Sunday Opens (9/8)

By Dave Fratello | September 7th, 2013

With the first AYSO whistle Saturday morning, it was supposed to be Fall.

When the first pumpkins to come to our house today (farm fresh), it was supposed to be Fall.

The kids are in school, we're getting deeper into September and Halloween stuff is cropping up in stores, so it's supposed to be Fall.

But Summer is making a last, great run, isn't it? The 80s all week, warm ocean, and crowds at the beach.

Yeah, no complaints.

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

848 11th (5br/6ba, 4600 sq. ft.) offers a luxe Spanish-inspired home in the "non-view" east side of the Hill Section.

There is a lot of space here, and not only thanks to the ample basement media room / game room / gym + bedroom suite, but just in the overall feeling of extra room almost everywhere you go. The kitchen/great room in back, opening to the yard, feels supersized, and the yard itself is surprisingly large for a lot that's not 7500 sq. ft. (as you'd see in East MB), but 6000 sq. ft., more typical for the Hills.

The original 2005 build was upgraded by the owners as they took it over, with faux painting to dress up the walls, upgraded fixtures, epoxy on the floor of the big 3-car garage, wood flooring throughout the basement, and other touches.

We first thought they under-counted the bedrooms for the purposes of the listing. As you find the house now, there are 4br upstairs, another with a closet and attached (private) full bath on the main level, and yet another bedroom suite in the basement. So that makes 6 bedrooms, while they take credit for just 5. (The main floor bedroom is used now as an office.) Alas, Mrs. MBC noted that the basement bedroom lacks a closet, so it doesn't make the cut legally.

We've already mentioned East MB – this is the size of home you'd expect to find on a "full-size" lot on the east side, but with a caliber of finish and detail more befitting its Hill Section location. It's a relatively rare combination that will have families saying, "oh, we don't have to compromise at all – everything we want is here."

There's a price to pay for that in the Hills: $3.599M to start here.

A natural comp is a neighbor on the same block just down the hill on 11th toward downtown: 711 11th (5br/6ba, 4400 sq. ft.), which sold for $3.720M in May. That one gets pluses for being on the western slope and having some views (for now), but the layout was entirely unique and not everyone's fave. The yard was really not a yard – a grassy interior courtyard.

Meantime, go east on 11th and you have a much-less-well-located 90s home crying out for upgrades at 916 11th (5br/4ba, 4700 sq. ft.) which sold even more recently for $2.380M.

848 11th is the easiest to love out of those 3. It is open Sun. 1-4pm.

Disclosure: Dave has toured this home with a client.

Tree Section

570 29th (5br/4ba, 3375 sq. ft.) is maybe unfortunate to follow 848 11th St. in this week's roundup. In many ways, it feels like it aspires to be the same house. But it's smaller and, while quite nice, lacks the plus-plus upgrades of its Hill Section cousin.

It does have the advantage of being offered for $1M less. And it's in one of the westernmost Tree Section locations that you'll find, in sight of Grand View school, just steps from the park and a reasonable walk over the hill to the beach and MB's "second downtown" in the North End. Locationwise, this one may not have the supposed prestige of the Hills, but it certainly prime for the Trees.

This is a 2006 build with a familiar layout – formal living (and dining) up front, flowing to a kitchen/great room in back. The great room seemed quite a bit larger and brighter than average, partly by design and partly due to the many windows along the sunny southern side of the house. That common area opens to the good-sized yard, which is mostly paved for entertaining but features some faux grass as well. (The description calls it "one of the largest, private backyards I've seen in the Tree section." Hmmm, you can't really check that if you don't know what else the listing agent has seen.)

Upstairs, there are 4br plus a large landing area off the master that's shown as an office loft, but could be many things, depending on a family's needs. (They even suggest it might become a 6th bedroom if closed off.) The master is bright and the stone in its bath struck us as a light, beachy choice, just a little different.

The home sold new in 2006 for $2.620M and is offered now at essentially the same price: $2.649M.

