Sunday Opens (2/23/14)

By Dave Fratello | February 23rd, 2014

Here's hoping you got away for Ski Week, but it's coming to a close now.

Ski Week, for the uninitiated, is a week when MB schools close down voluntarily so that MB'ers can dash off to Mammoth, or Sun Valley, etc. Better to push everyone's vacations into one week than to endure sporadic rushes of multi-day absences as families took off anyway – or so goes the thinking at the school district, where student absences cost money.

Ski Week always comes soon after the Super Bowl has kicked off the Spring market in MB, but it can trigger a little pause in inventory. We're aware of new and upcoming listings that have intentionally skipped this past week because, don't you know, "everyone is away."

Still, we have 5 new listings now to review, 37 actives citywide, and more to come soon.

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

222 Larsson (3br/3ba, 2450 sq. ft.) has an unusual layout and subpar location, to be sure, but looks better now than it did last year when they asked way too much money – as much as $1.699M.

The new start at $1.500M for this much square footage, in Spring 2014, in the Hill Section, is going to get people saying, "Oh, really? Maybe."

If you know the little pockets of Anderson and Larsson, there are lots of skinny lots like this one at 222 Larsson. The whole front is taken up, by necessity, by the garage, so to enter you have to walk halfway down the side of the building. The first floor has 2br separated by a foyer and featuring some unusual curves to the hallway. In the back on that first level is a living room opening to a little yard/patio area – very high ceilings make it an open, airy, bright space.

Head up to the second level via one of 3 staircases – one for the master in front, one of two for the kitchen and dining areas toward the back. It feels a bit zig-zaggy.

The master bath and kitchen are recognizably pretty original (1992 build), though the kitchen benefits from some newer flooring and cabinet hardware that gives it a more updated feel. Similarly, they've restained the wood flooring in other parts of the home to pull it out of the 90s. These were all good steps to give this one a fighting chance such as it did not have last year. (You might recall the gimmick they ran last year, cutting the price $12.00 to $1,699,888, in an apparent play for good luck. But no.)

222 Larsson starts at $1.500M and is open Sun. 1-4pm.

1046 1st (4br/4ba, 3400 sq. ft.) is a hidden-away, unusual, large and bright TH in a part of the Hill Section where you might, or might never, have trod before.

There's substantial outdoor space – what's that, a TH with a yard? – enough for a patio surrounded by hedges and plants and a hot tub. (What's that? It's not in the listing pics?)

All 4br are downstairs – and pretty large – and the living spaces are up. Ordinarily the upside-down layout is reserved for homes with views, but here it's just to capture the light. The layout flows in what feels almost like a circular fashion around a central stairwell.

Though this one sports a 1991 build date, they've given it some updates like newer plank flooring. The kitchen is fine but not 21st century. (And they did not carry that newer flooring into the kitchen, leaving the original light maple.)

1046 1st begins at $1.879M and is open Sun. 1-4pm.

Sand Section

715 Bayview (3br/3ba, 1850 sq. ft.) is a 2-story 60s original with some updates and some water views over the roof to the west. (Note: To promote recycling, this listing is using photos from the 2011 sale. When you arrive now, you'll see a different roof line to the west, as the home there is being reconstructed – but similar views remain over the soon-to-be-new roof.)

The first floor has a bedroom and big multipurpose room. Upstairs there are 2 more br and the main living areas. The alley kitchen has some updates that probably date to the early 2000s. 

The original has been nicely brought up over the years, though it doesn't look much different now than it did in 2011. (In reality or in the photos.) There's no denying that a South End location like this has only grown in desirability over time, and Bayview's quiet, one block off Manhattan Ave.

715 Bayview was a nice get in the buyers' market of 2011 at $1.500M. It starts now at $2.150M and is open Sun. 2-4pm.

East MB

1847 8th St. (4br/2ba, 2070 sq. ft.) offers much more living space than you might expect in a cottage that's been remodeled for sale – that's over 2000 sq. ft. And this one's got a style that's completely of the current moment.

("Beach Plantation" is what they call it, and, yes, that's become the default name in Manhattan Beach for a very pleasing home style, if not a concept with a great history. Really, what's good about a plantation?)

It's very easy to see all they've done right here. The front kitchen/great room looks wide open, bright and beachy, with white marble countertops and stainless appliances.  The wide-plank wood flooring is soft in tone and attractive. ("Driftwood style," they call it – that's new.)

Pushing back, they added quite a bit of space to what must have been a 2br/1ba 1950s original, adding a second family room in back and bringing the bedroom count to 4. The master isn't huge, but it does have a nice bath and walk-in closet. If the bedrooms are a bit vanilla, with beige carpeting, well, they were just trying to make this whole home easy to digest. The garage attaches to the home in back and is accessed along the side of the house. A very big, grassy backyard offers families what they would really like to see on one of these 7500 sq. ft. lots. Play ball!

And for another plus, they got permits for all the work. Hoo-rah. If you've ever been through a transaction where work was done without permits, you know what a hassle the lack of permits can become. We'd almost go off on a rant here, but how about we stop short and just say: People, please get permits. That includes you, flippers. Save everyone the strain down the line.

On the slight downside, we did hear someone grouse about the appliances not being the highest-end. And we note that the listing calls the marble "Carrera," which is a Porsche, instead of "Carrara," which is a city (and a marble), but that doesn't change what it is.

There are so many green lights, you've got to ask: What about that location?

Your map does not deceive you. This home is just 3 doors off of Aviation, and walkable to very little. (Well, there is a neighborhood park a couple blocks down 8th.) In our visit, Aviation noise seemed much less than expected. Here, 8th St. slopes down from Aviation and the home is buffeted by 2 larger homes to the east. You have to check this yourself, but location was less of a negative than we had feared.

1847 8th St. starts at $1.550M and is open Sun. 1-4pm.

1351 11th (4br/3ba, 2300 sq. ft.) is an expanded 50s original that's not so very different in layout from 1847 8th, but nowhere near as splashy and updated, and without the big lot and yard. (A stone patio with sunken hot tub is the main outdoor space, along with a small side yard.)

You have a front living room and dining room, and more of an alley kitchen. There are 2br toward the front and 2 more in the far back past a second living/family room, which feels very large, thanks, in part, to the high, arched ceilings.

More recycling: Several listing photos come from a (failed) 2009 listing – either that, or literally nothing has moved, even the stuff on the kitchen counters, in 5 years.

Pricing note: This one listed in 2005, during the rapid expansion stage of the previous bubble, at $1.299M and was bid up quickly to its sale price of $1.405M.

1351 11th starts now at $1.500M and is open Sun. 1-4pm.

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