Sunday Opens (3/25)

By Dave Fratello | March 25th, 2012
Again this week we've got a good set of new offerings, not a blizzard, but not a trickle either. Most will open up even if the day gets a little wet.

In a time of limited inventory, we see some niches being filled for the first time in a while – the big non-ocean-view Hill Section manse, a South End cottage, the one and only Sand Section plateau offering (ok, this is just its first open, it's not a new listing) and even some great options for Tree Section buyers who can run with lesser locations.

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

864 9th (5br/5ba, 4000 sq. ft.) is a big and serious Hill Section manse with a backyard bonus: sports court and pool.

The views northward include treetops, mountains (on a clear day) and downtown L.A. – we even caught the L.A. skyline clearly on a very cloudy day Friday.

There's an upside-down layout to feature those views, with bedrooms on the entry level, but there's also an ample, comfy family room on that level, too – an informal living space that could make a big difference in the livability of the house for a good-size family.

Upstairs one octagonal living room is up front and gets great views, as does a separate office jutting out to the very front. Another big family room is in back. The kitchen is wide open to it.

While we labeled this a "manse" up top, and the listing promotes its "Tuscan" feel, we're not sure either concept conveys the feeling well. This is simply a very well-executed, spacious family home that doesn't push a distinct style in your face. It's easy to dress up as a formal home or take it as a more informal setting, understated luxury.

864 9th was built in 2000 and traded then for $1.650m; just 5 years later, it was up to $2.8m at the next trade. (Wow, +70% in 5 years.)

864 9th is up now at $2.850m and is open Sun. 1-4pm.

1026 1st (3br/2ba, 2100 sq. ft.) is going to be interesting mostly for the land, given its position on the hill and big ocean views from the rear.

The current, late-1940s house has been amended over time. It's got 2 smallish br upstairs, along with the kitchen and living areas. Downstairs is another br and a wide, spacious family room. Nothing feels very modern, though. The property's been a rental for some time.

At $1.449m to start, it's priced a bit higher than the neighbor, 1022 1st – also an older property on a 4400 sq. ft. lot – which is in escrow now. 1022 1st was last at $1.297m; we haven't toured it to compare.

1026 1st is at $1.449m, and is open Sun. 1-4pm.

Sand Section 

421 3rd (4br/3ba, 2500 sq. ft.) starts out with a great South End location, a newer remodel and quite a bit of space – just enough to be comfy. The bedroom situation is going to be a factor, though. (More below.)

Location is always where you start, and this one is very near school and the beach. The big playing fields at the school nearby are effectively a community playground when school's not in session, so the neighborhood is family-friendly in that regard. Any 400-block address is obviously walkable to the beach. And the flat family walkstreets are just over one block, so the kids will have pals in that little paradise.

This home was partly rebuilt and totally remodeled in 2009, with a very nice kitchen, 2 good size living rooms (our rule: if you see a pool table, the house has more than enough living space), and mostly newer limestone flooring downstairs – faux wood in some places like stairs. The master bedroom upstairs is quite large for a home you may recognize as an updated mid-century cottage (1939 original in this case). There's no yard; the outdoor space is the front patio you see in the pic.

Now, the bedrooms. One bedroom suite is completely separate over the garage in back, with its own flight of stairs. It's a private "retreat" for guests, office, gym – whatever's your pleasure. But in the main house, you have one room off a living room downstairs with sliding doors (and a closet) that could serve as a bedroom. Upstairs, the master has a room just off it with double glass doors with its own closet – that legally qualifies as a bedroom (it's pictured as a baby room w/ crib). The bath serving both rooms upstairs is on the small side. How to make it all work?

421 3rd starts at $1.809m and is open Sun. 1-4pm, rain or shine.

469 28th (4br/4ba, 3125 sq. ft.) is a pretty sleek remodel, extremely recent, of a 2004 build. Funny to say this, but the new remod was needed to give this 8-year-old house a 21st-century flavor, with its upgraded kitchen, dark floors and various tweaks that make it something of a showpiece.

