Weekend Opens (3/17-3/18)

By Dave Fratello | March 17th, 2012
Rain can diminish open-house visits, so this weekend may be challenging. But if you're interested in a new listing, don't assume they're closed. On Friday, a few new listings we visited had agents vowing to open up "rain or shine."

Inventory continues to expand. Tree Section buyers will find 3 attractive new options, the must-see of which might be 2001 Pacific, a freshly remodeled little cottage, though it's a close call. No doubt the most curious option for the weekend is the first on our list, 1027 Boundary Place in the Hills – see that for something truly unique.

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

If you've ever been in a house in MB like 1027 Boundary Place (4br/4ba, 3250 sq. ft.), let us know. Because this one is different, surprising, a head-scratcher at points. But charming somehow – odd, yet kinda nice... it may grow on you.

The home has an Old World inspiration. No Cape Cod or Caliterranean here.

The layout is unusual, with its U-shape built around a central courtyard ("a resort-inspired outdoor grotto," per the listing). One office/bedroom suite is down a half flight of stairs in front, while on the other side of the courtyard, there's a family room/game room (still housing a pool table in an otherwise vacant house) plus a small, dark bedroom suite.

A long hallway to the living & dining rooms in back (up a half flight of stairs) runs along the somewhat remodeled kitchen, just to the right and up a few steps. This odd setup is meant to give ocean and sky views to the kitchen and especially the family room – and succeeds. With most of the homes in the view lines built up, you see quite a bit of ocean from south toward the north, and truly have that sense of being high on a hill by the sea. (A panorama placed in the listing pics gives you a sense, but that's taken from a little rooftop deck and doesn't convey much when reduced to a little slot on your computer screen.)

The family room, with soaring, beamed ceilings, is divided down the middle by a huge 3-sided fireplace. True wood divided windows (they say "wall to wall french windows" in the listing) add to the European flair.

Split-level master with jacuzzi tub  
Up the stairs and to the top you'll find 2 smallish bedrooms sharing a hallway bath, and then a split-level master with the jacuzzi tub right out in the room. The room is a little hard to figure without staging, but it's a big space with those high, beamed ceilings. The very large shower and commode are off in a separate room tucked away in back. As with all the home's baths, everything has been recently redone with new stone and tile. A very long walk-in closet features sliding mirrored doors – looks like a room reclaimed as closet space. Bonus: A ladder in the master grants access to the suite's private rooftop deck with panoramic views.

Sometimes, words don't convey enough, and we're feeling like this review falls short of saying what you'll find up at 1027 Boundary. So make the trip.

1027 Boundary Place starts at $1.649m – hey, that's a tiny PPSF for the Hills – and is open Sat. & Sun. 12-4pm.

Tree Section

2705 Maple (4br/3ba, 2825 sq. ft.) aims to hit the sweet spot for Tree Section buyers. It's a very nicely updated late-70s home with some 21st-century flavor. It's got 4 full br including one downstairs guest suite with its own private little patio.

Yes, the sunken, 2-story living room is a dated feature, but it's a nice space if you accept it for what it is. The great room, sprawling out from a gorgeous kitchen, could be very cozy. The current layout treats this space as informal dining plus family desk space, but it might be better used as a family room.

Upstairs, the master is quite large and tastefully done, with treetop views to the west. Very pleasant. Of the other 2br, one is clearly the superior one, with more space and light. The other is a little dollhouse room with a low, sloping ceiling.

The tiny yard out back, oddly positioned downstairs from a narrow deck, works out as a disappointment. That, plus the need to accept the downstairs layout, will at least give some buyers pause. But the home has enough pluses – including location on a nice block – that there's no doubt people will see the balance and say, "yes."

2705 Maple starts at $1.525m, and is open Sat. & Sun. 1-4pm.

2001 Pacific (3br/2ba, 1070 sq. ft.) is a new example of that bygone art, the flip.

Let's focus on the art first. This is no wham-bam, "here's your granite, stainless and fresh paint" kind of remodel. There was a real vision behind the overhaul, which was to create a unique kind of beach cottage with throwback appeal.

