What $2 Million Buys You in California

This house has been in the same family for more than 50 years and has been well maintained, preserving original details like stained-glass windows and colorful 1930s tile in the kitchen and bathrooms. It is in the Thousand Oaks section of Berkeley, about 10 minutes by car from downtown and the University of California campus. The neighborhood’s main thoroughfare, Solano Avenue, about a mile away, is lined with markets and casual restaurants. Closer to the house (about a five-minute drive or a 10-minute walk) is the Kensington Farmers’ Market, where vendors sell locally produced goods on Sundays.

Size: 3,546 square feet

Price per square foot: $564

Indoors: A short walkway connects the sidewalk to the front door, which opens into a bright foyer with arched doorways and a Spanish-tile floor. Through glass doors to the left of the entrance is a living room with hardwood floors, a mint-green ceiling, large windows that face the street and the back of the property, a fireplace with a brick surround and original wood moldings.

On the other side of the foyer is a dining room with more hardwood floors and a door to a sunny breakfast room trimmed in red and white tile. The tile continues in the kitchen, on the countertops and backsplash.

Directly across from the front door is a glass-enclosed sunroom with a built-in bench offering views of the surrounding hills; a built-in bar; and glass doors that open to a small patio.

A hallway off the kitchen and the foyer leads to the main-level bedroom and bathroom. The bedroom has large windows and a deep closet; the bathroom next door has aqua tiling and a white bathtub.

Stairs lead from the foyer to a wide hallway on the second floor. At one end is a guest room with a bay of windows; at the other is the primary bedroom, which has hardwood floors and a walk-in closet. The primary bathroom next door is tiled in pink and gray, with a combination tub and shower behind a frosted-glass door.

Two more guest rooms are off this hallway, one large enough to hold a queen-size bed and the other a bit smaller; they share a full bathroom with a built-in linen closet.

From the kitchen, a staircase lined with yellow tile leads to the lower level, which has a den with direct access to the backyard and a half bathroom.

Outdoor space: A balcony off the second-floor hallway, enclosed by a wrought-iron fence, has room for a table and chairs. A patio off the family room on the main level steps down to a terraced backyard with plenty of mature trees for shade. The attached garage holds one car.

Taxes: $24,996 (estimated)

Contact: Ira and Carol Serkes, Compass, 510-526-6668; compass.com


This midcentury house in the Hollywood Hills, just north of the Sunset Strip, is on the market for the first time, and while it has been remodeled several times over the years, each renovation has maintained the original character. The property is less than 10 minutes by car from Coldwater Canyon Park, which has a playground and flat lawns, and 15 minutes from the hiking trails that wind through Franklin Canyon. Also nearby is the Greystone Mansion, a popular spot for weddings and film productions.

Size: 2,574 square feet

Price per square foot: $758

Indoors: Steps lead from the steep driveway to the front entrance, where the original wood door is flanked by stained glass with a botanical motif.

To the right of the foyer is the living room, designed to cantilever over the site, creating the feeling of being nestled among the trees. The floors are hardwood; the walls and several built-in bookshelves are wood paneled; and the fireplace and hearth are framed by deep brown tile.

Opposite the living room is a hallway that leads to the kitchen on one side and the family room on the other; off the hallway is a whimsical half bathroom with camel-print wallpaper. The kitchen has hardwood floors and windows that face the hillside; through one side is a dining room with similar views and more wood-paneled walls.

In the family room, an exposed-brick wall frames the fireplace and extends outdoors, past sliding-glass doors, to a patio.

Open stairs with wire balusters lead from the foyer to the second level, where the three bedrooms are off a carpeted hallway. At the top of the stairs is a guest room currently used as a home office, with an en suite half bathroom papered in a classic 1960s print of blue-and-green flowers to match the green vanity. Across the hall is the primary suite, which has a private balcony with Hollywood Hills views and a bathroom with a long vanity and an original sunken red bathtub. At the far end of the hall is a guest room with its own sitting area; next door is a full bathroom with a stall shower.

Outdoor space: A large patio off the family room has a hot tub and plenty of room for a dining table and barbecue. It is surrounded by mature trees that offer privacy without obstructing city views. The carport has two parking spaces.

Taxes: $24,396 (estimated)

Contact: Maureen Erbe and Henry Blackham, Deasy Penner Podley, 310-275-1000; deasypennerpodley.com


Boonville is often referred to as the gateway to the Anderson Valley, an area of southern Mendocino County known for its pinot noirs and sparkling wine, produced there in large quantities. This house is off Route 128, affording easy access to the area’s vineyards and tasting rooms. The highway is also the major route to the coast, and the communities of Mendocino and Little River are about an hour’s drive along it. Santa Rosa is about the same distance away; San Francisco is just over a two-hour drive.

Size: 2,128 square feet

Price per square foot: $938

Indoors: From the street, a long driveway leads to a flat part of the property, where a garage and the two houses sit.

The first house has a wraparound porch, with an open-plan living area behind the front door. The floors are hardwood, and the vaulted ceilings are wood. The front part of the living area is currently used as a dining space, with a chandelier for illumination, a fireplace built into one wall and doors out to the porch. Behind the dining area is a kitchen with black-and-white checkerboard floors and open shelving. A few paces beyond is a cozy sitting area near another door to the porch. From the kitchen, stairs lead to the lower level, where there are two bedrooms of roughly equal size with wood-paneled walls painted white. A full bathroom, a half bathroom and a laundry room are also on this level.

A paved path leads from the back of the first house to the second house, similar in style and layout. Here, the sitting area is at the front of the open-plan space, and the fireplace is framed by colorful tile. Across from the sitting area is a kitchen with a Viking range and open shelving. A hallway lined with bookshelves leads to the back of the house, where there are two bedrooms, both large, with alcoves that could be used as home offices or reading nooks; each has an en suite bathroom with a walk-in shower.

Outdoor space: There is a wraparound porch on each house, offering views of the property’s gently rolling hills. A paved path connects the houses to an outdoor dining area that looks out to a hillside dotted with trees. The detached garage holds four cars, and is equipped with solar panels. For fire safety, all three structures have metal roofs and concrete siding.

Taxes: $24,936 (estimated)

Contact: Kevin McDonald, Sotheby’s International Realty Wine Country Brokerage, 707-391-3382; sothebysrealty.com

For weekly email updates on residential real estate news, sign up here. Follow us on Twitter: @nytrealestate.

Source link