Saturday Opens (4/19/14)

By Dave Fratello | April 18th, 2014

First, we'll give you tomorrow's news today: Dave's listing has been selected as this Sunday's LA Times "Home of the Week." Here's a link to the post online right now.

We're very proud of the distinction that our clients have earned for their custom-designed home.

As you go through our reviews of new open houses below, be sure to try our new "Open All Images" feature within listings, to see all photos at once.

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

Tree Section

742 31st (5br/4ba, 3600 sq. ft.) is a big and somewhat updated home in a super location on treasured 31st St.

There's an open feeling to the bright common areas, opening to a nice, sunny little yard in back. Downstairs, the 5th "bedroom" is currently set up as a shared office, opening via double doors to the common areas.

The master bath is the most up-to-date room in the house, modern and impressive. Some of the other areas have more cosmetic updates, but still bear signs of the early-90s construction.

For those waiting to crack 31st Street, it's a fresh new option. The $2.799M start price matches up with nearby 720 31st, whose layout and style are more unconventional. A recent sale on the block at larger 755 31st (4br/5ba, 4055 sq. ft.) came in at $2.700M off-market. 

742 31st starts at $2.799M and is open Sat. 2-4pm.

588 Rosecrans (4br/4ba, 2175 sq. ft.) is impossible to predict or prepare for. Yes, it's "Tuscan inspired" and completely custom, as promised in the listing.

We've seen many variations on the Rosecrans skinny/deep-lot home, and this one stands alone. 

For one thing, it's a bigger lot (4325 sq. ft.) than you'll often find along Rosecrans.

The careful, loving reach to make something different on this site could touch you right away. 

It's impressive the way that the first-floor living space opens out to a paved front patio via double (wood) doors, integrating the living room with that outdoor space. It's a bit bold to incorporate a front yard on Rosecrans into the home this way, but it works.

The rustic details continue throughout the first floor, then you open out to a very spacious back patio with seating area and a hot tub. In all, the feeling is of a wide-open, flowing space that invites you outside – front or back.

Officially there are 4br, but the distribution must be noted. One is a good-sized first floor bedroom in the main house. Upstairs with the master is a quite small bedroom that might serve best as a nursery or office. The fourth bedroom is a "guest house" above the large 2-car garage.

They're starting this one at $1.549M.

Before last year, there had been exactly one sale over $1.3M on Rosecrans. But that apparent upper limit was smashed by ultra Euro modern 610 Rosecrans ($1.635M) in July. Three other sales also breached $1.3M: 738 Rosecrans ($1.365M), 646 Rosecrans ($1.350M) and 558 Rosecrans ($1.325M), and the off-market sale of 636 Rosecrans came close at $1.270M.

588 Rosecrans has a lot that's nearly 20% bigger (at 4325 sq. ft.) than most of those comps, and with land being such an integral part of value in MB, you can see why they may push higher than most past sales.

588 Rosecrans starts at $1.549M and is open Sat. 1-4pm.

Sand Section

537 21st (3br/2ba, 1650 sq. ft.) is an extremely impressive, darling re-do of a 1940s original cottage that was forlorn and tempting local bulldozers when it last sold in 2009.

These owners have given the home new life with a complete remodel that emphasizes a throwback, country-type "rustic beach cottage" style, but sparkles with modern amenities. They even set up part of the back side yard as a chicken coop. (Even our Napa farmhouse lacks chickens.)

So you have wide-plank flooring, (faux) brick on some exterior and interior walls, a stylish new/old mantel around the original brick fireplace, a Dutch door and tons of sweet little details, like the weather vane atop the roof and the old wooden mailbox. It's inspired. 

In terms of layout, the home is street-to-alley and the back part has 2 levels. So you have 1br on the main level just past the common areas, then a step-down to a large bedroom with French doors out to the side yard (and the chickens), then the master up and up on its own on the second floor. The master opens to a large deck which can also be accessed via stairs from the side yard.

Disclosure: Dave has toured this property with clients.

537 21st starts at $2.100M and is open Sat. 1-4pm.

325 1st (3br/4ba, 2075 sq. ft.) is a 1960s original 3-floor SFR that got a major reworking in 2005, down to the studs.

So now you can call it a fairly modern 1/2 lot SFR, with a pleasing Cape Cod type style, and decent location in the South End, although 1st St. is an artery that draws traffic going to the nearby school and heading up toward Sepulveda.

