Sunday Opens (3/11)

By Dave Fratello | March 11th, 2012
Here's hoping you enjoyed our video tour of 636 8th or even saw the place Saturday. Now here's a look at the homes debuting to the market, or at least for public viewing, on Sunday.

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 

If you can find a luckier address than 711 11th St. on the market today, grab it.

Beyond that numerological plus, this big (5br/6ba, 4400 sq. ft.) house enjoys nice ocean peeks, big blue sky and treetop views and great walkability to downtown and the beach.

The upside-down layout is set up to maximize the light and views on the top floor. On the first floor, there's an attractive hallway with arches, mosaic tile inlays and a series of french doors to a little grassy area – bright and unique.

Upstairs, the kitchen is plus-plus gorgeous and large, with 2 informal dining areas (one at the counter) plus formal dining and 2 separate living spaces. Up at the front of the house, a nice balcony with outdoor fireplace invites you to enjoy the views and breezes day or night.

711 11th sold new in 2006 for $3.825m, and is offered now at $3.799m. It is open Sun. 2-5pm.

1042 2nd (5br/4ba, 4425 sq. ft.) offers much the same as 711 11th, on paper – same MB subregion, same number of bedrooms, same square footage, similar vintage (2003 vs. 2005 at 11th). All that, but almost $2m less.

What's that old cliché about location?

While 11th has ocean views and invites you to walk to town, 1042 2nd is near Sepulveda and even nearer to a large office building, a fairly dominant neighbor. Views are limited to a city/mountain peek over commercial buildings, but the home has an upside-down layout anyway.

So here it's really about the living space, and being west of Sepulveda. They did a nice job with the original construction here ('03, as mentioned), and the current owners have upgraded the home some, inside and out, since their Aug. 2009 acquisition (at $1.810m).

The style runs with a Spanish theme, including saltillo tiles throughout the first (bedroom) floor, dark woods for the stairs and upstairs and ornate wrought-iron railings that keep the style flowing. (The curvy stairs are covered by a turret with exposed wood beams – more style.)

The master's quite large with a big walk-in closet that's fully finished out (one of these owners' upgrades), with a fireplace between the bath and bedroom. The master opens to the little grassy yard (one of the quirks in an upside-down layout), which is fairly quiet despite the proximity of Sepulveda. Turns out, that behemoth commercial building is also a pretty good noise shield.

It's a pleasant surprise, in all, priced at $2.195m, meant to reflect both the upgrades and the changes in the market since the current owners acquired it. 1042 2nd is open Sun. 1-4pm.

Sand Section

3116 Alma (4br/2ba, 2500 sq. ft.) is back, and what's not cool about that?

It was quite a while ago that MBC last wrote about this older, added-onto Spanish with its big, grand ocean views from the master. That was in November 2007, in fact, in "Old's Cool." (That review is still a good read today.)

The home never sold in '07, it remained rented out. It rejoins the market as one of the most distinctive Sand Section properties, wanting updates but really needing a buyer who loves its unique features – either keep the old Spanish vibe, including the old tile work, or plan to run with the style in any update. It's worth preserving.

Layout puts the large master with sitting area and deck alone up top, pulling in really great views. (Again the listing pics don't quite capture the grandeur.) Oh, and the master also includes a huge drop-down movie screen, projector, surround sound and – yes – a couple bona fide cinema seats bolted to the floor. (The owner is a famous actor who must have wanted this before he moved out.)

Of the 3 downstairs bedrooms, 2 are legit, if on the smaller side, while a 4th is the converted half of the garage. Two include Murphy beds built into a wall, including that garage room. In terms of living space, you have smallish living and dining rooms up front and a bigger step-down family room in back that opens to the reasonably large, paved patio. The kitchen is very comfortably sized and includes a newer range and fridge, but the old cabinetry may be just a little too old.

Don't miss the tiles in the master bath or around the fireplace in the master – with a depiction of the islands off the coast of southern California.

One note if you read the "Old's Cool" review – it was a prior tenant who was a smoker that polluted the smell and feel of this place. Currently vacant, it has no carryover odor that we could detect.

3116 Alma was priced near $2.3m in '07, and starts now at $1.995m. It is open Sun. 2-5pm.

3405 Manhattan Ave. (5br/5ba, 4400 sq. ft.) would be a 100-block house, but has a Manhattan Ave. address instead.

That's a real big house with "the presence of a mansion," according to the listing. Well, OK, it's sales copy. We haven't toured the property yet so we're going to let the listing speak for itself for now.

