What $700,000 Buys You in California

Fresno | $695,000 A cottage built in 1949, with four bedrooms and two bathrooms, on a 0.4-acre lot This house is in the Old Fig Garden...


This house is in the Old Fig Garden neighborhood, which has wide, tree-lined streets and homes from the first half of the 20th century. The Fig Garden Swim & Racquet Club is another big draw, with its swimming pool, tennis facilities and clubhouse. During the holidays, several of the streets become one-way, so visitors can admire residents’ elaborate light displays.

The main campus of the California State University in Fresno is about 10 minutes away by car; Fresno Yosemite International Airport and downtown Fresno are about a 20-minute drive.

Size: 2,624 square feet

Price per square foot: $265

Indoors: A footpath framed by low hedges runs from the street to the red front door, which opens into an open living space with Saltillo-tile floors that continue throughout the main level.

To the right is a sitting area anchored by a fireplace adorned with ceramic tiles made by a local artist and flanked by built-in shelves; to the left is a dining area. A doorway off the dining area leads to a kitchen with a windowed breakfast nook that overlooks the backyard.

Running along the back of the main floor is a hallway that leads to two bedrooms, a bathroom and a study. The first bedroom and the study are attached, and the bathroom has a marble-topped vanity and a glass-walled shower. On the other side of the bathroom is a bedroom with beamed ceilings and whitewashed adobe walls. Also on this level is a refrigerated wine cellar.

Two more bedrooms and another bathroom, with peach walls and a walk-in tiled shower, are on the second floor.

Outdoor space: A door on the far side of the living area opens to a patio with a jasmine-covered trellis. The yard beyond is landscaped with grass, hedges and mature trees. The driveway runs along the back of the property, to a carport with two parking spots.

Taxes: $7,848 (estimated)

Contact: Danyelle Conner, London Properties, 559-259-2996; fresnoluxury.com


The original owner of this house, the executive director of Palm Springs Art Museum, brought to its design an eye for bright colors and unusual materials.

The property is within walking distance of the center of Idyllwild, a quaint area in the San Jacinto Mountains with boutique hotels, restaurants and small grocery stores. Residents — about half of whom are second-home owners — drive about 45 minutes to the city of Hemet for larger stores and services. Palm Springs is about an hour away.

Size: 1,980 square feet

Price per square foot: $348

Indoors: A long driveway leads from the street to the garage and lower level. Stairs running alongside the house take you to the glass front door, which opens into a long hallway that, like the rest of the main level, has cork floors.

At the end of the hall is the spacious living area with a corrugated-metal ceiling, a cast-iron stove and glass doors that face the front deck. The living space is open to the dining area and the kitchen, which has cherry-red custom cabinets, Caesarstone countertops and a stainless steel island.

From the kitchen, a short hall leads to a bedroom suite with a private balcony. The bathroom has a lime-green accent wall, a porcelain soaking tub and a washer and dryer.

A staircase near the kitchen winds down to the lower level, where there is a comfortable family room and a second bedroom big enough to hold a king-size bed, with sliding-glass doors that lead outside. The bathroom on this level has a combination tub and shower.

Outdoor space: Glass doors in the living area open to a partially covered deck with new glass railings and room for a dining table and chairs. A smaller deck on the other side of the house holds a new hot tub. The attached garage has room for two cars.

Taxes: $8,832 (estimated)

Contact: Bill Cochran and Daniel Miracle, Cochran & Miracle Group, Compass, 805-364-1997; compass.com


All that is visible of this house from its quiet Highland Park cul-de-sac is a carport and a set of stairs leading to the top of a small hill, where the structure sits perched over its neighbors. The seller, who bought the home in 2012, revamped the landscaping, adding avocado trees and succulents and tending to fruit trees that had become overgrown.

The house is a few blocks from Figueroa Street, one of the neighborhood’s main drags. Within walking distance are coffee shops and several independent grocery stores; the restaurants of Eagle Rock are a five-minute drive. Dodger Stadium is about 10 minutes away by car, and downtown Los Angeles is a 15-minute drive.

Size: 752 square feet

Price per square foot: $930

Indoors: Outdoor steps in the carport lead to the front door, which opens into the sunny living room.

The floors are refinished hardwood, and two windows face the front porch. To the right is a space currently used as a dining area, with more windows and room for a table and chairs or a home-office setup. A few steps beyond is an open kitchen with white quartz counters, white-painted cabinets and stainless steel appliances.

A short hallway off the kitchen leads to a bedroom with room for a queen-size bed. Next door is a recently updated bathroom with a combination tub and shower finished with subway tile.

A second bedroom, also large enough to hold a queen-size bed, is off the dining area.

Stairs at the back of the house lead to a small shed used as a home office.

Outdoor space: The backyard is planted with drought-tolerant plants and fruit-bearing trees, including pomegranate, tangerine and nectarine. The seller replaced the yard’s retaining walls to make caring for the vegetation easier, and added cactuses and agave plants, plus a vegetable garden. A flat, paved area near the home-office shed offers views out over the city. The carport at the front of the house has space for one car.

Taxes: $8,880 (estimated)

Contact: Courtney Poulos, ACME Real Estate, 323-596-0006; acme-re.com

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