The original floors got revived with a 21st-century dark stain. The kitchen is quite open to the common living/dining space – not what you'd see in most 50s cottages – and besides the high-end appliances, they put real care into the choice of cabinetry and countertops, using a limestone that appears to show embedded fossils of sea creatures. That's the beach talking.

The baths, too, have character and a modern feel. The master gets carrara marble, which is "back" with a vengeance.

Though inside, the living spaces are small, there's a huge and sunny, west-facing backyard with a new deck and new grass. You rarely find a 4800 sq. ft. lot feeling this enormous.

Of the 3br, one is quite small – just enough – while the others will host a bed and minimal furniture. It's a 50s cottage. People were wise not to have too much stuff. If you can live minimally, this one's a happy dream.

Public records show that 2001 Pacific was acquired for $690k in November last year. The refreshed and revived cottage starts now at $1.059m, and is open Sat. & Sun. 12-3pm.

2559 Valley (4br/4ba, 3050 sq. ft.) is a very nicely executed, newer Cape Cod whose location is both a big deal, pricewise, and maybe not such a big deal, livingwise.

That's a way of saying that of course this home takes a discount for being on busy Valley, not some neighborhood-y block without a ton of traffic out front, but once you get inside, Valley seems a surprisingly minor factor. Even with the door open, we found the traffic noise minimal. Inside, the home was clearly built with insulation and intelligent design so that while indoors, you just feel like you're in a big, lovely house – no imposition from the outside.

Like 2705 Walnut, this one is just 4br, with a guest bedroom downstairs. Attractive wide-plank walnut floors line all the major living spaces. The kitchen is expansive and above-average; the whole great room seems a share bigger than you find in many homes with this layout. The yard in back is better than many in the Trees, still not big – more than you might expect on a 4250 sq. ft. lot like this.

Twice before in hot markets, buyers found 2559 Valley to be a must-have. It sold twice in the bubble years, first new in 2004 for $1.559m, later in Sept. 2007 for $2.155m – this was actually a major overbid in Fall 2007 over a $1.999m list price.

2559 Valley starts now at $1.879m and is open Sat. & Sun. 1-4pm.

East MB

1126 6th (3br/2ba, 1050 sq. ft.) is darling on the merits, though very heavily decorated in a shabby-chic "Provence" style that really must be appreciated by the buyer. Change the style, you change everything about the look and feel of the home, and suddenly the older parts of this 1950s cottage may just feel old.

For a little cottage, it's got an enormous master with updated bath (updated except the reclaimed-wood cabinetry). It's also got a huge and lush yard that begins with a very big, covered deck that's now set up for al fresco dining, and we think they really use it as such. It's almost a focal point of the house.

Tax records call this a 3br home; we found 2 inside, suggesting that the big master at some point claimed another, smaller bedroom. Check out the substantial bonus space out back as well, that's a nice asset.

1126 6th is priced at $1.125m, and is open Sat. & Sun. 2-4pm.

1716 11th (3br/2ba, 2000 sq. ft.) is a very challenging visit.

The 1960 original is really quite original, run-down and cluttered. A dumpster in the driveway is full, and they're only part way into the cleanup. The listing pics provide a fair and balanced look at its current state.

Trying to look past the distractions of the home's condition, we noted that there's a big great room at the entry off the smallish kitchen, a master downstairs with a large bath (also serving guests/family areas downstairs), plus 2 bedrooms upstairs, the larger one of which has become more of a media room. (And smoking room... be warned.)

This 7500 sq. ft. lot does offer some extra space in back, though the garage is back there behind the house. We didn't scope out the yard much.

Locationwise, this is quite close to the ball fields and other attractions of Manhattan Heights, walkable to Pennekamp and the Middle School, and of course Polliwog.

It's a project, being sold "as-is," and meant to be priced accordingly at $999k. 1716 11th is open, rain or shine, Sat. & Sun. 1-4pm.

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