Remember a couple of weeks ago when 221 30th (5br/5ba, 4550 sq. ft.) sold almost instantly with a list price at $3.4m?

3405 Manhattan starts at $4.499m and is open Sun. 1-4pm.

Tree Section

625 25th (5br/5ba, 3525 sq. ft.) is a large, mostly blank 90s home on a great block.

Clearly the home is quite large, and you'll find the layout very familiar if you've been seeing houses from the late 90s-early 2000s, east or west of Sepulveda. The big 2-story sunken formal living room off the entry dates it a bit, but you do have the kitchen/great room in back opening to the yard, more of a modern feature. There's also separate formal dining and an extra bedroom suite filling out the first floor. All the other bedrooms are up.

The master's in back and, typical for the era, probably a bit overly large. The baths all seem to date back to the original (1996) construction, but look a bit more tolerable for the short or medium term than the kitchen, which demands an upgrade sooner. Similarly, the true divided windows and french doors are nice on their own terms, but probably demand an across-the-board upgrade to modernize the feel of the house and make it more energy-efficient.

Some built-ins in several rooms – cabinets, bookcases, and such – are tired and dated and will probably be removed by the next owner.

Location is quite nice, extremely walkable to school and the beach, probably to downtown as well with just a little extra effort. The yard on the northern side gets some good light, but will be shady for stretches. It's not huge by Tree Section standards, but not a postage stamp, either.

The start price here, $1.999m, puts premiums on both location and interior size. 625 25th is open Sun. 2-4pm.

If the address 1805 John doesn't have you doing mental cartwheels right away, you probably just don't care about the Trees.

But this is a good-size (5060 sq. ft.), flat lot on a flat section of a great street that's close to school and town, and has very little traffic. The orientation of the lot puts the back yard on the sunny western side. Do this right, and you could have a dreamy home in a great location with a big, sunny yard.

What to do about that house on the lot? It's a 1950 original with an addition in back (4br/2ba, 1400 sq. ft.). Sadly, to get 4br in 1400 sq. ft. they squeezed the room sizes a lot, and one of those current bedrooms is also, effectively, a hallway to another bed and bath. Odd.

The current condition is blech and the layout, with its very limited common spaces up front, is not today's – you'd want living spaces at the back. With the oversize garage impinging and the addition pushing into the yard space in the rear, the current house utterly fails to use the lot's back half appropriately. The greatest crime against the lot is the large paved area tucked away behind the garage.

There is definitely potential for a major remodel, but surely bidders will also include both spec and custom builders who just want the plot of land.

Disclosure: We've toured the property with clients.

1805 John starts at $1.1m and is open Sun. 2-4pm.

East MB

1833 5th (5br/6ba, 4250 sq. ft.) is a better-than-average early-oughts Mediterranean that needs to overcome its location in the eyes of buyers.

Look at a map, see Aviation a few doors away, and you may be frightened off. But the cul-de-sac street here doesn't connect to that "other highway" to the east, and may even rate as a location plus – if not just a mitigation.

The first floor has the expected flow, with a spare bedroom and towering formal living room up front, formal dining and then a big kitchen/great room in back. (Big, in this case, really means big – the house is nearly 1000 sq. ft. bigger than you'd find in the Tree Section.) Almost all of the flooring is travertine, polished up and looking quite good. The kitchen benefits from lots of extra counter space and a separate breakfast bar.

The back yard is as huge as you'd expect with this 7500 sq. ft. lot, mostly grass but with some nicer trees around the edges. A big patio proved a nice place to sample outdoor living options at the house during our tour. (Disclosure: We are thankful for the tacos.)

Upstairs the one unique feature is the open office with built-ins up front – a sunny, open space that might be a good day-to-day workspace, not just a place to keep a desktop computer and books. And did we mention that this one was big? The master is large enough to play host to a couch and separate chair to give the masters of the house their own media room away from everyone else.

1833 5th sold new in early 2003 for $1.4m, and starts now at $1.999m. It is open Sun. 2-4pm.

1500 2nd (4br/2ba, 1600 sq. ft.) feels small, has no yard on its small lot (3175 sq. ft.) and has a notable location challenge along busy 2nd and the stop sign at Peck, another major cross street through East MB.

It also feels like what it is – a squarish, early-60s home that's been upgraded as much as it could be to still make sense. The attraction here is that there's really no work to do and you get in under $1m. Turnkey homes with 4br in MB under $1m are rare enough. Worth a look if that's your combination.

1500 2nd starts at $949k and is open Sun. 1-4pm.

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