Saturday, July 12, 2008

House Tales: 511 N Dianthus, Manhattan Beach CA

I've decided to start a feature called House Tales. A few weeks ago I wrote a post on 3612 Poinsettia called A Tale of a Sale. I thought you would find it interesting to know more about some of the properties that are for sale around town. For now I'll be writing about my listings but in the future I'd be happy to add properties from other agents who would like to share stories about their houses.

All of us who have been in real estate for any length of time know that homes have personalties. You walk in and the house just feels good. It can be old or dirty or need work but it has a certain quality that is hard to define. Some houses feel warm and inviting while others are rather cold. A few houses just don't feel quite right.. they seem a little off. Houses are interesting and each has a story...even new homes. I've always thought that finding the right house is a bit like finding the right spouse... it takes a lot of looking and a little luck to find the one that is right for you.

511 N Dianthus, Manhattan Beach is one of those houses that just feels good. The back yard is so serene and peaceful that you just have to walk outside. You can almost hear the kids calling I'm home to their Mom after school as they went to the kitchen looking for a snack. You know this was a family home.

Houses have stories and I would like to share with you the story about the house at 511 N. Dianthus. As some of you know the house is a probate. What you may not know is that the house has been owned by the same family since 1967. Today the average family in California moves every 7 years so 41 years in the same house is rare. The house was built in 1964 and bought by the current family in 1967. It was the last of the new homes built on Dianthus.

I was talking to one of the children about growing up in Manhattan Beach in the 60's. Bob has shared with me some of the things he remembers about life in Manhattan Beach in the 60's and 70's. One of the things he recalled was that there were hardly any stop signs on the streets in the Hill section back then. You could ride your bike all the way to Ardmore without stopping... or as Bob recalled.. they went screaming down the hill without having to stop. I bet his Mom didn't know that!

There were kids on every block and they all knew each other. They walked or rode bikes everywhere. They rode their bikes to Pacific and Center schools... no long lines of parents dropping off or picking up their kids. They played in the streets and went to the beach alone. No one thought anything about biking to the park to play ball without a parent as a chaperon. In fact they would have been appalled to have a parent along. The kids used to play tennis at Live Oak when it was free. Surfing and Volleyball played a big part in their lives as it does today for many Manhattan Beach residents.

Bob and his brother loved cars. In fact they built racing cars in their garage. One of the coolest things he remembers is that Carroll Shelby lived at 6th and Valley and he saw the Cobras up close. He got to hang with Carroll Shelby and meet a lot of his racing buddies.

Most of the neighbors worked in aerospace or were teachers. Back then Manhattan Beach was a very conservative town although not as conservative as El Segundo. Hermosa was the wild town and Redondo was the big beach town. Over the years the neighborhood has changed. Many of the older homes have been remodeled or torn down.

In the 80's the Big houses began to be built and prices started moving up. Homes over 3000 square feet were considered very large and not many could afford them. I was in real estate and remember when the home on the southwest corner of First and Dianthus was built. The neighbors were stunned. The rumors flew like crazy... had the owner really spent a million dollars. The sum was astronomical back then. The consensus of opinion was that the owner was nuts to spend that kind of money on a house in Manhattan Beach. Today you couldn't touch the lot for four times that amount of money.

Since the house was built in 1964 a lot has changed in Manhattan Beach and on Dianthus. The homes on the north and south have both had some very extensive remodeling and updating over the years. Up and down the street are some very large homes with some very large prices. One thing that has remained the same is that Dianthus is a great street and Manhattan Beach is a good place to live. So the next time the house is open.. stop by and take a look at this well loved family home.. who knows it might be the home you have been looking for...

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