What You Get for $2.8 Million in California, Connecticut and Washington
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Los Angeles | $2.76 Million
A 1954 modern-style house with two bedrooms, two and a half bathrooms and a view of the Hollywood sign, on a 0.3-acre lot
John Lautner, who studied with Frank Lloyd Wright and designed some of the most celebrated houses in Southern California by following his teacher’s advice to “break the box,” created this diamond-shaped house in the Hollywood Hills for his bookkeeper, Lorena Deutsch. It sits on a ridge, on a dead-end street that runs parallel to a section of Mulholland Drive less than half a mile east of Runyon Canyon Park and about two miles northwest of the Hollywood Bowl.
When the current owners acquired the property 18 years ago, its book-matched teak paneling and buff brick fireplace had been painted in shades of purple, pink and peach. They spent the next 10 years restoring the original finishes.
Size: 1,720 square feet
Price per square foot: $1,605
Indoors: The house is built on two levels with no interior connection; one must go outside to move from floor to floor, in a space-saving measure that embraces the area’s mild weather. Flagstone steps lead up to the front door, which opens into a foyer that introduces the main level’s teak-paneled walls and end-grain wood flooring. Built-in teak cabinets staggered along opposite walls of the foyer serve as storage and partitions as the entrance flows into a living room, ahead, and a den, on the left. The living room has a vaulted, painted wood ceiling with exposed rafters, a fireplace wall and hearth of buff brick and an angled rear wall of glass. The den is smaller, with a single window wrapped around a faceted wall, and a dropped ceiling.
The eat-in kitchen is to the right of the foyer. The original teak cabinetry with brushed-metal pulls has been restored, and the appliances updated (they are from Miele). The Formica countertops have been replaced with green quartzite that continues up the wall as a backsplash.
The main-floor bedroom is directly opposite the kitchen, and to the left of the den. It has a built-in headboard and a wall lined with three closets, the center one with a door and the others draped in fabric, which is believed to have been the original treatment. This room has use of a bathroom that opens from the hallway and includes a teak vanity with a countertop made of Irish Connemara marble. (There is also a powder room just to the right of the front door.)
A second bedroom is on the lower level, in a room that was originally designed as a workshop for Lorena Deutsch’s husband, George Deutsch, a cabinetmaker. The polished-concrete floor preserves an oil stain in the corner that the sellers left in homage. A short hallway leads to a green-slate-tiled bathroom with a shower. This level, which has about a third of the area of the main floor, also includes a laundry room, storage areas and access to a two-car garage.
Outdoor space: The living room opens to a wraparound deck that steps down to the lower entrance and a patio off the second bedroom. A flagstone triangle at the edge of the ridge offers a seating area for looking out to the Hollywood Hills.
Taxes: $34,500 (estimated)
Contact: Maureen Erbe, Deasy Penner Podley, 626-622-1112; deasypennerpodley.com
Darien, Conn. | $2.795 Million
A 1966 waterfront house with four bedrooms, three bathrooms and a private beach and mooring, on a 0.53-acre lot
The sellers bought this property in 2009 as a primary home, so their three sons could grow up on the water, with sailing, kayaking and water skiing just outside their door. It is on an inlet of Long Island Sound called Holly Pond, two miles southwest of downtown Darien, where there is commuter train station. (A second station, in the Noroton Heights neighborhood, is about a mile north.) Weekday morning travel time to Grand Central Terminal takes 62 to 75 minutes. The children walked to the local elementary school and rode their bicycles to local beaches and tennis courts. The house has had no history of flooding but is in a FEMA zone that requires flood insurance.
Size: 3,830 square feet
Price per square foot: $730
Indoors: In 2016, the sellers opened the kitchen to the family room by removing walls and relocating a bathroom. A two-story addition on the back created a large downstairs mudroom with storage and an upstairs office overlooking the water. The garage received a second floor that was used by the children as a hangout room. The sellers moved the laundry room to the second floor to be near the bedrooms. They also replaced the roof, windows and exterior siding (including the cedar shingles) and updated the heating system to include three energy-efficient heat pumps.
The front door is tucked under a covered porch next to the attached two-car garage. To the right of the entrance is a formal living room with original oak floors and a fireplace; to the left, a dining room with the same floors, slim chair-rail and crown molding, and a bay window.
