Sunday Opens (7/15)

By Dave Fratello | July 15th, 2012
How'd you like to see the first $5m Tree Section house?

Set aside part of your Sunday afternoon for that one. It's not the unique funhouse that 3305 Pine was, but 624 14th, the top draw for the weekend, is a destination house nonetheless, particularly if you dream of the Martyrs area.

$5.5m for this East MB house for the USC coach
Speaking of the 5's, there's also reference in Sunday morning's LA Times "Hot Property" column to a $5.5m East MB sale that just posted a couple of weeks ago. That was this off-market sale in East MB (pictured), which went to the USC football coach.

We have quite a few other new offerings not in the 5's this weekend, nothing like the near-boycott last weekend. Summer inventory is definitely interesting.

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

624 14th
624 14th (5br/6ba, 5765 sq. ft.) is a ginormous, newer Mediterranean in an A+ location of the Marytrs neighborhood. Elegant and kind of fun, this one is a pleasure to behold. It's kind of lucky that they are opening it to the public.

Lots of outdoor living spaces here: A big front patio over the garage with some views down 14th St. (we're not sure if there'd be ocean peeks), a private center courtyard that would suit al fresco dining, and in back an outdoor kitchen plus (finally) a covered "cabana" out by the pool and jacuzzi. With 5700+ sq. ft. of indoor space, you would not expect such a commitment to the out of doors, but it's great to see. He in MB, we can only comfortably hang around outside about 10 months out of the year, after all.

The main living spaces on the entry floor are super, but a nice bonus is the lower-level/basement home theater. Also, look under the stairs to the lower level for a truly great kids' space.

As expected, the master is a plus-plus offering, with large and bright his-and-hers walk-in closets providing one highlight.

The whole package is surely worth your time this weekend.

They're starting this one at, let's say $5m ($4.999m), which would really be something categorically new, even for Martyrs.

Last August, the gorgeous blue Cape Cod at 533 15th (6br/6ba, 5300 sq. ft.) surpassed local sales records by more than $300k with a sale at $4.700m. It had a slightly bigger lot than this one and real ocean views. Before that, you saw 4 Martyrs area public sales of new homes all between $4.050m-$4.275m in 2007 and 2008, while this home at 624 14th sold off-market, new, for more – $4.350m in March 2007.

So the start price now is a 15% markup to the acquisition in peak-year '07, with ambitions to beat the recent record sale in the area by $300k.

624 14th St. is priced at $4.999m and is open Sun. 2-5pm.

1800 Oak (3br/3ba, 2100 sq. ft.) is a modest 3br remodel, a bit stylistically uncertain, but pleasant. It's on the "wrong" side of Oak, backing up to commercial buildings, but also shielded somewhat from Sepulveda noise by those buildings.

All living spaces are downstairs and bedrooms up. The 1980s original has been customized with faux painting in the main living room to resemble old plaster. Kitchen is very nicely updated. The bedrooms are kind of blank, but the baths have been updated.

In back, there's not much yard; the garage is in back and lot space is devoted to the long driveway; some grass is to the north of the garage. (The position of the garage led us to view the 1986 build date as reflecting a major remodel of a 50s original, perhaps.) In a twist, there's a half-bath in the garage.

1800 Oak starts at $1.199m, and is open Sat. & Sun. 1-4pm.

Hill Section

1030 1st (5br/5ba, 4300 sq. ft.) is a mid-90s Mediterranean built into a very favorable position high up the hill. They call it "the summit of the Hill Section" in the listing. (What's that they say about location?)

The main living spaces on the top level step up a bit in back to drink in the huge, huge PV & ocean views, made possible as the hill drops down and away to the south, and you won't see any MB power lines thanks to undergrounding. Glorious. There's also a sizable deck that takes in those views.

The home has newer flooring almost everywhere – dark walnut plank flooring in the main living spaces (good), new carpet in several parts of the lower bedroom level (fine), and faux-wood Pergo-type flooring in some bedrooms and a down-down-downstairs family room opening to the yard (well...). Updates around the house are a little uneven like that – upgraded kitchen, yes, master bath, seems so, other baths, not all. You see the 90s in glimpses.