570 29th is open Sun. 1-4pm.

3520 Walnut (3br/2ba, 2250 sq. ft.) is out there now at $1.499M, quite a chunk of change, but not so very high nowadays for 2000+ sq. ft. in the Tree Section.

There's a location challenge, to be sure, and the layout is quirky, yet the whole listing is riding on the notion that getting this much space, updated, west of Sepulveda, is a steal under $1.6M.

Did we say "quirky layout?" That's hard to debate. The first level is all garage and laundry; ou'll go upstairs to get the first living spaces, and those have step-ups and step-downs. There's one big family room toward the front, then steps down to the combined kitchen / casual dining / living room. At least we can note that the kitchen is pretty open to the room. Two smallish bedrooms complete that first level down the hall.

And the first-floor bath? Why, that's at the end of the hall, and also serves as your access to the backyard. You actually walk right past the toilet on your way to the split-level yard. So there's that.

Upstairs is the master suite. Oh, this is much, much, much improved from its condition the last time we saw it – as is the whole house – about 10 years ago. A spacious, nice bath. And a balcony with forever views.

Oh yes, the views. The listing has this to say of the home: "sweeping views of sunsets and move-in ready."

Now, let's admit, it's a little bit perilous to tout the "sweeping views" from a home when perhaps the signature feature is views of the refinery to the north, not sunsets to the west. They're mesmerizing views... of the wrong thing.

That may be the hardest thing to get over, but when you've got a livable house in the ZIP code it should find its level.

3520 Walnut starts at $1.499M and is open Sun. 2-4pm.

Sand Section

421 3rd (3br/3ba, 2500 sq. ft.) is a relatively small, not-so-super remodel with a notably peculiar layout.

Is it bright? Is it fairly open? Is it walkable to the beach? Sure.

Is it extra valuable thanks to the glow around the South End these past few years?

Signs point to yes on that one, too. It's going to shock us for the second time in 18 months.

Just 16 months ago, this one really surprised with a quick sale at $1.809M.

Now it has just sold again with a list price of $2.299M, or $490K more. Evidently the offer came in pre-market, but they're still running the opens "just in case."

Last year, $1.8M was kind of a mint for 3br in general. More so when you seet his layout. One big bedroom with fireplace, which has the feel of a "master," shares glass doors with another bedroom and shares its smallish hallway bath with that room, too. So that might give you pause.

A second bedroom suite – smaller and less glamorous than the first "master" but more self-contained – is built over the garage and, oddly, accessed up a separate flight of stairs. There's a little nothing patio between the bedrooms.

Wood flooring throughout the home actually appears to be faux wood; stone flooring is used in one back room.

A stroke for honesty and truth in advertising: Last year, this one was marketed as a 4br. The idea was that you'd close off pocket doors to a little area off one of the living rooms and, voila!, a bedroom. No.

421 3rd began at $2.299M and posted an immediate deal. It's still open Sun. 2-5pm.

East MB

1812 Marine (4br/3ba, 2300 sq. ft.) has been around more than 100 DOM, and other than the obvious location issue, we've been wondering why someone hasn't bought the place yet. 

They're at $950K for a (listed) 4br house, 2300+ sq. ft., a completely custom look everywhere, including naturalistic pool with built-in waterslide and (noisy) waterfalls. It's a lot for MB for the bucks.

In touring, we noted a new issue – there is no garage. It's now a family room. (Or is that the 4th bedroom?)

We could go on about the one-of-a-kind details, but should keep the list short. One quirk is the master bedroom's random grid of saltillo tile and carpet. The polished concrete flooring and counters are another. And the "bedroom" with the closet built out as a hundred-bottle wine cellar, rounded out with a tropical-themed stained-glass window – that might be one of the signature items.

No one is looking for this exact home, but they'll find a number where it starts to strike the imagination. It's a fun tour regardless.

1812 Marine is at $950K and is open Sun. 2-4pm.

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