Weekend Opens (5/21-5/22)

By Dave Fratello | May 21st, 2011
It must be Spring, because the Snoop has returned. (No, not the guy kicked out of Mira Costa last week.)

Of the 6 homes on this year's Sophisticated Snoop tour, 5 are in MB, including 2 near each other in the South End – a beachy treat and a European delight. You can go to any of the homes on the tour from 10-4 on Sat. or Sun. and buy tix at the door for $30 each. For more on the tour and links to the properties, see Janie Sue Nagy's post.

The Snoop options are great, but there's at least one option this weekend that could be a feature on the tour, too: 416 10th, but it's free. See our review below, and plan to drop in Sat. or Sun.

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

910 2nd (5br/4ba, 3400 sq. ft.) is a dozen years old, but shares the basic look and feel of lots of newer homes in the Hill and even Sand sections by this particular local architect.

Of the listed 5br, there are 4 downstairs, while one upstairs is an office and probably would remain as such. Downstairs, the master in back has tall ceilings and a surprising feeling of grandeur in a fairly modest space. Across the hall are 2 smallish kid rooms that share a bath, putting the whole fam in very close proximity. The fourth br up front is more of a separate guest suite.

You build upside-down layouts to feature views. Mostly, 2nd doesn't have them – there are peeks from the front office and living room, but the views from there require an effort. The big views are off the  deck in back off the kitchen/great room. The PV+blue views are great now, though we should note that a maxed-out house replacing the nice, but older, house in back could seriously challenge the views in the future.

Busy 2nd St. is going to be a factor for a lot of people – traffic is quite noticeable from the office or front living room. 

We've seen 910 2nd before. The sellers tried in 2008 at $2.895m and took some cuts later. They tried again in 2010 and were at $2.299m in June 2010. That's where they restart now.

910 2nd restarts at $2.299m and is open Sun. 1-4pm.

707 Anderson (5br/4ba, 3800 sq. ft.) is an extra-large custom Spanish built in 1990. It's quite big, but most buyers will want to update it.

Of the home's 5br, there are 4 downstairs in this upside-down layout, including one of the 2 master suites. A big kitchen and 2 living rooms are upstairs, including a sunny, southern-exposed deck right off the living area.

The smallish back yard – now dominated by a lap pool – feels somewhat more like the Tree Section than the Hills.

Now at $1.949m, 707 Anderson is open Sun. 2-4pm.

Sand Section

416 10th (4br/6ba, 4300 sq. ft.) has to be the highlight of the weekend, at least among the free open houses.

It's an abundantly custom, European-styled home (some Spanish and French details and accents) with a pleasantly different layout and flow to it.

At every turn, some small detail makes you take note of how inspired the build was – a unique type of distressing treatment to the wood floors that gives them a very old, yet clean look; little flower designs etched into the wrought-iron handrails on the stairs; true plaster walls with trowel marks and curves at the ceilings that lend an almost ancient air. There are dozens of little "wow" moments throughout as you see the quality materials and thoughtful implementation.

On the walkstreet level, the 2004 build offers a big living room that opens out to the front patio – which should be de rigueur for newer walkstreet homes, but you don't always see it – plus a very private guest suite in back. Three more bedrooms are on the midlevel, including the master with a florid, centuries-old, hand-carved, imported Indian door. The whole suite seems huge. Top level includes terra cotta floors and a huge kitchen.

416 10th is one of those homes that's hard to reduce to words, even as we try. Definitely worth a look.

416 10th starts at $3.295m, and is open Sat. & Sun. 1-4pm.

3120 Alma (3br/2ba, 1425 sq. ft.) is probably a lot sale, and a bigger-than-normal (3500 sq. ft.) lot at that – on a corner with ocean views.

The 1920s original home tugs at our preservationist instincts – isn't there a way to make this little place work somehow?

But it needs everything. New kitchen and baths are obvious. Fixing the odd addition in back to make it real living space – and to erase the mistake of dividing a bathroom down the middle with a hallway – could require some serious construction.

And if you do all that work, you've still got a pretty small, one-story house that will raise the same question the next time it hits the market: Wouldn't it be better to scrape this and start over?

The more interesting question is what the right price is for a lot of this size and location up on the plateau. We don't see a lot of trades like that. Though this is yet another in a seemingly endless supply of homes along Alma to come up for sale.