Layout here is typical of a half-lot SFR or TH, with a smallish bedroom on the first level along with the surprisingly spacious 2-car garage. On the midlevel, there's the master and a second bedroom plus laundry. The master is placed in back to avoid traffic noise from 1st St., we'd imagine. Upstairs are the common areas, including a very nice newer kitchen and a small deck.

Interestingly, though very pleasant, this one has had a hard time on the market in the past. Listing for $1.849M in late 2008 (a very difficult time), the home lingered for 300 DOM and dropped into the mid 1.5's before quitting. Later listings in 2011 and 2012 in the mid-1.5's also flopped. But it finally sold off-market in May 2012 for $1.525M.

325 1st emerges this time in a brighter market, and starts at $1.825M. It is open Sat. 1-4pm.

333 8th (1br/1ba, 765 sq. ft.) is tiny, made of brick, dated though repainted, and situated in a prime location on a great flat walkstreet near downtown and the beach.


Its half lot is "landlocked," meaning no parking and very sharp limits on future development on site. Yes, you can walk from here to anywhere you'd want to be. But you can't stash a car or much stuff. There are surfer studio apartments in El Porto that offer more.

Still, this quirky, custom brick cottage has an appeal of its own. There are few, if any, comparable properties in the Sand Section or in all of Manhattan Beach. If you just want a place for weekends at the beach, or to send guests or relatives, a little place like this might work.

Some would call this a teardown, or expect it to be joined with the back half lot with alley access, but the future here is not clear. The back half has no plan to sell or merge. On this site, you would have to navigate the complexities of redevelopment. Likely you cannot build much more than you find on site now, due to the lack of garage or parking.

There's a recent precedent or two. Landlocked 124 17th (2br/1ba, 880 sq. ft.) is the most recent - that one was very nicely redone, had ocean views and a fun location, with a slightly bigger lot (1500 sq. ft.), and it went for $1.540M. Closer to this property, though also much closer to Valley Drive than to downtown, 533 5th (2br/1ba, 630 sq. ft.) is also landlocked on a flat walkstreet and it sold for $725K in Summer 2012. It later underwent a major rebuild, though with very strict size limitations from the city.

333 8th starts at $1.200M and is open Sat. 1-4pm.

East MB

22 Chatham (4br/3ba, 2950 sq. ft.) is an impressively redone SFR in the Village with a private, grassy backyard.

It's hard to convert one of these Village SFRs so completely as to erase all vestiges of 1980s tract-home design, but they've made a very impressive stride in that direction. Stone ornamentation and smooth stucco help bring a European (Tuscan) flavor, a rustic front door sets a mood, and brick and hardwood flooring around the first floor continue with a country Italian-farmhouse type of theme.

Some parts of the home still remind you of its true lineage, including the kitchen's green marble countertops and the clean, but not-updated master bath.

This is a lot of space in a quiet, private location where it's easy to hide.

22 Chatham starts at $2.365M and is open Sat. 1-4pm.

1560 10th (4br/3ba, 2400 sq. ft.) emerged last June and sold in August 2013 for $1.355M. It's back now. We did not visit Friday. What follows is our review from last year:

This home is really different – as button-cute in person as you see in the pics and, while smallish, just enough space, with a surprisingly good-sized yard.

The fairly large L-shaped living spaces downstairs offer two living room areas and a dining space. Also on the first floor, there's an open kitchen (clean but not up to date) and a 4th bedroom/office opening to the yard.

All 3 additional bedrooms are upstairs. There are lots of sharp peaks to the roof and ceilings (you see the protruding dormers) that give the home a quaint and classic feel. The kids' rooms are of good size, and both feature built-in lofts accessed by a built-in ladder.

The master has windows on 3 sides, including substantial views through picture windows to the north. The master bath is one of the smallest, fully functional master baths we've seen, and bright thanks in part to an unusual choice: glass french doors into the bath. (See the pic here.) You can see into the bath at any time from the room. So there's that. The master also hosts the laundry in a closet.

The lot size here raises the first major question: it's 3700 sq. ft. That's almost half of a "normal" big East MB lot, and notably less than a more typical 5000-ish lot you might find.

And we weren't quite prepared for no garage. The one-car original garage has been converted (informally we'd guess) to play space. Even if you un-converted it, that's a tiny garage.

The yard is unthinkably large for a good-size home on such a small lot. It puts to shame the postage stamps and narrow strips you see on a typical Tree Section house. It's fully sunny now of an afternoon with Summer at hand, but looks like it would be largely sunny for several months of the year, despite its position on the northern side of the house. (Newly planted grass makes that tough to assess.) There's also a large, newer deck.

1560 10th starts at $1.479M and is open Sat. 1-4pm.

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