Weekend Opens (3/3-3/4)

By Dave Fratello | March 3rd, 2012
It's time again for that long-running MB tradition, the Little League Parade. Here's hoping you're part of it, or at least free to witness Saturday morning's events. The kids are in full dress uniforms, ready for baseball season to begin: the least you can do is show up and wave!

We're glad to see inventory loosening up a month after the Super Bowl, Spring finally starting to look like Spring. This week we'll take a look at a few new offerings, but you'll also see that the open-house options are growing every week.

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

3601 Elm (5br/3ba, 2400 sq. ft.) is a very pleasant surprise on a block you may not get up to often. But take a look, because you will rarely find such a sweet home west of the highway for under $1.4m.

This one is just about as far north and east you can get in the Trees without being on the little block of Oak that looks at the hotel and commercial properties. You're a half block from Rosecrans, though that's downhill some from the home, and the refinery doesn't seem to loom from here as it does from other Rosecrans-adjacent blocks.

Accept the location, walk in, and be charmed. This 1960s home needs nothing. It's very crisply updated inside and out. At most homes, you could only imagine a garden so creative and pretty, front and back. And it seems they got around to making the most of the landscaping only after refreshing the interior and giving it just the right amount of custom upgrades. The kitchen – take note of the big pantry – is big, open, 21st-century with nice woods.

Is that really 5br? Yes, with 2 down and 3 up, one of the downstairs bedrooms benefiting from french doors out to the back patio/yard. The master opens out to a sun porch in back.

This is a nice example of the rule we like to point to from time to time: You can live very comfortably in square footate in the mid-2000s or so. You can have two living rooms, separate dining – even 5br! Just use the space efficiently. (OK, if your "formal dining" is impeded by garage access, that's a compromise, but did we mention 5br?)

3601 Elm starts at $1.359m, and is open Sun. 1-4pm.

3504 Palm (5br/4ba, 3450 sq. ft.) is a big late-90s home with some early-oughts updates, a pretty clean feel all around.

The location here is comparable in some ways to 3601 Elm though, obviously, not quite as far east. We did take note of views of the refinery here and there outside and from upstairs windows, so that is what it is.

You've seen this layout before – an oversized, grand, 2-story living room at the entry, guest suite tucked away off to the side, formal dining (maybe on the small side), and a good-sized kitchen/great room opening to the yard. That fully hardscaped back yard was a might larger than we had anticipated on this 4640 sq. ft. lot. We're told the hot tub back there stays; no word yet on the keg fridge.

Most of the flooring on the 1st level is travertine, more interesting than the plain-vanilla varieties that spread all around in the early part of the 2000s. The great room has an unusual whitish wood flooring that was not a big plus. The cabinetry in the kitchen is uneven.

Upstairs you have 4br, including a quite nice master and 2br sharing a jack-and-jill bath. There's also a bonus office/playroom up a couple steps at the front.

3504 Palm last traded at $1.349m in Jan. 2004, a $325k markup over a Jan. 2003 price, reflecting the added value of that early-oughts upgrade (can you say "flipper?"), we'll assume – along with the happy coincidence of a (then) rapidly inflating price bubble.

3504 Palm starts now at $1.750m, and is open Sun. 1-4pm.

704 Marine (3br/3ba, 2025 sq. ft.) is a late-1940s original with some updates from, perhaps, the 1970s and a bit later. It retains its classic old-MB feel while offering just enough space for a small family to spread out.

You'll enter into the living room with fireplace, while the kitchen and 2 dining areas are off to the right. There's one bedroom with its own bath on that first level, while a half bath serves the living areas. A den with closet opens out to a nice deck in back over the yard.

That means the master and third bedroom are upstairs. The kids' room is cute, with a full corner of windows, and reasonably sized. The master is quite large with a (dated) full-sized master bath with perhaps a third of the ceiling being skylights.

The 4400 sq. ft. lot has its garage tucked in back, like in the olden days, creating a side-yard space from the driveway and extra hardscape in back that connects to the grassy patch/yard and deck to create a pretty interesting outdoor living setup. The garage is half storage and half bonus room.

704 Marine starts at $1.299m, and is open Sun. 1-4pm.

1700 Elm (5br/5ba, 3200 sq. ft.) is posing a real challenge to the notion that everyone wants a nice Tree Section house, a newer Cape Cod if possible, and, like, yesterday.

Yes, there's demand, and 1700 Elm aims to fill it. But at $2.189m to start, they are aiming high.

We like how the home's been built into an upsloping lot with the garage tucked beneath. That opens up the main floor. There's a good-sized formal living room that faces west/southwest, has high ceilings and is so bright and cheery, we may reconsider the idea of a formal living room being a forgotten space; an artifact of older notions of home layouts. People might actually want to hang out in here. It's great.

The 1st floor bedroom (now an office) isn't so huge, and neither is the formal dining area, set off by half/pony walls. The kitchen/great room in back are very decent, taking some of that extra 1st-floor space and opening to a narrow yard on this 4480 sq. ft. lot.

All the bedrooms upstairs (4) were charming, and the master not overly huge. Laundry's upstairs as well (why did it take till the 2000s for builders to figure out this is where laundry rooms belong?). 

The location here raises questions when you come to price; 17th St. is somewhat affected by traffic.

1700 Elm first hit the market as a speckie a full 6 years ago, late March 2006, asking $2.4m. It hung around a full 6 months – wait, a new Cape Cod in a bubble year hung around 6 months? – and eventually traded for $2.260m. That '06 acquisition price may be the best explanation for the $2.2-ish start this year.

1700 Elm begins at $2.189m and is open Sat. & Sun. 1-4pm.

East MB

1750 Ruhland (5br/5ba, 3850 sq. ft.) flows naturally from a discussion of 1700 Elm, because it's a very nice Cape Cod with a location challenge – far greater than Elm's – and they're also pushing above $2m.

Everything at Ruhland is just bigger, as the 3800+ square feet would suggest. The formal living room is bigger than most, with 2-story ceilings and lots of windows. Just across the hallway, the formal dining room is just plain large.

Room divider in the master  
Each bedroom gets its own bath, and the master is truly huge, with an L-shaped walk-in closet and, in the bedroom area, an architectural curiosity – an arched room divider that creates a little reading area or office space by the window. (Wonder why that never caught on.)

If you're going east of the highway, you'd like to get the big yard. On this 7500 sq. ft. lot, you do, with an attractive pool and spa taking up half the space, a patio and grass area with some little trees on the other half.

Again we think of 1700 Elm, because 1750 Ruhland traded in the last bubbly year, 2007. They asked as much as $2.375m back then, ran about 6 months on market and sold a little over $2.2m – $2.225m.

They're trying to get most of that '07 price back now, asking $2.120m to begin this year. Funny, just last year, they ran 5 months at $1.961m. 

1750 Ruhland is open Sat. & Sun. 1-4pm.

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