Upside-down layouts like this one, built to capture those views, can create oddities in the floorplan, and this one definitely has one. The "down-down-downstairs family room" we mentioned is a room you could miss on the tour, tucked away in back and down from the last bedroom. That's your access to the yard, also, with outdoor kitchen/bar area and hot tub. Just a little different.

1030 1st starts at $3.295m and is open Sun. 1-4pm.

East MB

1636 Curtis (5br/5ba, 4500 sq. ft.) is a big and pleasant Spanish that may be the nicest home on offer in East MB right now. (More on that below.)

For a traditional sort of layout, things downstairs felt a bit bigger, wider, brighter, comfier. It could be the way these owners warmed up the "formal" living room up front with nice carpet and repurposed the formal dining space as a secondary family room, with thick shag and an enormous wraparound couch. It's like creating a home theater space where the builder had dictated "here's the dining room." Take that, builder.

The actual family room/great room boasts a huge kitchen with a big built-in casual dining area. It's a nice touch when you get these built-in booths.

Outdoor room at 1636 Curtis
The great room flows out back to a large covered patio/outdoor room via 3 sets of doors, which should be nice flow for entertaining (though of course disappearing walls would be a plus upgrade). Indeed, most of the large backyard seems to be concerned with entertaining rather than play – it's almost all hardscape, with a corner for a play structure and faux grass. With a south facing yard like this, wouldn't you want to see a lot more natural, green open space? The built-in grill and bar are nice regardless.

The listing pics barely take note of the bedrooms, except the master, huge and with all the expected bells and whistles. Be aware, it's 4br upstairs and a fairly dedicated office downstairs off the entry, though it does have a closet to qualify as a br.

A couple other notes: We like little details, and the fossil-encrusted fireplace in the formal living room is fun. Also, the extra courtyard between the formal living and great room could be a great space; we were perplexed, though, as to why it's on the (less sunny) eastern side of the house.

Competition for "nicest" East MB home includes 1836 6th ($1.949m) and 1540 10th ($2.289m).

1636 Curtis starts at $2.195m and is open Sun. 1-4pm.

FYI 1836 6th is open Sun. 1-4pm.

1525 9th (3br/2ba, 1800 sq. ft.) offers a really interesting value in a very pleasant house that is both updated and very "grown up." (We don't see it as a little-kids' house.)

The really artful landscaping all along the front sets a theme of sorts – we're careful, we're concerned with beauty, we're trying to make every square inch work.

Come inside and you see how they've transformed a 1950s cottage with very modern and artful living/dining spaces up front (in the 50s, those spaces were always up front). They seem to have rehabbed the original flooring (bonus) and given nice upgrades to the fireplace, windows and such. It feels current, not dated at all.

Move toward the back and you'll come to the bedrooms and a bonus family room in back. Secondary bedrooms, unfortunately, seem very secondary – the kids would have quite small and narrow rooms, but the master's large and pleasant, and the addition in back creates what can only be called a different kind of family room opening to the yard.

Quirks: There are sharp, odd angles in a skylight along the hallway, with a little landing above one of those secondary bedrooms. Looks like a great cat perch. Also, the bold, beamed ceiling above the bonus room in back... it's not unpleasant, it's just that, bold, an architectural detail asking to be noticed and appreciated.

In back, most of the yard of this 7500 sq. ft. lot is given purpose already; no sprawling stretches of green to roam around in. The garage is in back (remember the 50s), and space adjoining it is now paved with concrete and brick to create outdoor living/entertaining spaces, including built-in barbeque and bar way back. Tucked behind the garage is a hot tub. There's even a little room built into part of the garage, opening out to that patio – extra hangout space that would not factor into the square footage. All perfect for hot tub movie night.

1525 9th starts at $1.325m, and is open Sun. 2-5pm.

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