There's also literally nothing else available on the Plateau (400 blocks of the Sand near Grand View). So if that's your target area, this is your choice for now.

After 3+ months of on-and-off marketing of this property, they're finally opening it up to John Q. Public this weekend for the first time.

You'll see that the top-floor living spaces are more than ample, especially the big living room at the front of the house that opens to a big deck. You get treetop views over the Tree Section to the east, and a peek of ocean down 28th as well. A bonus for this lot is that it pulls an extra few hundred square feet in back at the end of the 28th Place alley, allowing a little more breeze and, again, a little peek of blue.

Though the home clearly has 4 legal bedrooms, one is upstairs among the living spaces and is more likely to serve as an office, guest room or other separate space than as a sleeping room for the family.

469 28th is priced at $2.179m, or $179k above acquisition from June 2011, pre-remodel. The sellers faced a job change and are now serious about handing over the keys, so we'll expect to see this one trade fairly soon.

469 28th is open Sun. 1-4pm.

461 36th Place (2br/2ba, 1050 sq. ft.) is a cute surprise, with the big ocean views the most unexpected feature of this little TH.

If you see 36th Place as the address, you may not be too excited, and the mid-1960s vintage of the building is readily apparent, but the HOA has kept things up nicely.

Inside, on the top level, the little kitchen is upgraded, the flooring fairly nice, and the bath is pretty sharp. Two smallish bedrooms share the middle floor – the first "floor" is the garage exclusively – and a small jack-and-jill bath that is more dated.

Big ocean views to the west are surprising; you'll even catch Malibu up to the north. Unsurprising are the views of the refinery and enormous storage tanks right across Rosecrans. You just have to roll with that. For a little starter TH, it's got its pluses and minuses.

461 36th Place sold for $999k in June 2008 and starts now at $979k. It is open Sun. 2-5pm.

Tree Section

3404 Pacific (3br/2ba, 1750 sq. ft.) is a bold and very pleasant remodel of a 1950s cottage, with wide-open, modern living spaces up front, good-size bedrooms and very well-done baths.

The front yard/patio area is also a major feature of the home; an enclosed, gated space with inlaid brick and faux grass.

You don't get a terrific layout like this out of a 50s home without major restructuring of the internal spaces, but the prior owners took on that major project. Just about the only (minor) complaint might be that the big, new and sharp master bath does not connect directly to the bedroom.

What's going to hold back some buyers from considering 3404 Pacific is the location. It's easy to see on a map that it's real far north and seems to be near the refinery. To the plus side, from the yard and home there are no views of the refinery, so once you're behind the gates, that impact dwindles. The listing makes 2 references to this as a "starter" home, pushing that definition from the traditional idea of a smallish home or fixer to one that's in great shape but has a location issue.

3404 Pacific last sold in Dec. 2007 in its remodeled condition for $1.285m. It's up now at $1.350m, and is open Sun. 2-4pm.

560 Rosecrans (3br/2ba, 1950 sq. ft.) is another very well-done remodel in an off location. Make your peace with Rosecrans and you get a terrific, modern Craftsman.

The ambitious rebuild here blends those Craftsman accents with a hip, modern, wide-open kitchen plus beachy elements in the baths.

We liked how the big great room up front is supplemented by a more private family room toward the back of the house. No "formal living room" clogging up the floorplan here – just your choice of good spaces to hang out.

The master bath boast a modern spa feel; the secondary bath makes the best of a space crunch by also serving as a laundry room.

As to Rosecrans, it is what it is as a location, but from the front of this home you see the thick trees along the berms at the perimeter of the refinery, no refinery elements. And the 500 block is truly walkable to El Norte's restaurants and attractions, not to mention the beach and Grand View school, just a few blocks away.

560 Rosecrans starts at $1.199m, and is open Sun. 2-4pm (though it is not in the listings).

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