San Luis Obispo | $999,000
A 1938 house with two bedrooms and one bathroom, on a 0.1-acre lot
When the owner, an architectural and interior designer, bought this house in 2014, it was a bare-bones 1930s bungalow with a small detached garage. In the last five years, he completely transformed the property, adding a brand-new lofted studio behind the house and turning the garage into an indoor-outdoor dining room.
The house is a five-minute drive from downtown San Luis Obispo and the Mission San Luis Obispo de Tolosa, founded in 1772 and used today as a Catholic parish and museum, as well as the nearby campus of California Polytechnic State University, San Luis Obispo. The Madonna Inn, a kitschy hotel and restaurant that Paul Goldberger called “the richest collection of stage sets since the back lot at 20th‐Century Fox” in a 1975 Times review, is also five minutes away by car.
Size: 1,360 square feet
Price per square foot: $735
Indoors: A succulent-filled front yard separates the house from the street, and a concrete and gravel path leads to the front door, which opens directly into the living room. From there, a wide, arched doorway opens to the dining room, which has wooden cabinets built into two corners. Another arched doorway opens to the kitchen, which has a commercial-grade stainless steel oven and quartz countertops.
A small hallway to the left of the kitchen and living room leads to the bedrooms. To the right is the guest bedroom, which looks out onto the street and is large enough to hold a queen-size bed. To the right is the master bedroom, which has its own custom-designed deck and firepit with built-in teak benches. Between the bedrooms is a bathroom with slate-tile floors and a glass walk-in shower.
Refinished hardwood floors run throughout the home.
A strip of gravel lined with succulents separates the main house from the two other structures that share a wooden footpath. On the right side of the path is the guesthouse, which has an open kitchen and living area. A marble-topped island offers extra counter space and a casual dining spot, while a metal farmhouse-style sink is framed by a decorative-tile backsplash. Off the living area is a farmhouse sliding door leading to a bathroom with a walk-in shower. A set of stairs leads from the lower level of the guesthouse to a sleeping loft. To the left of the guesthouse is a garage that has been converted into two spaces: a home office and an indoor-outdoor dining area.
Outdoor space: Behind the garage is a small patio with artificial grass, a firepit and wood-framed hot tub. The master bedroom has its own custom-designed deck and firepit with built-in teak benches.
Taxes: $10,290 (estimated)
Contact: Hal Sweasey, TeamSweasey RE/MAX, 805-781-3750; teamsweasey.com
Sacramento | $995,000
A Victorian house built in the 1870s, with four bedrooms and two and a half bathrooms, on a 2.6-acre lot
Known locally as Manlove Mansion, this house was built by William Stark Manlove, a doctor who came to California during the Gold Rush and later served as a Sacramento County sheriff. The current owner, who bought it in 2016, did a renovation that included updating the HVAC, plumbing and electrical systems and refinishing the hardwood floors, while retaining as much of the original character as possible. The house is a five-minute walk from the Watt/Manlove Station, a stop on the Sacramento RT Light Rail, and about a 20-minute drive from downtown Sacramento.
Size: 2,863 square feet
Price per square foot: $348
Indoors: A paved footpath leads from the street to the front porch and a set of wooden double doors, which are original to the house. Entering through the front doors brings you to a hallway and the base of a sweeping staircase leading to the second level.
To the right of the stairs is a door to the front parlor, where a bay of windows includes original stained glass. Opposite the windows is a fireplace surrounded by decorative tile and an intricately carved wooden mantel with a built-in mirror. A set of pocket doors opens into another sitting area, with pink-and-green stained-glass window.
To the right of the sitting room, and also accessible from the main hallway, is a formal dining room, where the owner installed a period-appropriate lighting fixture. A door with a floral stained-glass window leads to the side porch.
A wide doorway from the dining room opens into the kitchen, which has built-in shelving and Carrara marble countertops. The kitchen is large enough for an additional eating area, and has an adjacent pantry with additional built-ins.
On the second level, to the right of the stairs, is the master bedroom, which has a curved bay of windows overlooking the front of the property. An adjacent bathroom has a tile-and-glass walk-in shower and a patterned tile floor.
To the left is the guest wing, with two bedrooms facing each other across the hall. Both are big enough to hold queen-size beds, although the smaller one is currently used as a home office. At the end of the hallway is another bathroom, with a claw-foot tub.
Outdoor space: The house sits on more than two and a half acres, an unusually large lot for the neighborhood. The side porch looks out over a garden, and the back porch leads to a brick pathway that surrounds the yard. The plantings include mature oak trees, citrus trees and a small cactus garden. A driveway offers parking space for several cars.
Taxes: $11,542 (estimated)
Contact: Carlos Kozlowski, Coldwell Banker Realty, 916-973-4506; kozlowskirealestategroup.com
Berkeley | $995,000
An Edwardian house built in 1910, with three bedrooms and two bathrooms, on a 0.09-acre lot
This house is within walking distance of several mainstays of Berkeley life. Five minutes away on foot is the Ashby Avenue BART station, which carries passengers to Oakland and across the San Francisco Bay. Around 10 minutes on foot (or five on a bicycle) is the Berkeley Bowl, an independent grocery store founded in 1977 and often described as one of the country’s first destination markets. Also nearby is La Peña Cultural Center, founded in 1975 as an arts and social justice activism center that offers classes in capoeira, salsa and Afro-Peruvian dance. The University of California, Berkeley, is a 10-minute drive, as are a number of hiking destinations, including Siesta Valley Recreation Area and Sibley Volcanic Regional Preserve.
Size: 1,641 square feet
Price per square foot: $606
Indoors: A stone path leads from the sidewalk to the front stoop, where a bright yellow door is flanked by frosted-glass windows.
The owner, who bought the home in the late 1990s, left the original floor plan intact. The hardwood floors throughout the house are also original.
Behind the front door is a staircase leading to the second level. To the left of the stairs, a hallway leads to the dining room and kitchen.
Through a wide doorway opposite the stairs is the living room, where a large five-pane window looks onto the street. A doorway in the living room leads to the wide dining room, which extends the width of the house. The room’s centerpiece is the original Edwardian brick fireplace.
Off the dining room is a full bathroom with a claw-foot tub and hand-painted, hand-glazed leopard-print tilework, custom made by a friend of the owner.
Through the dining room is the kitchen, which overlooks the backyard. The upper cabinets are white, while the lower offer a pop of bright blue.
Upstairs, the three bedrooms and bathroom are arranged around the landing. To the right is the spacious master bedroom, flooded with natural light thanks to two street-facing windows. To the left are two guest bedrooms; one has space for a queen-size bed and a desk, while the other can accommodate a full-sized bed and play area.
Between the master bedroom and other two bedrooms is a bathroom with another claw-foot tub and a single vanity.
Outdoor space: From the kitchen, a set of wooden stairs leads to the backyard, which has space for a garden. A path leads from the base of the stairs to a small patio with a brick barbecue and room for a table and chairs. Adjacent to the patio is a one-car garage that could be converted into additional living space.
Taxes: $11,641 (estimated)
Contact: Maxi Lilley, Red Oak Realty, 510-919-8997; redoakrealty.com