UncategorizedWhat $1.7 Million Buys You in California

What $1.7 Million Buys You in California


This house was designed by Eldridge Theodore Spencer, a local architect, as a home and theatrical studio for Merle Marston, the daughter of a prominent Berkeley family and a teacher of dance and acting. Details in the home reflect its dual purpose: A door leading from the kitchen to the stage (now a dining area) is frameless, creating the illusion of a solid wall, and there is a passageway from a front hall closet to the bathroom to facilitate costume changes during performances. Woven into the design are hand-painted florals by Mr. Spencer’s wife, Jeanette Spencer, a painter whose murals can be seen at the Ahwahanee hotel, in Yosemite National Park, also designed by Mr. Spencer.

The property is a few blocks from the University of California campus, and the quiet neighborhood is popular with current and former faculty.

Size: 1,246 square feet

Price per square foot: $1,360

Indoors: A stone path leads from the sidewalk to the front door; beyond it is a small foyer that opens to the living room.

The half-timbered plaster ceilings in this room are high, with exposed beams painted with Mrs. Spencer’s delicate floral patterns; the brick walls are similarly adorned. The room also has original windows that face the garden; a wood-burning fireplace; a wrought-iron chandelier; and a ladder that provides access to a loft once used to hold musicians during performances.

To the left of the foyer is the dining area, on the stage once used for recitals. The walls are frameless doors: One opens to a closet and the other to a gray-and-white kitchen with a farmhouse-style sink and a diamond-paned window looking out over the front yard.

From the living room, a hallway extends to the bedroom and bathroom. The bedroom is spacious, with a raised fireplace, a window seat and more diamond-paned windows. Dumbwaiters bring wood up from the cellar to this fireplace and to the one in the living room.

The bathroom is tiled in aqua and black, with a sunken tub and a black-and-chrome pedestal sink.

Outdoor space: The rear garden is manicured, with hydrangeas framing a flagstone patio; tall hedges that offer privacy from neighboring houses; and plenty of room for chairs in the sun and the shade. The detached garage, which has ceramic floors and a chandelier, has one parking spot, plus space for storage.

Taxes: $19,836 (estimated)

Contact: Nancy Lehrkind, The Grubb Company, 510-339-0400; grubbco.com


In this part of the San Fernando Valley, storybook-style ranch homes are popular, and many of this one’s features remain intact, including diamond-paned windows and a Tudor-esque, wood-paneled facade.

The house is a few blocks from a stretch of new retail development, as well as Sportsmen’s Lodge, a popular hotel on a site that has been in use since the 1880s. It is within walking distance of Dixie Canyon Avenue Elementary School, a highly ranked charter school, and a number of restaurants, including Casa Vega, a Mexican restaurant that has been operated by the same family since the 1950s.

Size: 2,155 square feet

Price per square foot: $788

Indoors: A brick walkway winds from the street, through the yard, to the front door, which swings open into a bright living room with an arched fireplace. Flanking the fireplace are original built-in shelves and cabinets with painted yellow doors. Diamond-paned windows face the street.

Across the foyer is a dining room with original moldings and a door to the large kitchen, which has a breakfast nook and windows facing the backyard. Through the kitchen is a family room with vaulted, wood-trimmed ceilings, white-painted paneling, built-in bookshelves and a red-brick fireplace.

From the living room, a hallway extends to the primary bedroom at the back of the house, which has direct backyard access. The primary bathroom has walls covered in white subway tile and bright yellow paint, and a separate tub and shower stall.

Two additional bedrooms are off the hall, each large enough to hold a full-size bed and a desk: One has a side-facing, diamond-paned window; the other has a view of the backyard. They share a hallway bathroom.

Outdoor space: The back patio can be reached from the family room and the primary bedroom. There is room for a swimming pool or a garden in the large backyard, where several mature trees offer privacy and shade. The attached garage contains a laundry room and parking for one car.

Taxes: $21,576 (estimated)

Contact: Andrew Dinsky, the Dinsky Team, Keller Williams, 310-729-3393; andrewdinsky.com


One of three units in this complex, the townhouse backs up to Clark Field, a public recreation area with a lawn, a baseball field and courts for basketball, pickleball and tennis. Earlier this year, the sellers added a new roof and a new furnace, and painted inside and out.

The property is a 10-minute walk or a five-minute drive from the beach and from a stretch of Hermosa Avenue lined with bars and restaurants. A post office, a community center and several grocery options, including a Trader Joe’s, are within a few blocks. Downtown Los Angeles and Long Beach are about 20 miles away.

Size: 1,852 square feet

Price per square foot: $896

Indoors: This townhouse has three levels: The entry is on the first floor; the bedrooms are on the second; and the living areas are on top.

The open living room on the third floor has hardwood floors and a marble fireplace. The space gets ample light, thanks to clerestory windows set beneath the high ceilings and glass doors that open to one of the home’s balconies.

The hardwood floors continue into the kitchen, separated from the living room by a breakfast bar. Recent upgrades included the addition of new stainless- steel appliances and a pressed-metal backsplash. Around the corner from the kitchen is a dining room with access to the balcony. Also on this floor is a half bathroom.

Directly across from the main staircase on the second level is the primary bedroom, which has a private balcony and a wall of mirrored closets; the en suite bathroom has a double vanity with basin-style sinks and a shower brightened by glass-brick windows. Next door is a guest room large enough to hold a queen-size bed; a third, similarly sized bedroom is across the hall. They share a bathroom with aqua tiles lining the combination tub and shower. A washer and dryer are tucked into a nook beside one of the bedrooms.

Outdoor space: The balcony on the main floor, which looks out over a nearby park, is large enough to hold a barbecue and a dining set. The primary bedroom’s balcony is smaller, with room for a cafe table and chairs. The attached garage holds two cars.

Taxes: $21,072 (estimated), plus a $300 monthly homeowner association fee

Contact: Dunham Stewart, Vista Sotheby’s International Realty, 310-200-5283; sothebysrealty.com

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