Weekend Opens (3/16-3/17)

By Dave Fratello | March 16th, 2013

This is a busy weekend, if you'll let it be.

Dave got to 16 properties Friday in around 3 hours, not all of which will be on the MLS or publicly open.

We've written up as many as we could here, but there are more to see. Your challenge is to make it to as many of the public opens this weekend as you can.

Before we jump to the reviews, we'll briefly take note of MBC now beginning its 7th year online. Our 6th anniversary is Saturday. Dating back to 2007, when we launched this little site, who'd have thunk we'd be here today?

It remains fun to produce MBC, and we keep meeting great people through the site, so we're happy to keep it running.

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

585 31st (6br/7ba, 3500 sq. ft.) is new construction on a street-to-alley lot west of Blanche. Though this block may not get all the play and prestige that the tree-lined, flatter portion of 31st gets, it's a great little stretch, downsloping toward now-sleepy Sand Dune Park, with big trees in view from the front portion of the home. It's a great spot.

The home has a pleasing Cape Cod-inspired style, white and bright all around. An unusual plus: A large front porch that you can almost imagine really using. Just try to find another one of these in MB.

The great room in back has just about everything buyers seem to treasure these days: Wide-open spaces, high ceilings, dark flooring, a vast and modern kitchen – with Carrara marble, not granite, counters – and a whole back wall of folding/disappearing doors that open the great room fully to the sunny backyard.

The master suite is in the sunny front half of the house; all the bedrooms are of good size and have their own baths.

The big surprise: A separate guest unit/office over the garage in back, with its own outdoor stairway for access.

You haven't exactly seen this house before, even though it seems so carefully tailored to today's buyer demands.

585 31st starts at $2.849M and is open Sat. & Sun. 1-4pm.

1813 John (4br/5ba, 3550 sq. ft.) is a newer (2007) custom Cape Cod on one of the objectively great streets of the Tree Section.

It seems John keeps drawing all the bidding wars. So here they've priced in the specialness, asking $3M.

The design here is a little different. The halfway buried garage opens up a bright living room at the front of the house, up a partly split level. The main living areas down a couple of stairs are long and flowing, opening to a covered back patio and a small pool. There is a sunny casual dining nook as well as a quite open formal dining room.

Upstairs, all 4br get their own baths. Each room is a little different – no square boxes with flat ceilings to be found. It's a designed distinctiveness, amplified by the extraordinary levels of custom décor. (It would seem you can't get these colors and materials to match up so perfectly without a pro helping out.)

1813 John starts at $2.999M and is open Sun. 2-4pm.

2330 Ardmore (4br/5ba, 4800 sq. ft.) is an absolutely enormous remodel on a lot that's essentially 10,000 sq. ft. (Though you learn in real estate that hillside lots like this one can be very large, but with lots of unusable area.)

This one's a landmark of sorts, one we've often fancied from afar since the current owners bought it (oh my, that was 2004!) and went to work retooling it for themselves.

It's rare to get 3 levels in the Tree Section, but that is achieved here with what seem to be a sprawling series of additions to a smaller, original house.

You enter the main floor off of a brick courtyard with fountain, into a broad, wide and modern-feeling great room space. There are treetop views from this high spot over Ardmore looking to the west and north. (Seems like in the right conditions, you'd see a lot of refinery, but we chose to focus on the rooftops, trees and Sand Section bluffs on the hazy day we visited.)

As great as the main living level spaces are, there's more downstairs. There's now a vast family/game room spreading across the wide space. We don't see bedrooms getting added there, so it probably keeps that basic use in the future. It would be a snap to entertain a pretty sizable group.

The bedroom layout is a little unexpected, though, and despite all the plus-plus square footage, you don't really see this as a home for a "big family."

The large, open master is on the main (middle) living level with a view out to the courtyard. It's got a very modern feel considering the overall traditional look of the home.

Two more smallish bedrooms are poked up on a top level, sharing a bath. The fourth official bedroom is back amid the main living areas on the midlevel, and really serves best as an office or parlor-type room, though by closing the doors off, you do get legal bedroom #4.

