$1.4 Million Homes in California


After buying this house with impressive ocean views in 2000, the owners added a second floor with a master suite and an artist’s studio, and landscaped the property to create multiple seating areas. The home is in Mendocino County, about eight miles north of Gualala, where there are shops, supermarkets, gas stations, galleries and restaurants. It is a little more than a three-hour drive south to San Francisco.

Size: 2,146 square feet

Price per square foot: $648

Indoors: The main entrance is at the end of a fieldstone walkway at the back of the house. The foyer leads to a great room with oak floors, open built-ins and a wood-burning slate-tile fireplace at one end and a kitchen at the other end. A wall of sliding-glass doors looks out to a long, wraparound deck and the rock-island-studded cove beyond it.

The kitchen has a vaulted wood ceiling, pale wood cabinets and blue ceramic-tile surfaces. Similar colors and fixtures are found in the lower-floor powder room and in the guest suite, which includes a bathroom with a decorative ceramic sink embedded in a long tile-topped vanity and a glass-walled tub and shower. (All three of the home’s bathroom sinks were created by an artist in Tucson, Ariz.) There is also a laundry room that is connected to a two-car garage.

Upstairs, the new master includes a vaulted ceiling, a private bathroom and a balcony with ocean views. An office with built-in cabinets is between the master suite and studio. The studio has a wood ceiling and its own balcony.

Outdoor space: A footbridge extends from the side of the house over a ditch. Terraced decks are positioned at the edge of the bluff overlooking the water. A second bridge leads to a trail descending to a sandy beach, to which the home has deeded access.

Taxes: $17,488 (estimated)

Contact: Kathleen Ball, Sotheby’s International Realty, 707-322-8112; kathleenball.com


Donald Olsen, a local architect who studied with the Bauhaus founder Walter Gropius at Harvard, designed this two-story house in the North Berkeley hills. It is a little more than two miles northeast of downtown Berkeley and the University of California campus, and two miles east of the restaurant Chez Panisse. The small Terrace View Park, which has a playground and basketball court, is less than a five-minute walk.

Size: 2,084 square feet

Price per square foot: $648

Indoors: The bright yellow front door, set in an ipe-wood-sided front porch, is flanked by a pair of one-car garages, approached by individual driveways. On the ground level is an office with a built-in desk and storage cabinet, a guest bedroom, a recently updated bathroom with a shower faced in subway tile and a laundry room.

The upper level is where you’ll find the living room, with a front-facing wall of glass with Golden Gate Bridge views and a wood-burning fireplace with a concrete hearth. The skylighted kitchen and dining area behind it includes sea-foam green painted cabinets with terrazzo tops, a Wolf range, a walk-in pantry and floor-to-ceiling glass facing the hillside.

The master bedroom is next to the living room and has a bathroom with double sinks and a combined bath and shower. Two smaller bedrooms are at the back, along with a bathroom with a walk-in shower. Both upstairs bathrooms were recently renovated.

Outdoor space: The living room and master open to individual balconies, while the rear rooms have access to a large, continuous ipe-wood deck surrounded by greenery.

Taxes: $21,600 (estimated)

Contact: Nancy Noman, Compass, 510-388-1000; compass.com


For the last 15 years, the owner has shaped this 1974 property into a private retreat, with a main house, three small bungalows and a swimming pool. Zoned as a complex with three rentable units, the home is divided into five units (the main house has two). It is on the southern edge of Joshua Tree, a desert community with a population of about 7,400, and is a little more than two hours east of Los Angeles and 45 minutes northeast of Palm Springs. You need only to hike up a wash next to the property to enter Joshua Tree National Park.

Size: 4,381 square feet

Price per square foot: $302

Indoors: The main house is a long, single-level structure with polished concrete floors and a gabled roof pierced by skylights. At one end is a kitchen and dining area with an island and an adjacent bathroom. It connects to a large multipurpose room currently furnished with beds and hung with hammocks; a wood stove is off to the side, next to a wall of windows.

A double door opens to the second unit within the house: an enclosed sun porch with another wood stove, which connects through sliding-glass doors to a studio apartment at the other end of the building. This room has partitions made of glass blocks and boulders defining a kitchen and bathroom. A shower built from boulders and studded with crystals occupies a corner behind a glass-block wall. The commode is in a separate clapboard-walled room with a second shower.

A path leads to a small courtyard with two gabled houses. Each is about 700 square feet and has a full kitchen, a bathroom, a ductless mini-split heating-and-cooling unit and a wood stove. A third house next to the two-car garage does not have a kitchen.

Outdoor space: A custom-fabricated steel fence surrounds the property, which is planted with an unusual number of pines, given that it is in the high desert. The owner added landscaping and hardscaping features, including a network of pathways, outdoor showers and baths, as well as the swimming pool.

Taxes: $16,563 (estimated)

Contact: Bryan Wynwood, Joshua Tree Modern Real Estate, 760-808-4806; joshuatreemodern.com

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