Weekend Opens (7/2-7/3)

By Dave Fratello | July 2nd, 2011
Sometimes these holiday weekends feature a near-boycott of new listings, but not this year.

So enjoy a few new offerings this weekend before switching gears to beach time, cold beverages and explosive fun. Happy 4th to you.

To plan your open-house tours for this week, use MB Confidential's online list of Manhattan Beach open houses (it's mobile-friendly!).

As usual, we appreciate it when readers share views on this week's featured properties. Let us know what you like, don't like or must have.

And if you're in active the market or thinking about it, please consider asking MBC for help in identifying the right agent for your needs. See our referrals page for a little more.

Sand Section

3315 Alma (3br/4ba, 2625 sq. ft.) raises expectations. You see a home with a top-of-the-hill Alma location, and you immediately think: "How good are the ocean views?" (Great.)

You see the exterior modern styling, and think, "How slick is it inside?" (Very.)

It looks like half-lot TH, though it's an SFR, and you think, "How many actual, usable bedrooms does it have, and how small are they?" (Not!)

And you see that start price: $2.450m, and you think: "This had better be good."

Skeptics, rejoice, because 3315 Alma will actually exceed expectations and prove very pleasant along the way to doing so. We'll let the market call whether it's a 2.4-ish house, but it's definitely special.

The home sold new in 2008 for $2.1m, a bit of a discount from the spec builder's request for more than $2.3m. The current owner poured some major effort into customization, netting a feature in Coastal Living magazine thereafter. We couldn't link to that mag spread, but we did find a line from the story calling the home's style "modern Balinese." Hello, Bali!

It's a compelling idea house with big views and even a little grassy yard (on Alma!), definitely worth a tour.

3315 Alma starts at $2.450m, and is open Sun. 2-5pm.

424 8th (3br/4ba, 3750 sq. ft.) is having a little trouble getting traction one month into its listing, which is saying something, because flat walkstreet homes generally draw quick interest.

The home is an early-90s custom build that's a bit formal in its current décor, slightly dated in some other ways, though the largely original kitchen must have been very forward-looking at the time, because it's great as is. (The butler's pantry with warmer drawer is a great custom detail.)

Recognizing that having just 3br is a major limiting factor for buyers, the sellers now offer plans & a construction cost estimate to add a 4th and/or 5th bedroom, even an elevator. (Where have we heard of that tactic before? Oh yeah, in "The Vision Thing" a couple weeks ago.) The gist seems to be that you'd convert a formal living room in back on the middle floor – which hosts the kitchen, dining area and a second living room – into a bedroom suite.

With or without a construction project, there's still a layout issue, with 2br downstairs and the master consuming the top floor. Some families are reluctant to put the parents on a different floor than the kids; do you want them 2 floors down with their own exits? Only on the walkstreets, perhaps. Also, looking at the master, it's a curious bath, with vast space devoted to the spa tub, but the steam shower hidden away behind a door. 

A rave: The 3rd floor deck in back – especially the top tier – features some of the most interesting views you can get on the walkstreets. Look south, and there's a peek at the ocean and a goodly amount of PV on the horizon, plus plenty of the MB and Hermosa hill sections just to the east. You get a terrific sense of place from those sights and the other rooftops around the walkstreets. (This great asset is not featured in the pics, so you'll have to visit to see what we mean.)

Not lost on us: You're mere steps from downtown, and 3 minutes from the beach.

If the home isn't clicking yet at $2.795m, you can gather why from some of our description. The home has potential to be a good fit for someone, but there are issues and concerns. And being a walkstreet home doesn't guarantee action on a listing.

321 7th  
Not so far away, at 321 7th, you find a comparably sized home (5br/4ba, 3625 sq. ft.) with 5br already and a more traditional family layout, not to mention one that opens up to the walkstreet somewhat better than 8th does. For whatever reasons, 7th is lingering a bit now, over 2 months on market, at $2.695m – less money for a home that's more ready-to-go.

No, nothing's easy, not even on the walkstreets.

424 8th is at $2.795m, and is open Sat. & Sun. 2-4pm.

Tree Section

2811 Pine (5br/3ba, 3200 sq. ft.) offers a lot of land (8410 sq. ft.) for the Trees and 5 bedrooms, therefore naturally inviting a comparison to a home with similar characteristics that just sold for more than $2m, 3403 Laurel (6br/4ba, 3600 sq. ft., $2.111m).