There's really nothing else we've seen that compares to this one, with its mix of traditional and modern, super extra square footage and a hillside view lot.

2330 N. Ardmore starts at $2.8M (technically $2.788M), and is open Sat. & Sun. 2-4pm.

1725 Oak (4br/5ba, 3200 sq. ft.) is a masterful execution of an authentic-feeling Spanish, complete with an entry courtyard, and inside, a loving display of woods, bold tiles and wrought iron, and treetop views from many second floor rooms.

It's a big surprise to find along Oak, the easternmost street in western MB, often ignored due to its location challenge – but here's a gorgeous specimen of home building, the proverbial diamond in the rough.

You'll find the layout familiar at first, with the big kitchen/great room in back, opening to a smallish paved back patio area (hey, it's a 4480 sq. ft. lot, only so much you can do). Bonus: A sunken seating area for a firepit.

But the open dining room up front, connected to the courtyard, is a nice twist. Even the 1st floor guest suite connects to it. The burbling fountain almost transports you. Are you on Oak or in Sevilla?

There are 3br upstairs, with the master in back gaining the most from a position in back – it feels woodsy. 

Surprise: The laundry room up toward the front is huge, because it's meant for multiple purposes – "craft room," anyone? It's a great big space to make a mess, and clean up.

It's safe to say that people don't start out shopping in MB targeting an authentic Spanish in an off location, but you can see how someone might fall in love.

1725 Oak was last sold in Dec. 2007 for $2.050M, and starts now pretty close to that level, asking $1.999M. It is open Sun. 2-4pm.

3612 Poinsettia (2br/1ba, 865 sq. ft.) offers literally the most you can do with a little, original cottage, without changing much at all about the original floorplan.

This little cutie has gotten the complete treatment, which the listing calls "Pottery Barn Perfect," but we don't want to suggest it's clichéd at all.

In fact, we want to give credit to these outgoing owners, who adopted a plain-vanilla, rental-caliber original 5 years ago and gave it new life.

We saw a great kitchen remodel, nice rehab and dark stain on the flooring, replacement of doors and mouldings everywhere, and the single bath is updated with a throwback feel – if you'll allow us that wording. Yes, you're showering in a clawfoot tub, for instance, but it's not some 1950s standard-issue deal – it was chosen more recently to feel older, and more authentic, than what you'd have actually found here in 1955.

Hey, what can you do with 865 sq. ft.? It's a small place. But they did everything.

On the plus side, with the small square footage, that's a big and sunny backyard resulting.

Location just a few doors off Rosecrans will give people pause. Location is one reason why homeowners tend to work with what they get rather than pushing for big remodels or rebuilds. Updating and preserving the original is a smart move.

3612 Poinsettia last traded in July 2008 at $849K, before the remodel.

It starts now at $975K, and is open Sun. 1-4pm.

1312 Walnut (3br/3ba, 2100 sq. ft.) hides most of its assets from passersby. The 1950s cottage with an add-on over the garage looks plain as could be from outside, and its yard is enclosed by a high fence. You could pass it 100 times and never take note of this home, though it's on a corner and is fully exposed on 2 sides.

But walk in and you're treated. Enter into the great room and a mid-century modern type feel kicks in at first, with floor-to-ceiling windows along the sunny western side of the home, making an already open room feel that much larger. The garden seems to be part of the room.

The kitchen (and master) is done up in a more French country style, which is attractive, if not everyone's cup of tea café au lait.

You feel the original cottage layout, with a central hall and bedrooms on either side, but what would have been your 3rd bedroom downstairs is a hybrid room – maybe a small study or library, with laundry just off of it and the stairwell up to the master as well. And that's a good-size master with modern-feeling bath.

1312 Walnut was purchased in a different market in different condition: in May 2010 at $1.250M. The current owners layered on pricey remodeling and transformed the place.

1312 Walnut, refreshed and revived, starts now at $1.599M, the sort of price that might have gotten you 700-1000 square feet more just a couple of years ago. It is open Sat. & Sun. 1-4pm.

