Sunday Opens (9/29)

By Dave Fratello | September 29th, 2013

Before we get to real estate, we just wanted to note that we celebrated National Plug-In Day on Saturday with a firsthand look at numerous electric vehicles. (You did, too, right?)

We love our slightly goofy-looking 4-seater GEM, an all-electric neighborhood vehicle that's basically a street-legal golf cart. We put a couple hundred miles on it every month just around MB. But sometimes you have to get out of the 90266, for work, family or vacation. So what, then?

To go farther, you need a Nissan Leaf, or a plug-in Prius, Chevy Volt, or... what are your other options?

This is where our eyes were really opened.

Dave hopped into this spunky Fiat 500e. That's a fun ride, and a quick shot onto the freeway displayed the quick acceleration offered by electric cars' high torque. (We also experienced that torque as a friend recently invited us on a Tesla test drive – we were pressed back into the seat off the line each time. Whew!)

We also saw electrics and hybrids from Mitsubishi, Chevy (Volt and others) and Ford. And for the first time we saw Tesla's 2-seater Roadster. Yowza. [Speaking of Tesla, Mr. Musk's other big project, SpaceX, had a successful launch Sunday morning, viewable from the beach.]

Finally, we tried electric bicycles and had a chance to try all-electric motorcycles. (Finally, a quiet motorcycle.)

You spend a little time surrounded by all-electric options like that, and you think you've seen the future.

Back home in MB, please consider stopping by our open house Sunday 1-4pm at 3017 Elm.

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

3017 Elm (2br/2ba, 960 sq. ft.) is Dave's new listing. We don't formally "review" Dave's listings here, so we'll mainly offer the official listing description text:

This charming, classic beach cottage was revived with style in a complete remodel in 1994. It has a wide-open feeling and good light. Two patios and a lush, wide front yard. Location is along a surprisingly quiet street in the Manhattan Beach Tree Section. Comes with plans for potential 2nd story (Jay Stephenson, architect). This unique lot is 98' wide at the front and tapers back. Please note: Purchase is subject to current lease through April 1, 2014.

If you clicked on this listing during its first day or two, take another look – we just got the professional photos up. They show off the unique, vintage style of the remodel.

Dave will be at the open. Here's hoping you can stop by today and say "hi."

3017 Elm starts at $925K and is open Sun. 1-4pm.

3615 Laurel (4br/4ba, 3250 sq. ft.) is a late-90s build with a pleasant Cape Cod Craftsman style. Due to its location, just one door off of Rosecrans, it presents itself as something of a deal for the Trees these days at $1.699M.

Downstairs, the living areas feel exceptionally wide open and bright. It may be higher ceilings that enhance that feeling. The kitchen is completely open with a large dining area to one side and the big family room beyond. A mostly paved, but decent-sized, yard is off the kitchen as well.

All 4br are upstairs. The master, like the common areas downstairs, feels wide-open and bright. In back are two sizable bedrooms sharing a jack-and-jill bath. Finally there's a separate bed/bath suite that may serve as the office or guest room, depending. Laundry room is upstairs as well.

3615 Laurel starts at $1.699M and is open Sun. 1-4pm.

2304 Poinsettia (5br/5ba, 3650 sq. ft.) necessarily drew MBC's notice this week when it launched at $3M. (See "Is $3M the New Normal in the Trees?")

This 2001-built Mediterranean (whoops, "Urban Morocco") home fundamentally asks the question: How much extra is (re)design worth?

Because the home is familiar. It's Mediterranean in lineage, described as "Tuscan" in past listings, "Urban Morocco" in the current listing, but really, not fundamentally different in layout or style than a lot of homes built in the previous cycle.

Two things set this one apart from some others: The basement, and the almost unbelievably sharp design, from paint to stonework to furniture and bonus touches, like the steel fountain at the entry.

Yes, it's well (re)done, but it's still just what it is: An early 2000s spec home. Because it's built onto a downsloping lot, the entry is down several steps and the layout is broken up in a couple of places by further steps down.

We also took note of the fact that the kitchen/great room in back seemed a bit smaller than is typical. The small yard is entirely paved with attractive stone and hosts a sunken hot tub. Extra bonus outdoor space is offered in a side courtyard.

Two nearly precise equivalents to this home sold in late 2010/early 2011. Same architect and floorplan, with the side courtyards and really interesting upstairs bedroom in a semi-octagonal shape, feeling a bit like a room in a castle tower. Those other recent sales were 2100 Walnut (4br/4ba, 3200 sq. ft., $1.915M, Aug. 2010) (pictured) and 1812 Elm (4br/3ba, 3065 sq. ft., $1.800M, Mar. 2011).

We should immediately note that 2304 Poinsettia is at least 300-500 sq. ft. bigger than those comps (thanks to the basement media room and spare bedroom), and, of course, the market has changed a lot since those sales. But neither of those homes were slouches at the time – both showed luxuriously – and each settled considerably under $2M. (What a great time to buy.)