2811 Pine isn't Laurel; it really belongs in a different conversation.

This conversation is about a home that sports a 1947 build date, with maybe a few stages of remodeling and adding-on to account for the unusual layout. There are 3 smallish bedrooms on the entry level (one now an office with built-ins), but the home also steps down to allow access to another bedroom, while the master (5th br) is a big 2-room suite one floor above the entry level with its own big, private view deck.

With the home built along a downslope, both the side yard and the ample decks off the kitchen have multiple tiers; a large pool beckons on the lowest level. There are some views to the west, mostly just a sense of wide-open sky that you don't get in most Tree Section locations confined to gridlike lots with homes all around. The listing calls 2811 Pine a "private resort," and if that's a stretch, at least we know what they're getting at.

The unusual layout and the exterior styling will take some adjusting to for a person to truly love it, but on the plus side, about an hour after our tour, we heard another agent at a different home call Pine his favorite of the day.

2811 Pine starts at $1.899m and is open Sat. & Sun. 2-4pm.

It's almost unfair to use this exterior shot of 2904 Pine (3br/3ba, 2675 sq. ft.) as an indication of what you get. Sure, outside, it's a narrow, slightly odd and quite forgettable 60s box, but inside, it's a sharp, inspired, clean, modern remodel that evokes an art-gallery feeling. You really should check out the pics in the listing.

The living space is functional and features nearly unparalleled treetop views to the west and south from the kitchen and dining areas on the top floor.

The remodel really got our attention because your blog author checked out this home when it was last offered in 2005. The dramatic contrast was all the more striking as result – we can remember touring the frumpy, tired old 60s home, and this was not it.

Walls were moved or removed, and a simple, chic aesthetic took root all across the house – white walls, dark floors, bright lights, clean and timeless stone for countertops, and a high-end kitchen to round out the modern look. Sometimes when you see dated old places, you try to figure out how to refashion them, and here's an impressive case of vision converted to a new reality.

In the end, the home is still peculiar, it really has no yard, and 3br will always limit the buyer pool, but the sellers aren't shooting the moon. They seem to be trying to find a level that makes sense given the pros and cons. See a bit further below for what else you get at around $1.3m in the Trees. This one's compelling.

2904 Pine starts at $1.375m, and is open Sat. & Sun. 1-4pm.

660 29th (5br/4ba, 3450 sq. ft.) is an 11-year-old Cape Cod that offers a pretty sweet execution of a familiar Tree Section layout. The one full bedroom suite downstairs is sizable but does not impose on the big, formal living room, dining area or the large kitchen/great room combo in back.

Indeed, the downstairs living spaces and the master suite all, for some reason, seemed much larger than is typical, but we confirmed that the lot is just 40' wide (standard for the block) and it's just a matter of how the build was done that these spaces seem bigger.

The back yard is a nice combination of a formal patio area with built-in BBQ and a grassy (turf) play area with palm trees swaying overhead.

660 29th was purchased new for $1.288m in Aug. 2000, a pretty amazing $862k (-40%) less than the start price now. It's vacant so we're going to see it trade.

Photos have been slow to come online, so your best hope to see 29th in the short term is to visit.

660 29th starts at $2.150m, and is open Sun. 1-4pm.

1308 Elm (3br/2ba, 1400 sq. ft.) is a smallish 50s cottage that's benefited from a recent remodel. The kitchen's new, the baths are new, the floors are polished and the paint is fresh.

Those details are nice, but there are some caveats. What counts as the 3rd bedroom is, well, different – a step-down room off the living room (actually a converted garage) in front with tile floors, and adjoining the laundry room and kitchen. No bedroom is very sizable, and the one they call the master is one point of access to the back yard. (You can also go out the side from the laundry room.)

Back to the plus side, that back yard is ample and offers a bonus room (~350 sq. ft.) atop the garage, a pretty sweet little room. And you may note that the front of the home does not suffer from "garage face" syndrome – that's because of an unusual "flag lot" layout – the garage is actually accessed off of a narrow pathway off of 14th street (a 10' by 40' deeded driveway), cutting along the back of the lot for neighboring 1312 Elm (2br/1ba, 1050 sq. ft., 4080 sq. ft. lot), which happens to now be in escrow at $799k. With that extra strip of land, 1308 Elm boasts a 4880 sq. ft. lot. (The other neighbor, at 1304 Elm, is also up for sale, making for a threesome.)

1308 Elm is offered at $1.299m, and is open Sun. 1-4pm.

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