Sunday Opens (9/14/14)

By Dave Fratello | September 14th, 2014

It seems that a recurring theme among this week's new open houses is: We just bought this, but you can take it.

That's basically the case for the first 3 listings we're looking at. One traded 14 months ago, and two others sold even more recently than that.

But before we get to real estate, let's offer a hat-tip to Simmzy's. Their delectable, unique, high-class burger has just hit the Zagat radar, coming in as one of the best burgers in L.A. (See this story from

Well, heck, we knew it was one of the best from the get-go.

Now, as with so much about MB, the word is getting out.

Side note: A few years ago, MBC HQ was in an office building right near Simmzy's. Each morning, as they began to cook down the onions for their signature burger, the wondrous smells would waft through our hallways, beckoning, daily: "Burgers for lunch!" Yum. 

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

Don't forget, when previewing homes here on MB Confidential, you can click "Open All Images" right above the main listing photo to get immediate display of all the listing photos at once.

Hill Section

880 11th (5br/5ba, 4100 sq. ft.) was last sold in late March this year for $2.750M. (Just 5 months ago.)

At the time it had much more of a traditional Mediterranean/Tuscan vibe – warm woods, a color palette veering into the yellows, browns and even reds, even faux painting.

There's a starkly different feel to the same house now, with almost all rooms repainted in a pale, modern light blue, and most wood painted or stained very dark. The whole place is cleaned up, sharpened and has an almost artsy feel to it.

It is quite a stunning difference.

So what do we have now? A late-90s Tuscan running along a fairly busy street (Poinsettia) that's just gotten a very custom reboot.

Layout-wise, this home has the entry in the middle, with a formal living room and spare bedroom/office to the right, and formal dining and kitchen/great room off to the left. The yard, mostly built out for entertaining with a built-in BBQ and patio, is at the southern end of the lot, just off the great room. The kitchen has a nice eat-in area with windows to the yard.

Up the grand, curving staircase you'll find a nice family layout with four bedrooms and three baths (two bedrooms are connected with a Jack-and-Jill bath), and a laundry room. Every room seems to have gotten the same blue paint, though only the master had the wood trim redone in dark, stark stain.

880 11th starts now at $2.999M and is open Sun. 1-4pm.

Tree Section

3612 Poinsettia (2br/1ba, 865 sq. ft.) is an upgraded little original cottage with a small kitchen, on a substantially upsloping lot near Rosecrans.

In late June 2013, it traded for $935K on the public market – one of the few Tree Section homes to trade under $1M recently. Given its small size and location near Rosecrans, that was no big surprise.

Now the same home is back, vacant, asking $1.200M (+28%).

Though the listing refers to the home as "newly remodeled," it's in exactly the condition we saw it last year. So while the re-do is quite possibly recent, we'd have to strain to agree with that word "newly."

Sometimes with these little cottages, the obsolete, tiny 1-car garage gets converted to living space. Not so here (yet) – it's mainly storage.

There's a substantial upslope to this lot, which translates to a tiered backyard with patio and grassy patch.

After this one sold last year at $935K, 3 more Tree Section homes sold under $1M in 2013, but that hasn't happened again here in 2014.

3612 Poinsettia starts at $1.200M and is open Sun. 1-4pm.

2310 Ardmore (4br/3ba, 3665 sq. ft.) is a 90s contemporary on a private street – just above Ardmore, actually. (This little block, just off Agnes and 23rd, is also called "Laurel Bluff.")

This home traded a tiny bit less than one year ago at $2.080M. (See the old listing here.)

Since then, the owners have given the home quite the (necessary) remodel. It's substantially the most remodeled of the 3 recently traded homes that have come back to market this week.

The flooring is now a wide-plank, lighter French oak, the kitchen is fully modernized and quite a showpiece, and one of the baths downstairs was redone with some flair.

Upstairs, neither the master bath nor the jack-and-jill bath shared by the two kids' bedrooms has been remodeled, just freshened up.

The layout of the home has the kitchen wide open to a dining area and a step-down, octagonal family room. You'll see a little "lap pool" off the living areas, but as a swimmer, your blog author here has to say: No butterfly here. Much too narrow.

The master is sizable with a sitting area and treetop views to the north. The open master bath is very bright but, as we noted, more original. There is a huge master closet.

We found the 2 kids' bedrooms upstairs to be on the small side, but as a tradeoff, they do get their own "kids' living room" right outside – their own spot for a TV lounge, homework space and/or playroom, out of the flow of the downstairs. Nice.

The 4th bedroom is downstairs, small and angular, with a Murphy bed now attached the wall for when guests come.

2310 Ardmore starts at $2.875M and is open Sun. 2-4pm.

Sand Section

300 35th (4br/3ba, 2130 sq. ft.) is an 80s townhome with world-beating views from the top level. Like, wow.

None of the secondary bedrooms is too big, and the 4th is really an aftermarket add-on (they converted a study or spare room on the first floor by adding a closet). One very nice benefit is that the home has a 3-car garage and apron parking – a must for the area.

We'd say the home has been lightly updated since its 1987 build, and felt kind of busy while we toured. You'd want to reimagine another round of updates and see the home clearer to really realize its potential. 

We liked the substantial amount of windows and views from the 2nd-floor master, and, as we suggested, the views from the living areas and balcony up top are really marvelous. You're looking over low-slung commercial buildings on the other side of Highland – North End Cafe and Four Daughters Kitchen. So the risk of view block seems pretty minimal for now. There is a noise factor from Highland Ave. traffic.

300 35th starts at $1.999M and is open Sun. 2-5pm.

East MB

626 S. Peck (3br/4ba, 3800 sq. ft.) is quite a piece of work.

And it will need work.

First, set the scene. It's across the street from Mira Costa High School (the new building) and runs along Peck, which gets traffic for 3 schools if you count the preschool down the way.

This home is (currently) two houses for the price of one. The original home has been divided down the middle, and there are 2 separate entries, 2 kitchens, bedrooms here and there all over.

The northern wing offers 2br and an open living room. The top-floor bedroom has its "master" bath – very custom – down the open hallway. The story goes that before the home was divided, the master consumed the entirety of the top floor. Now it's most of the top floor.  

The southern wing is arguably the spiffier of the 2 units, but accessing the upstairs is more of a challenge, with the staircase having been claimed by the other unit. You can get to that area now only by way of a cramped, steep, metal ladder. What's left of the former master seems now really to be a storage area.

The southern wing opens to a patio/yard area off the kitchen/eating area, a benefit not shared by the northern half.

This one's a pretty big project in a challenged location, so they've tried to price it aggressively. With 3800 sq. ft., and a start price of $1.299M, it's at $340/PSF, which basically does not happen in Manhattan Beach. Maybe the high 400s or mid-500s sometimes, but a 3 in front? That's a measure of what you'd start with in buying the home.

626 S. Peck starts at $1.299M and is open Sun. 1-4pm.

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