What $ 1.7 million buys you in California

Berkeley | $ 1.695 million An Elizabethan-style cottage built in 1930, with one bedroom and one bathroom, on 0.1 acre lot This house ...


This house was designed by Eldridge Theodore Spencer, a local architect, as a home and theater studio for Merle Marston, the daughter of a prominent Berkeley family and a dance and drama teacher. The details of the house reflect its dual purpose: a door leading from the kitchen to the stage (now a dining room) is frameless, creating the illusion of a solid wall, and there is a passage through a closet entrance to the bathroom to facilitate costume changes during performances. Hand-painted flowers 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, are woven into design.

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

Cut: 1,246 square feet

Price per square foot: $ 1,360

Inside: A stone path leads from the sidewalk to the front door; beyond is a small hall which opens onto the living room.

The half-timbered plaster ceilings in this room are high, with exposed beams painted with Ms. Spencer’s delicate floral designs; the brick walls are decorated in the same way. The bedroom also has original windows that overlook the garden; a wood-burning fireplace; a wrought iron chandelier; and a ladder that gives access to a loft once used to contain musicians during performances.

To the left of the foyer is the dining room, on the stage formerly 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 checkered window overlooking the front yard.

From the living room, a corridor leads to the bedroom and the bathroom. The bedroom is spacious, with a raised fireplace, window seat, and other diamond pane windows. Dumbwaiters bring the wood from the cellar to this fireplace and to that of the living room.

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

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

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 features of it remain intact, including diamond-pane windows and a Tudor-style paneled facade.

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

Cut: 2,155 square feet

Price per square foot: $ 788

Inside: A brick walkway winds from the street, through the courtyard, to the front door, which opens into a bright living room with an arched fireplace. Flanking the fireplace are original built-in shelves and cabinets with yellow painted doors. The diamond-pane windows overlook the street.

On the other side of the foyer is a dining room with original moldings and a door to the large kitchen, which has a dining area and windows facing the backyard. Across the kitchen is a family room with vaulted and wood-topped ceilings, white painted paneling, built-in shelving and a red brick fireplace.

From the living room, a hallway extends to the master bedroom at the rear of the house, which has direct access to the back yard. The master bathroom has walls covered in white subway tiles and bright yellow paint, as well as a separate tub and shower.

Two additional bedrooms can be found off the hallway, each large enough to accommodate a double bed and a desk: one has a diamond-tiled side window; the other has a view of the backyard. They share a bathroom down the hall.

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

Taxes: $ 21,576 (estimated)

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


One of three units in this complex, the townhouse backs onto Clark Field, a public recreation area with a lawn, baseball field, and basketball, pickleball, and tennis courts. Earlier this year, vendors added a new roof and furnace, and painted the interior and exterior.

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

Cut: 1,852 square feet

Price per square foot: $ 896

Inside: This townhouse has three levels: The entrance is on the first floor; the bedrooms are on the second floor; and the living spaces are at the top.

The open living room on the third floor has hardwood floors and a marble fireplace. The space receives plenty of light, thanks to the slatted windows under the high ceilings and the glass doors that open onto one of the house’s balconies.

Hardwood floors extend into the kitchen, separated from the living room by a breakfast bar. Recent upgrades included the addition of new stainless steel appliances and a stamped metal backsplash. At the corner of the kitchen is a dining room with access to the balcony. Also on this floor is a powder room.

Directly across from the main staircase to the second level is the master bedroom, which has a private balcony and mirrored wall of closets; the adjoining bathroom has a double sink with basin and a shower enlivened by picture windows. Adjacent is a guest bedroom large enough to accommodate a queen-size bed; a third bedroom of similar size is across the hall. They share a bathroom with aqua tiles lining the combined tub and shower. A washer and dryer are tucked away in a corner next to one of the bedrooms.

Outdoor space: The ground floor balcony, which overlooks a nearby park, is large enough to accommodate a barbecue and a dining set. The master bedroom balcony is smaller, with room for a coffee table and chairs. The attached garage contains two cars.

Taxes: $ 21,072 (estimate), plus $ 300 monthly homeowners association fee

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

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