying for $2M-$2.1M last year. Is $1.750M a lucky number?

1125 3rd starts at $1.750M and is open Sat. 1-4pm.

Tree Section

We first mentioned 1728 Walnut (5br/5ba, 3900 sq. ft.) last week, noting the extra+extra size of this pre-ZORP 1990 build.

Unlike some pre-ZORP houses in the Tree Section that have teeny yards, this one has a very good, open yard.

The extra square footage comes from a third story built into the back of this downsloping lot. That's where there's a second family room and extra bedroom.

The remaining 4br are all upstairs (is it the 3rd floor?) in a conventional setup – 2 share a bath, one is a suite, plus the master. Everything's large, as you'd expect.

Nothing about the home is of the 21st century. The exterior look and interior layout & finishes have lots of dated and bygone features, and the house creaks just a bit in demanding a refresher. 

This is a home for a big family with a need for "big, right now," and it would help if they had some patience (and dough) to retool the place before moving in.

1728 Walnut is at $2.249M and is open Sat & Sun. 1-4pm.

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