1708 Elm (4br/3ba, 3100 sq. ft.) is a newer (2003) modern in the Tree Section. Its basic profile is extremely similar to Dave's new listing at 700 27th, so rather than offer a review here at MB Confidential, we're going to limit our post here to the content of the official listing description:

A Sophisticated Showpiece w/ A Warm Casual Vibe. This Custom Built (Baldwin Construction) Home Features an Architectural Modern Design, Built w/ High-End Finishes. 4 Bdrms, Office, Bonus Rm, 3 Bathrooms, Backyard, Built-in Fireplace, Laundry Room, 2 Car Garage with 2 Car Additional Parking Spaces on a Flat Driveway (ideal for shooting hoops - already there!). The Home Features CUSTOM Brazilian Cherry Wood Floors & Limestone Floors, Cabinetry, Shelving, Tiles & Fixtures, Motorized Skylights, Security System w/ Built-In Monitors & Custom Commercial Grade Dual Paned Fleetwood Windows & Sliders. An Oversized Living Rm Showcases Lami Glass, a Custom Entertainment Center, Floor to Ceiling Sliders & a Fireplace. A Gourmet Kitchen w/ a Center Island (Room for Barstools) & Formal Dining Area (that can Comfortably Accommodate Seating for 10) are Opened to the Family Room that offer 10 Foot Wall-to-Wall Glass Sliding Doors that Lead to the Back Yard which also has a Built-in BBQ. The Bonus Rm can be used as a Playroom or Storage. The Master Suite has 2 Closets & the Larger Walkin could also be used as a 2nd Office/ Nursery/Work Out Room, etc. The Laundry Room is located Upstairs, Next to the Bedrooms. There is also a Family Room & an Office. A MUST See!!

1708 Elm starts at $2.100M and is open Sat. & Sun. 1-5pm.

712 Marine (5br/4ba, 3250 sq. ft.) is a newer Cape Cod (2004) nearly at the corner of Marine and 25th, an "upper" portion of Marine that doesn't get quite the level of traffic that you'll see west of Blanche, where Marine becomes a gateway to the beach.

It's hard to describe the layout here adequately – there are lots of stairs and level changes, with a step-up entry, step-up living room in front, open dining room along the hallway back, and a step-down great room in back. To the plus side, the kitchen/great room have very, very high ceilings.

If you want the big, grassy yard, look elsewhere. This sunny yard has potential, but now hosts a sports court and outdoor bar.

The master and bedrooms are all nicely appointed, with the master in back getting treetop views that give is a true "retreat" feeling that you would not expect on Marine.

There's a little extra bonus square footage downstairs at the garage level, with a home gym space. It is just right for that use.

712 Marine sold new in Aug. 2005 for $2.075M, and starts now 16% higher at $2.399M.

712 Marine is open Sun. 2-4pm.

Sand Section

2417 Crest (3br/4ba, 2300 sq. ft.) is a rear-unit TH that gets great ocean views from a recently remodeled, wide-open space up top. Indeed, the whole home, a 2002 build, got a thorough re-do with panache in 2009, and it's got several signature elements that stick with you.

Two unique features jump out: The long (14' long) built-in, modern dining table stretching from the kitchen – a bold statement, and seemingly functional. It defines the home as an entertaining space.

A little back patio off the kitchen has been given marvelous purpose with disappearing doors and an indoor/outdoor countertop that merges the spaces when windows are folded away. Wide open, the little patio becomes a defining element of the home – fully a part of the living spaces, not some little deck you never use.

There's a cooking fireplace out there, too, which the description calls a "South African Braai-style fireplace," which we're happy to repeat here. That's the first time in 6+ years that we've had occasion to use that phrase on MB Confidential.

The master has been redone in a high-gloss modern style, and is reasonably spacious. The 2 kids' bedrooms downstairs aren't too big – well, it is the beach – but have nice baths.

Pricewise, this one is shooting above $1,000/PSF, and calls to mind 2305 Bayview (4br/4ba, 2600 sq. ft.), a really, really smashing and complex modern remodel of a slightly bigger TH that sold for $2.3M in April 2012. That one had some views, but nothing like 2417 Crest. ("It's like sitting on top of the world," says the listing for Crest.)

2417 Crest starts at $2.399M and is open Sun. 12-2pm.

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