Friday, March 28, 2014

I'd totally live here: Bluff Park

A single-story blue bungalow has captured my heart.  The 1920s home sits in the architecturally diverse Bluff Park neighborhood in Long Beach.  I refer to this humble abode as "my house," and was thrilled when a sale sign appeared on the front lawn.  If my husband had been keeping loads of cash in a Swiss banking account it was the time to tell me! Alas, neither of us had saved enough or earn enough to be contenders for the $899,900 property.

The facts (according to its listing)
Built 1920
Located 2 blocks from the ocean
3 bedrooms
1 bathroom w/ marble shower and sinks
1454 square feet
8237 square foot lot
1 car detached garage
Hardwood floors
Forced heating
No air conditioning, but who needs A.C. when you're 2 blocks from the ocean?!

The first thing I'd do if I bought this house is replace the front door with one that matched the era. Perhaps I'd install a door like the one below in a darker stain.  I like how its glass echoes the squares in the windows on the front of the house.  We'd get our American flag flying and choose some simple chairs for the porch. The front of the house also needs some color.  Potted pansies would look pretty.  What's awesome about Bluff Park is even though it's an area of historic, million dollar homes, it's not a gated community.  However, it's not unusual in California to have anything and everything that's not bolted down stolen from outside your home.  Thus, whatever we put on our porch would not be too nice or hard to replace.

Living Room
The living room is light-filled and has nice floors. The woodwork has been painted throughout the house, which is okay with me, though for close to a million dollars one would think you'd find original woodwork.   A head scratcher is how the home's listing mentions a formal dining room.  Unless they mean the small room off to the far right with its own exterior door, I see no formal dining room. 

Surprisingly the house has no fireplace or built-in hutch.  My hunch is the original builder spent so much money obtaining the primo land they had to go with a no frills house.

If we really wanted a fireplace, I would consider an electric fireplace.  Ideally we'd install a gas fireplace, but that requires an exhaust vent that would be plainly visible from the driveway and front sidewalk.

I wish there were more photos of the kitchen.  It looks tiny, but functional.  Does it open to the backyard?  How much counter space does it have?  Is the fridge located in an awkward place?  For $899,900 one would hope to slide into an updated, attractive kitchen but with this property buyers are paying for the location.

Front Bedroom


From above (the house with the pavement squares)

I see a sliding glass door, a deck, and shed.  Though you can't see it in these photos, there's a large apartment complex across the alley facing the backyard, so taller trees are in order for privacy.  The shed may have to go bye-bye, though maybe we'd add a bathroom and storage area on to the back of the garage since the house has only one bathroom, and 1920s homes aren't known for their ample closet space.  For the backyard, I'd bring in a professional landscaper.  I'd ask for a fountain, a fire pit, colorful desert plantings, shrubs, and trees. I'd like a place that attracts a variety of birds, animals, and butterflies that we can maintain ourselves.

Property History
Mar 07, 2014
Sold (Public Records)
$899,000 -1.9%/yr
Public Records

Jan 13, 2014
Listed (Active)
CRMLS #PW14008242
Jan 12, 2006
Sold (Public Records)
$1,050,000 37.8%/yr
Public Records
Sep 19, 2003
Sold (Public Records)
Public Records

(If the the folks who bought the house in 2003 kept it until 2006 (selling it right before the housing bubble burst), they made a real killing with their home sale!)

Last weekend we passed the Bluff Park bungalow.  The weather vane had been removed along with the bamboo blinds covering the front windows.  The porch sat empty and the house looked like a blank slate.  It will be exciting to see what its new owners do with this little piece of paradise.

Previously at The Pad:
I'd totally live here: Hong Kong
I'd totally live here: Ortega-Vigare adobe
Heck yeah, I'd live here: Echo Park

Other home features:
Newport Beach cottage makeover
Neutra home my idea of heaven
San Diego Cinderella home for sale
One house, three exteriors
Venice home restaged, back on market
Dream midcentury house: 1966 post and beam
Report: Lee Snijders at Home & Garden show

Photos via Google, Santa Cruz Construction Guild (wood door), The Simple Store (fireplace)

Thursday, March 27, 2014

I suck to the Nth degree

The level to which I suck on a regular basis astounds me.  I make dumb mistakes over and over like it's specialty.  My boss clearly defines projects and tasks for me to complete, but I manage to mangle them like that leg going through the wood chipper in Fargo

Monday, March 24, 2014

I'd totally live here: Ortega-Vigare Adobe in San Gabriel

When Willie Nelson twangs, "You were always on my mind," he may as well be singing about me and the Ortega-Vigare adobe tucked away in the city of San Gabriel.  Otherwise known as California Historic Landmark 451, the adobe (consisting of two houses on connected lots) was built near San Gabriel's mission between 1792 and 1806 by a mission guard for his family. Ortega-Vigare is the second oldest adobe in Southern California and is almost an acre in size.  A wall 18 inches thick surrounds property. 

The main home is
3,653 square feet of living space
3 bedrooms
3.5 bathrooms
3 car garage
1st portion estimated built 1792-1805
2nd portion estimated as built in early 1900s

Swimming pool
2 car garage
18th century fountain

Ortega-Vigare adobe has been for sale a few times over the past decade.  According to the L.A. Times, back in 2001 owners asked $998,000.  More recently, in July 2013, the sellers accepted an offer of $1,580,000. 

Main House Kitchen

Living Room
Dining Room

Master Bedroom & Bath



Property from above

Read more about the Ortega-Vigare adobe (and see pics of the guest home) on Estately.

Previously: I'd Totally Live Here: Hong Kong

Sunday, March 23, 2014

Hooker's SeaSalted Caramel out of SFO

Have I told you about the time I received hookers in the mail?  My girlfriend in Northern California surprised me by shipping Hooker's Sweet Treats SeaSalted Caramels coated in dark chocolate to rural Minnesota.  I ate the whole box.  I don't even think they lasted long enough for my husband to set his eyeballs on them. 

If you need to buy for someone who has everything or even nothing, I recommend sending hookers to them.  For smaller batches you can order caramels via Rare Device.

Friday, March 21, 2014

* Lupita *

What a beautiful photo in New York Magazine!  More pics of Lupita Nyong'o in the Spring Fashion edition at Clutch Magazine.

Fierce wig = fierce attitude

I cut five inches off my hair last weekend.  I was overdue for a chop.  My hair stopped looking pretty and started looking witchy two months ago.  This ajumma does not believe in long hair for long hair's sake.  If my hair's going to be long, I want it to be healthy, shiny, and manageable.   

My stylist, an edgy Filipino motorcyclist with blue hair, meticulously clipped my ends for almost two hours. He then dried it in layers resulting in easy, breezy locks that felt 5 pounds lighter.  I love it.  I don't feel like a bootleg high schooler or college kid anymore.

Coincidentally, Glamour magazine (April 2014) recently featured a wig makeover that vividly documents a writer's attitude change (and responses of those around her) with short hair.