The combined kitchen and family room extends across the back of the house, with a wall of windows overlooking the sound and sliding-glass doors opening to a rear deck. The white kitchen cabinets are topped with quartz, and the island contains an induction cooktop. There is also a double wall oven, as well as two pantries. The family room includes a wood-burning fieldstone fireplace with a wood-slab mantel, and a wall of open bookshelves. Throughout, the flooring is white oak. The new bathroom off the kitchen includes a shower for rinsing off after water sports.
The mudroom, which is supplied with wall hooks and cubbies, serves as a rear point of access and also connects the house to the garage. A rear staircase ascends to the 21-by-22-foot hangout space, which flows into the windowed office.
Reached by a front staircase off the foyer, the four bedrooms include a 13-by-20-foot primary bedroom with an en suite bathroom that has double sinks, a toilet and shower room and a walk-in closet. The additional bedrooms share a bathroom with double sinks and a combined tub and shower.
Outdoor space: A gazebo sits at a point jutting into the sound, with a small beach on one side and a dock on the other. Mature oaks dot the half-acre property. The garage has a large storage closet for beach equipment.
Taxes: $20,572 (2020, based on a tax assessment of $1,259,790)
Contact: Eileen Hanford, Brown Harris Stevens, 203-253-0995; bhsusa.com
Seattle | $2.75 Million
A 1977 contemporary-style house with three bedrooms and two and a half bathrooms, on a 0.27-acre lot overlooking Puget Sound
Wendell H. Lovett, a local architect, designed this idiosyncratic house with water views for a physician. It is in Blue Ridge, a 200-acre enclave developed in the 1920s and ’30s by William Boeing, the aviation magnate. The neighborhood, about 10 miles northwest of the Space Needle and adjacent to the 220-acre Carkeek Park, currently has 450 houses, including five large brick homes built for Boeing executives and known as “the castles.” Residents have access to a private community club with a swimming pool, tennis courts, a beach and a playground. Shopping in the Ballard neighborhood is about three miles south.
Size: 2,610 square feet
Price per square foot: $1,054
Indoors: The wood-clad house is asymmetrical: rounded on the eastern, street-facing side and rectilinear on the western, water-facing side. Much of the first two floors is open (bathrooms are tucked into cylinders), windows come in a variety of shapes and sizes, and ceilings soar at unexpected moments.
The main floor’s central area is a 27-foot-long living room with a double-height ceiling, wool carpeting and a wall of glass looking out to Puget Sound and the Olympic Mountains. The dining area is set apart by a slight elevation in its stained and polished wood floors and has the same views. The 22-foot-long family room flows off the living room on the other side and includes a partial, low ceiling and a gas fireplace with a steel mantel and narrow stone hearth that snakes along the walls on either side.
The sellers, who bought the house in 1997, replaced the kitchen next to the dining room, but kept the footprint (the room is tucked behind a curved wall with a pass-through that allows you to stand at the sink and see Puget Sound). Zebrawood cabinets are topped in green stone, and the walls are faced in textured green ceramic tile with metallic accents.
The powder room (at the base of a cylindrical tower in the center of the main floor) has cherry-wood cabinets with a bronze sink and camel onyx countertops. The walls have a muted metallic gold paper.
The second floor is a single, undulating primary suite that is reached by a spiral staircase and is open to the main floor. Stacked on top of the powder room is a round, enclosed space with a pair of vanities with floating stone countertops and glass bowl sinks. An oculus brings light into the room through a soaring ceiling. A second pod faced in stone and glass contains a shower and toilet. A walk-in closet is behind a curve in the same position as the kitchen below it, and an office with a built-in U-shaped desk sits above the dining room and shares its view.
Two additional, day-lighted bedrooms and a bathroom with a combined tub and shower and stone finishes occupy the basement level. There is also a laundry room with a sink.
Outdoor space: A terrace off the dining area steps down to a lawn overlooking Puget Sound. A roof deck with water views includes sunny and shady areas. A two-car garage is at the base of the house and opens to the lower level.
Taxes: $24,301 (2020); homeowners’ association fee: $1,490 a year
Contact: Joanie Brennan, Windermere Real Estate Midtown, 206-595-5443; joaniebrennan.com
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