What $1.9 Million Buys You in California

With its quiet, tree-lined streets and single-family homes just 20 minutes from downtown San Francisco, the Balboa Terrace neighborhood is popular with those who want to live in the city but enjoy the comforts of the suburbs. Aptos Park, a green space with a children’s playground and tennis courts, is a five-minute walk away, and a light rail station is just half a mile away, at Ocean Avenue and Junipero Serra Boulevard. Stonestown Galleria, a mall with a Target, Trader Joe’s and movie theater, is 1 mile away.

Cut: 2,550 square feet

Price per square foot: $745

Inside: Steps lead from the front yard to a covered porch with a turret-shaped entrance.

Hardwood floors flow from the entry hall into a living room with an original stucco fireplace and a wide window overlooking the street. Across the living room is a dining room with a brass chandelier and windows that overlook trees to the side of the property. From here two doors lead to a bright kitchen. An adjoining breakfast room could be used as a home office; it has a built-in wardrobe and glass doors that open to the aft deck.

Two bedrooms are on the first floor: one is next to the entrance hall, with a window flanked by built-in bookcases; the other is at the back of the house, with a bay window overlooking the backyard. Between them is a bathroom with original 1930s tiles in shades of peach and brown.

The second level is configured as a large master suite. Off the bedroom is a deck with ocean views on a clear day. The bathroom has 1930s tiles in celadon and butter yellow.

On the lowest level of the home is a family room with a working fireplace, seating and dining area, and access to the garage.

Outdoor space: The rear wooden deck is large enough to comfortably accommodate a set of chairs and a small table. Stairs lead to a grassy backyard surrounded by a wooden fence and landscaped with mature trees. The attached garage has two parking spaces, but could be converted into additional living space.

Taxes: $23,736 (estimated), plus $34 monthly homeowners association fee

Contact: Erin Thompson, Compass, 415-531-9626; compass.com

This property is located in the hills above downtown Ojai, just off the highway that connects this part of the state to the desert counties further inland. It is well placed to take advantage of popular outdoor recreational activities in the area, with hiking trails and campgrounds 10 minutes away. Driving into town also takes about 10 minutes, and Ojai’s main streets are dotted with upscale restaurants, boutique hotels, and tasting rooms serving Santa Ynez Valley wine. Santa Barbara is 45 minutes away; driving to Los Angeles takes about an hour and a half.

Cut: 4,722 square feet

Price per square foot: $401

Inside: A long driveway winds from the street to the front of this house, and a steep staircase leads to the front door.

Hardwood floors continue from the foyer into an open living space with high ceilings and a stone fireplace flanked by large windows. There is room for a dining area in front of glass doors that open onto a patio. On the other side of this space is an updated kitchen with stainless steel appliances, including a Wolf range that features a green stone backsplash that echoes the stone of the living room fireplace.

To the left of the entrance hall is the master suite, which has a balcony overlooking the hills and an en-suite bathroom with a combined bath and shower and double vanity. Two more bedrooms are on this side of the house, each large enough to fit a queen-size bed; they share a full bathroom.

A guest bedroom with en-suite bathroom is up a short flight of stairs off the hall. Also off the entry hall is a dedicated home office with a built-in desk.

A one-bedroom guesthouse with a full bathroom and kitchen is a few feet from the house.

Outdoor space: A stone patio next to the dining room and kitchen has a built-in barbecue. A low stone wall behind the house creates space for planting; beyond, another wall separates this part of the property from the hillside. The attached garage holds two cars.

Taxes: $23,688 (estimated)

Contact: Tyler Brousseau and Erik Wilde, LIV Sotheby’s International Realty, 805-760-2213 or 805-830-3254; sothebysrealty.com


The Hanchett Park neighborhood was developed in the early 20th century and most of the homes, including this one, date from the 1910s. Sellers extended the home, adding a master bath and powder room, but have retained original details such as the tiled fireplace in the living room and a number of fitted wardrobes. It’s about a five-minute drive from downtown and 10 minutes from San Jose State University. The San Jose Municipal Rose Garden, where nearly 200 varieties of roses bloom each year, is just over a mile away.

Cut: 2,038 square feet

Price per square foot: $930

Inside: From the pavement, a paved path leads to the house, behind a small courtyard and a neat hedge.

The front door opens into a living room with two large windows to the side of the property and a fireplace framed in Arts and Crafts style tiles.

Through a wide doorway is a dining room with a built-in dresser and a door that opens into a spacious kitchen with a center island topped with a butcher block. A family room with a built-in entertainment center is just off the kitchen. Across the hall is a new powder room with a white porcelain pedestal sink.

A hallway connects the living room to the four bedrooms on the other side of the house. Down the hall is the master bedroom, which has an en-suite bathroom with a deep soaking tub and wooden vanity. Across the hall is a guest bedroom that the vendors use as a home gym; next to it is a bedroom used as a home office. These bedrooms share a full bathroom off the hallway with a fourth bedroom, large enough to fit a queen-size bed.

Outdoor space: The backyard is framed by mature trees, some of which bear fruit. A patio large enough to hold a dining table sits midway between the main house and the back fence. The detached garage has parking for one car, an integrated electric vehicle charger and an adjacent sauna.

Taxes: $23,673 (estimated)

Contact: Corinne Raffanti, Sereno, 408-482-6115; tours.tourfactory.com

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