Sunday Opens (7/1)

By Dave Fratello | July 1st, 2012
It's official: Half the year is behind us, and we're going to have to start thinking seriously about what 2012 means.

Right now we're hoping it mainly means vacation for you.

This is a town that seems to have fairly few unemployed people – and we're counting everyone's occupations – and that means plenty of folks who just need a change of scenery sometimes to smell the roses. (Thanks and props to Mrs. MBC for getting your blog author away from the desk recently.)

You want vacation year round? That'd be 3305 Pine, which we raved about last week and which opens up again to John Q. Public this Sunday, 2-5pm. Seriously, do not miss it.

And sure it's late notice, but consider starting off your Sunday with a Sierra Club hike around MB, concluding with (optional) brunch at a local restaurant. Meet at Live Oak Park at 9:00am Sunday for a 2-hour tour of MB. Starting point is the police memorial by the tennis courts.

Cup outside Strand House via Twitter
Isn't it an honor to live here in MB? Stanley Cup one week, Sierra Club the next.

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

As usual, we appreciate it when readers share views on this week's featured properties. Let us know what you like, don't like or must have.

Tree Section

4 Arbolado Ct. (4br/4ba, 3025 sq. ft.) is a part of one of MB's few planned developments outside Manhattan Village, a little pocket of a bit more than a dozen homes all built together in the late 1980s.

This Spanish-inspired home is built on an unusual triangular lot nearly at the end of the Arbolado Ct. cul-de-sac. The first level is all living spaces, spread out unusually with one formal living room off the entry, a dining area then, off to the left, the kitchen/family room combo. (It's hard to call it a "great room" exactly since the family room is on the small side.) There's a separate office poking off the family room.

There is really no yard worth mentioning – mostly space along the side of the house and a tiny pocket of space in a back corner of the lot. Some of the other homes in the complex have decent little hardscape yards in back, but this is much less. At least the private cul-de-sac street in front offers a safe place to play, and Pacific elementary's playing fields are just 30 yards away.

Kitchen appliances are very new and high-end, and that room and others around the house show some updates, but it's uneven. Most of the first floor has the original saltillo tile. Upstairs, following the home's unusual footprint, you'll find all 4 bedrooms, none of them square – they're each interesting polygon shapes. All are fairly large, and the master suite has lots extra, typical for the era.

This joint complex has low fees for common areas – just $400 for the year, according to the agent (not the $400/mo. mentioned in the listing) – covering joint maintenance of the private street and some liability coverage. Gardening, etc., is each homeowner's responsibility.

On balance this one is an intriguing option for a family home very near school and downtown in an area that doesn't see many trades, and probably isn't on most buyers' radar at all.

4 Arbolado Ct. starts at $1.648m and is open Sun. 2-4pm.

14 Laurel Sq.
14 Laurel Square (3br/3ba, 2275 sq. ft.) is right nearby to 4 Arbolado in basically the only other planned development west of the highway, the Laurel Square group of homes.

This complex, bordered by the Martyrs parking lot and 13th St., dates back to the mid-70s, though some units have been updated. Everything is built around a center courtyard with a large cement sports court and a pool behind gates. (Who knew?)

The Laurel Square sports court & pool  
We've not toured 14 Laurel Sq. despite a couple of attempts to do so. That means we have to go by the same things you see in the pics: You've got a 70s home with some newer flooring, countertops and appliances. The home is a 2-level with entry on the top and other living spaces below, next to the complex's garage. We're looking forward to seeing more; maybe 3 tries will be a charm.

Speaking of updated units in this complex... One, right along 13th St., has been utterly transformed from a recognizably 70s building to a more modern, beachy Craftsman look (bravo!), indicating that there's been a welcome breakdown in any CC&Rs that would have tended to preserve the original flavor of the units. That's a positive stroke when a complex has begun to date itself – let the new owners modernize one by one. Much better than some ill-fated plan to preserve the original look. (Something similar is beginning in the aforementioned Manhattan Village; the old 80s homes are being razed and replaced – but that's another story.)

14 Laurel Square starts at $1.275m and is (said to be) open Sun. 2-4pm. HOA dues are listed at $325/mo.

2305 Pine (3br/2ba, 2000 sq. ft.) is a charming, updated house with a unique, almost cantilevered addition in back that puts all 3br on the same (entry) floor with the updated kitchen and one living room, despite a downslope to the lot. Master is spacious and bright with a very nice bath; the other bedrooms are of good size, too – much more than you'd expect of a 1940s cottage until you see the addition.

On the lower floor there's a large family room with wet bar and access to a completely covered patio with nice stone work and an outdoor fireplace. All the backyard spaces are covered with trendy faux grass and lots of diverse (and real) plants and trees.

This home last traded for $1.4m in July 2010, but has been upgraded since then – as has the condition of our local market. The home got (at least) new hardwood flooring in some areas and one new bath since then.

Disclosure: Dave has toured the property with clients prior to the open house.

2305 Pine starts at $1.549m, and is open Sun. 1-4pm.

2602 Maple (2br/2ba, 1700 sq. ft.) is a rarity in MB, a foreclosed home (REO sale).

Hard to believe, but this fairly small, quite dated-feeling home sold for $1.3m in 2005. (Was anyone paying attention then?) It's up now for 27% less... $949k.

There's more space than you'd expect – much of it carpeted. A large "master" bedroom (no attached bath) is just off the kitchen and front living spaces. The second (of 2) bedrooms is in back and has aluminum/glass sliders to the (concrete) back patio.

A very large family room in back has a brick fireplace and has doors both to the back patio and "yard," and to a middle patio area.

The kitchen is functional and bears a 70s/80s remodel. The whole house is extra clean and far more palatable inside than the outside suggests.

Overall impression, though: Tough, tough, tough as a home, hard to figure as a re-do, maybe it works as a rental – as we'd guess it has for some time. The location here, just off Valley, is not special, but then, they did just build a spec home 2 doors down, so maybe it's up-and-coming.

Due to the REO process, they won't review offers for about 10 days. Plenty of time to contemplate the options.

2602 Maple starts at $949k and is open Sun. 2-5pm.

3305 Pine (5br/7ba, 5700 sq. ft.) is one we hope you didn't miss last weekend, but if you did, here's one more chance to see the mini-compound we called "hands-down the coolest house in the Tree Section."

One house for living, one for indulging – pool, basement theater, upper level bar, a sauna and separate massage room. Too. Much. Cool. Stuff.

3305 Pine is at $4.295m and is open Sun. 2-5pm.

East MB

1736 Mathews (3br/2ba, 1700 sq. ft.) is a fairly new option east of Sepulveda just west of Aviation.

It's a 1973 build remodeled almost 10 years ago, with a nice open kitchen and al fresco dining deck right outside. The pool and yard space are substantial. (Are you looking for a big pool?)

The sunny, south-facing yard does back up to a commercial property, and you pretty much cannot get any further south and east in MB. It's basically North Redondo with a different ZIP code, but that change in ZIP code sure is worth something.

1736 Mathews starts at $999k and is open Sun. 1-4pm.

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