Sunday Opens (3/16/14)

By Dave Fratello | March 16th, 2014

This is a week that seems to showcase the diversity of housing in Manhattan Beach.

Here and there, yes, MB has cookie-cutter homes, but we have lots of custom homes, too. Consider this week's ultra wide-open modern at 1149 Pine, the somewhat more conventional but still cool "Island Contemporary" at 1219 17th, or the tweak to the little original cottage at 1416 Oak that gave it an "open concept" bathroom.

The word for the day is: Different. And that's good. 

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

529 18th (5br/6ba, 5615 sq. ft.) is a big, beachy Craftsman with almost Hill Section-like aspirations. Digging out a basement for a new home in a prime location near town gave it eye-popping square footage for the Trees.

You start with a bright and nicely flowing first-floor layout, opening to covered patios in back and some grassy area – not a huge yard, but something decent. All 4 main bedrooms are upstairs.

Down in the sunny funplex underground, there's more than expected. A bedroom suite, yes. A big, open family room/playroom with built-in bar, fridges and snack prep area, yes. But there's also a separate, dark home theater, tiered so no one's view is blocked. There's even a little "stage" in front of the movie screen, in case the entertainment is to be live. (The stage may not be an original Craftsman detail, but let's not get picky over something cool.)

All of those fun, functional extras – and the bonus square footage hosting them – move the home up a notch, of course.

If you're going to get well over 5000 sq. ft. near town, there's going to be a 4 in front, these days. Here, they start at $4.499M.

Today's market is notably different from when this one debuted, new – quite unfortunately – right as the financial world melted down in Fall 2008. Back then, they started at $4.279M and waited quite nearly 2 years to sell for a lot less: $3.075M in June 2010. The home seems largely the same now as then, though refreshed in spots (like the white paint for the basement built-ins). 

We called the location "prime." It's in the Martyrs neighborhood where the hill starts to slope down toward Valley and Ardmore, meaning you can feel the presence of parks and town so close. Across the street is an old MB landmark, the super-secretive members-only MB Badminton Club, which features (of course) a badminton gym along with a pool and other facilities. The tall building – not to mention the membership rules – can be a bit intimidating. 

529 18th starts at $4.499M and is open Sun. 2-4pm.

1149 Pine (4br/4ba, 2725 sq. ft.) is extraordinarily different, an architect's radical step away from the standard home layout. At the front and back of the home, 18' roll-up glass garage doors open the living space up completely, creating a remarkable flow. Further, the house stops well short of the maximum square footage, because the design is meant to emphasize flow to a large backyard.

Sorry, cars, you got short shrift. A tandem garage down in one corner provides the legally required parking spaces, but its diminutive position is a rebellion against the typical Tree Section home design. Commonly, half the front of a home is devoted to garage space – a look we sometimes refer to as "garage face." Not here.

One big family room dominates off of the front ("garage") door, along with formal dining; in back, the open, modern kitchen opens via a second roll-up garage door to the backyard. Up on a split- or mid-level halfway up the stairs is a second family room (now partly office), on the way up to the bedrooms up on the top floor. (We had the sense that they were breaking another rule here, giving the home the feeling of having 3 stories, despite the Tree Section's limit of 2 stories.)

We found just 3br upstairs, despite the listing's claim of 4br – this was explained by the fact that an open loft area can be easily converted to an actual, enclosed 4th bedroom, and based on the plans we saw, there are a couple of ways to do that.

The look and feel of this 10-year-old home are mostly without precedent in the Trees. Locationwise, we found it a bit close to MBB.

Worth noting: The architect who built this home for himself was also behind the "Container House" in Redondo Beach, a project that came after this home was built. The corrugated steel of some of the ceiling/roof details echo containers, though no evidence says that's the actual source.

How do you price a home this totally unique, in this location? 1149 Pine starts at $2.495M and is open Sun. 2-4pm.

1416 Oak (3br/2ba, 1025 sq. ft.) is a cute, open remodel of an original cottage, with some surprises.

The garage has been made out as a hangout room, now showing off surfboards, pool table, sofa and TV.

Two of the bedrooms are typically smallish, standard for an older original cottage.

The master in back gets really different. There's a large master closet, almost another room unto itself.

And then there's what they call the "open concept" bathroom.

That's more of a trendy (and controversial) feature in modern design. Here it means this home's clawfoot tub/shower and other bathroom fixtures are right there in the master bedroom, with no more than a pony wall separating them from the sleeping space. In addition, the tub is up on a platform 2 feet above the floor of the room. A curiosity, to be sure, but this way you do get a private bath.

The kitchen and other bath are tastefully done, and this cottage comes off as very bright and cheerful.

Locationwise, this is on the "wrong" side of Oak, bordering commercial, with a sports bar parking lot for a neighbor.

1416 Oak starts at $1.229M and is open Sun. 1-4pm.

2105 Oak (5br/5ba, 3100 sq. ft.) is very typical of the spec homes of the prior upcycle, because it is one.

Unlike the Caliterraneans that were often built during that redevelopment phase, this one is done more in a Craftsman style – pushing wood and stone designs meant to at least echo that theme.

Layout is exactly as expected, with 1br downstairs, formal living room at the entry, big kitchen/great room in back opening to the yard. The remaining 4br upstairs all look reasonably fresh.

Notable: This home has never sold since its 2006 completion, renting out instead. The question now: Is this the year?

The 2007 market debut saw this one at $2.499M, and as the year wore on, the offering price came down to $2.099M before it rented out. The home popped out in 2012 for a bit under $2M, but, reflecting the improvement in the market since then, they're starting this time at $2.199M.

2105 Oak is open Sun. 1-4pm.

East MB

1219 17th (5br/4ba, 3600 sq. ft.) is a custom, newer (2012) "Island Contemporary" build on a quiet, sunny corner lot near Meadows school.

They emphasized open space in the design of the first floor, with nary a wall from the entry all the way back to the open, modern kitchen. A family room is tucked away in one corner, but still open to the whole main room. One bedroom is in a private corner.

Upstairs, each of the 4br is pretty sizable, feeling all the more so thanks to high ceilings. The master runs the width of the top floor, with a big bath and closets.

Though this lot is 6000 sq. ft., the side yard that is enclosed is more of a space to entertain than for young kids to play. Another option would be to capture some of the ample front yard space and enclose it, if that's what a family wants or needs.

1219 17th starts at $2.295M 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. (The home there is being reconstructed – you can see what the views will be over the soon-to-be-new roof. The listing pics are not current.)

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, when this property last traded.

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. They pushed for $2.150M to begin, but recently cut 7% down to $1.999M. It is open Sun. 2-4pm.

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