Noteworthy new listings….
851 Buena Vista Drive ($35 million) has traded hands twice recently—for $12.2 million last September, and then for $13.25 million in December. Anticipating the “WTF?!” squealed by anyone who sees the exorbitant new price, the listing points out that the property has been “completely renovated” and “reimagined.” While it has certainly been smartly staged, the previous listing photos indicate that the changes have been cosmetic—sanding the floors, painting, wallpapering, recarpeting. The place looks swanky, but is it $21.75 million better than before? You don’t even get window treatments.
Built in 1999, 560 Toro Canyon Park Road ($26.5 million) feels dated in every room: that stone floor, that dining room window, that kitchen, those baths…. But there’s a lot of space—around 12,000 square feet, spread out over five buildings—on 58 acres, an impressive setting by any measure.
Good times and bum times, 430 Hot Springs Road ($8.5 million) has seen them all—and, my dear, it’s still here. (Apologies to Sondheim.) The fevered listing notes the highs: “Constructed in 1885 and coined The Peppers by a college fraternity following a 1920’s fete in the grand ballroom,” “the onetime home of legendary Moody sisters, who were celebrated for designing a number of Montecito’s Moody Sisters Cottages during their 30-year reign at the residence,” “noted for the Grand Ballroom designed by Hearst Castle’s illustrious architect, Julia Morgan, legend dictates that Italian actor, Rudolph Valentino, once danced under the ballroom’s ethereal pendant lights.” Less romantically, the 10-bedroom
bank house has been renting rooms by the night, with reviews that dip into the lows. (“Did you love The Shining with Jack Nicholson? Then you will love this place. Decrepit mansion with a creepy vibe from its former glory days as a home for men with dementia and Alzheimer’s just waiting for you.”) Now all it needs is a big financier restore it to its rightful glory. P.S. The shower in the last photo has some explaining to do.
The 1928 house at 1100 Mesa Road ($4.995 million)—”originally part of a much larger estate”—has the good bones you’d expect, along with the need to be updated. The house is on the small side (2,367 square feet), but the lot is roomy for the Coast Village neighborhood.
“Inspired by the San Ysidro Ranch” but bearing little physical resemblance to it, 700 Romero Canyon Road ($5.995 million) is asking $1.65 million more than it was in 2017. Unless you love mulch, the one-acre lot needs a fair amount of landscaping.
The price of 722 Knapp Drive ($3.395 million) seems high for a total gut, and the driveway will probably always circle the yard. Or maybe I’m still thinking like it’s 2019.
225 Dawlish Place ($3.25 million) would be more appealing if it didn’t back up against Route 192. A lot of the finishes are a question of taste.
1338 De La Guerra Road ($2.849 million) suffers from a similar situation, in that it’s a coin’s flick from APS. But the interiors are much stronger, thanks to a spec renovation. The seller bought it for $989,000 in mid-2019.
The trend continues at 251 Toro Canyon Road ($2.75 million), where the 1949 house is way too close to the road. And it wants to be redone.
925 Chelham Way ($2.499 million) has been handled with a nice touch, but without a floor plan it’s hard to tell how livable the five-bedroom, two-and-a-half bathroom house really is.
And a few others worth checking out:
••• 1134 Edgemound Drive ($1.55 million): Mission Canyon “midcentury” (1979) with neat lines but needing work.
••• 895 Cheltenham Road ($1.195 million): Two bedrooms and two baths in 1,100 square feet in Mission Canyon.
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I’m less impressed by the spec renovations seen here. They’re ultra 2010s, and they already look dated if viewed with a keen eye. Even Chelham, which is personally appealing to me, is a flop unless you want to completely revamp your house every 5 years to keep it current with the latest Instagram fads. Buena Vista is hilarious, yet it could work out for them. De La Guerra is Home Depot Special and it’s disturbing that we find ourselves in a place where that level of quality fetches near 3 million. I’m sick of seeing ugly tile, grey everything, cheap chunky windows, Scandinavian woods, black faucets, etc. repeated in every single renovation around town and sellers wanting to double or triple their investment for the tweaks. These are faddish designs, they don’t represent or capture anything of the spirit of this place we live, and they are not value investments. Everything already begs to be redone, and imagine what it will look like 9 years from now. We also see way too many soulless interior renovations that feel completely divorced from the exterior architectural style of the home which is annoying. Frankly, I’m depressed looking at listings these days. I used to love real estate here, but it seems with each year fewer and fewer character properties are hitting the market and buyers are left fighting like rats for crumbs. Sometimes I have a Redfin gander through 90068 or other LA zips just to see some sweet little historic homes that actually exude style, timelessness, and personality even when fully updated. Palate cleansers. Things are just too depressing here these days. End rant.
I couldn’t agree more! Fantastic rant. Thank you!