2304 Poinsttia was last purchased just 2 years ago as a short sale at $1.700M. It starts now at $2.999M (it's still kind of shocking to say that) and is open Sun. 2-4pm.

2009 Palm (4br/5ba, 4050 sq. ft.) is now on the MLS after a "soft launch" a couple of weeks ago.

They're asking somewhat over $3M.

This is a big, custom house, built pre-ZORP in the early 90s, which means more interior square footage and a somewhat smaller backyard. (Mostly paved but featuring lots of green and a nice waterfall feature.)

The layout inside feels familiar, with a big 2-story formal living room and a spare bedroom up front, then formal dining and the kitchen/great room in back. Stylistically, the interior borrows a little from Mediterranean, 80s modern and, in places, a more elegant 21st-century modern. The folks who built it have simply updated it as styles have changed. It's hard to articulate what the current style is, though it's surely sharp inside.

Upstairs, one different feature is the master's completely separate sitting room. That makes it officially a "retreat." (The over-bed chandelier is a personal choice, easily reversible.) The master bath feels positively huge, and is perhaps the most modernized space in the home.

There are two kids' rooms on the upper floor sharing a jack-and-jill bath, and a large suit at the front, over the garage, which seems now to be in service as a second family room.

Location is ultimately what sells the house. This is mid-block on one of the Tree Section's prime, quiet streets. John and Palm. Palm and John. They're interchangeable, dream streets. This is a flat section chock full of great homes.

Recent comps in the neighborhood would include 1813 John (4br/5ba, 3545 sq. ft.), a custom, darling Cape Cod with a little pool in the yard, where the sale was reported at $2.999M in May.

The other neighborhood comp is 2200 John (4br/4ba, 3800 sq. ft.), a Craftsman-inspired inspired home with an open, more flowing layout and a darling yard, which sold for $2.875M in early August. (See: "Close the Books on 2200 John" for a bit more.) 

2009 Palm is bigger than both of those, and starts at $3.150M. It is open Sun. 1-4pm.

East MB

1609 6th (5br/4ba, 4965 sq. ft.) is a specimen of a particular series of huge, huge homes built in this general neighborhood together in the late 80s/early 90s.

This one's been retooled to make it more luxe than you'd find in the 80s, with a modern kitchen, dark wood flooring and redone baths.

Common spaces on the first floor are just simply huge. The vast formal living room has a huge bar area just off of it, then you have additional living spaces opening to the yard with pool and built-in BBQ and bar. The formal dining room has been made just a bit more formal by the addition of ornate columns at one end.

Upstairs, the master is simply huge beyond description, almost. We brought a little MBC by the home, and he pronounced the master "big enough to play basketball in," and he's basically right. The room now shows with a whole separate living room inside it. Its master bath is extra luxe, with a step-up bath and other customizations.

There's yet another living space in the large landing looking over the formal living room. Right now there's furniture there, as if you'd stop in the hallway to gather and chat. In the same space, others might put a family homework area, or, as we've seen in one case, a grand piano.

The listing describes this as a 5br home, which would mean counting the one downstairs room as a bedroom. Because it lacks a closet, that's debatable. But it definitely can be a guest room or office, depending.

Here's what is maddening about these homes: They had nearly 5000 sq. ft. to work with, they provided gymnasium-sized masters and those extra landings upstairs, but they stashed the laundry room on the first floor. By definition, a large family is going to want a home this large. Don't they have enough to do, without also needing to lug the laundry up and down the stairs every time?

1609 6th starts at $2.100M and is open Sun. 1-4pm.

Sand Section

320 2nd (6br/4ba, 3170 sq. ft.) is a duplex on a fairly quiet block in the South End.

We haven't previewed this property but would suggest your giving it a look.

Janie Sue Nagy did offer some detail in a post. Here's what she said:

This property is zoned for a duplex. According to tax records, the original home was built in 1940. Previous listings have shown a build date of 1988, which may be when it was remodeled to add the second level. Anyway, it has been recently remodeled and is quite livable. The main house has four bedrooms with two and a half baths. The separate rental unit has two bedrooms and one bath. The rental unit has its own entrance plus a living room, kitchen (with hookups for a stackable washer and dryer) and a private patio.

Located in the desirable South Sand Section, it is about two and a half blocks to the beach and even closer to Robinson Elementary School. You can see the ocean from the front deck. Lots of windows and skylights provide plenty of light to the living areas on the top level. Bedrooms are on the middle/entry level. There is a large deck off the kitchen at the back of the house.
The street-to-alley lot is 2,708 square feet. There is garage parking for two cars off 2nd Street and pad parking behind on 1st Place.

320 2nd starts at $3.295M and is open Sun. 1-4pm.

468 34th (5br/4ba, 3528 sq. ft.) is back on the market now at $2.399M.

By now, MBC readers are largely familiar with this home.

Here's a bit from the current listing description:

This beautiful, 2001 built, 5 bedroom/4.5 bath Cape Cod on a quiet cul de sac in the Sand Section has a grassy front garden and loads of charm.

468 34th is now asking $2.399M and is open Sun. 1-4pm.

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