3120 Alma starts at $1.495m, and is open Sun. 1-4pm. 

462 36th Place (2br/2ba, 1200 sq. ft.) requires us to do a little rewrite.

The home's been redone substantially since its last purchase in 2008, evidently at great expense, and it's different – no longer the shabby, slapdash remodel with utterly bizarre features that we called a "Turkey" in 2007.

There are now real wood floors, not Pergo installed on the fly. The kitchen is still a small alley, but it's upgraded. The baths are modern.

Maybe the biggest change: What we once called the "Tower of Horrors" has been rebuilt. The stairs up used to be too steep and narrow; now they're normal. A loft area that was effectively the third floor, but accessed only by a flimsy ladder, has actually been built out as a proper third story – with a real floor and real stairs.

The home can now be said to have 3br, one on each level, though the middle "bedroom" still has no separate door to seal if off from the stairs up or down.

Is 462 36th Place now a gem or dream home? Not exactly. It's a tight fit with an odd layout in a poor location on an alley. But it's more credible now than it was the last time around, when the current owners paid $825k.

Oh, go ahead and say it now: MBC has gone soft. (Disclosure: We got a free sandwich during our tour.) The fact is, there's been real change and we needed to recognize that.

462 36th Place starts at $925k, and is open Sat. & Sun. 1-4pm.

319 32nd Place (1br/1ba, 525 sq. ft.) is a cute little place for your flip-flops and board, though not much else.

Yes, that's just 525 sq. ft. of living space, and the outside ain't much to look at, though the interior's got its charms.

Mostly this seems to be a chance to park yourself on an alley half lot (1350 sq. ft.) for one of the lowest prices we've seen in the Sand: now $699k.

The home needn't be scraped at once, but practically it can serve only as a weekend getaway or the home of a single person... maybe a couple with no plans to expand the family.

An intriguing option would be to hold the land till the neighboring half-lot (adjoining 32nd) can be acquired. Maybe an option soon, maybe not. A street-to-alley lot here would offer better development options. 

319 32nd Place is at $699k and is open Sun. 2-4pm.

Tree Section

How do you like the 700 block of 29th? This week you have 2 options.

705 29th (5br/4ba, 3750 sq. ft.) is an early-90s custom build with some updates. If you know this builder's name, you know to raise your expectations.

The phrase "lovingly maintained" in the listing might warn you that nothing's been brought into the 21st century, but we thought a couple of baths had a polished, newer look and the kitchen did not all have to be 20 years old.

Overall the layout offers all the things you might hope for in a good floorplan – a first-floor bedroom tucked away that might serve older guests equally well as it might be the family office. Lots of open, but separately defined living spaces around the downstairs spaces, opening nicely to the back patio. Upstairs, 3 of the 4br are together, while another is truly a separate suite with its own staircase up in front. The master and its bath are quite large, and while you might update the materials, it's not urgent.

The walkway in front and the whole back yard/patio feature newer pavers that give a sharp, newer look, distancing the home from its birthdate.

At $1.875m, the location, condition and flow frankly blow away some contenders at or near the price point.

705 29th starts at $1.875m and is open Sun. 1-4pm.

743 29th (4br/3ba, 2025 sq. ft., 8400 sq. ft. lot) is probably yet another lot sale.

Can you remember so many lot sales hitting the public market, let alone going up for public opens? Some years ago, you never saw the choices – spec builders did. Now, each week brings 1-3 more for all of us to see.

The existing rancher here – originally a 1930s build, but probably added to since – wraps around a central, concrete courtyard and the garage, tucked in back. The home isn't decrepit, but it's not too big and it'll be hard to draw nearly $2m for the privilege of living in this house.

To sell this as a unique option, the listing chirps, "You've waited over 55 years for this one."

Do we expect a 55+ buyer?

The listing also calls this a "double corner lot, A+ tree section location," which is a little harder to argue with – though the lot probably is not splittable, just big.

743 29th starts at $1.849m, but check out the big neighboring lot at 2920 Agnes, where construction is under way now. That lot sold for $2.1m in Feb. 2010. It's 10,800 sq. ft., a full 22% larger than 29th. If lot square footage were precisely comparable, you'd be near $1.65m for 29th.

743 29th is open Sun. 2-5pm.

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