Open House Report, LA: See you in Santa Monica, Brentwood & Venice on Sunday

Heading to the West Side this weekend, there's some great stuff to look at— in Santa Monica, a 1932 "adobe" that looks an awful lot like a Cliff May, a cottage in Brentwood and a small house in Venice behind an austere white wall— all updated and looking move-in ready.

831 Wellesley Avenue, Bentwood, $1.399M (pictured above)
Not far way on the Brentwood border, this sweet c.1929 cottage isn't much on the outside. Inside, the owner's given it a well-honed eclecticism with vintage furniture, but not the desperately-twee "Shabby Chic." Just chic. And while you're not buying the decor, the owner's provided a good framework to make the place your own. The 2-bed, 2.5-bath house has been on the market about a month. We love the dining room/library, the small but well-equipped kitchen, plus the pepple-paved garden slightly downhill. Well done. Open Sunday, April 1, from 2:00pm to 4:00pm

317 23rd Street, Santa Monica, $2.849M
We're Cliff May fans around here, and while this house probably was not by May, it's got the same low-slung Rancho vibe that he was designing around the same time, with thick walls, a tile roof arranged in a classic U plan around a courtyard, and a tiled plunge pool very much like a hacienda's fountain.

The inward-looking 3-bed, 3-bath house comes with weathered timber ceilings and a kitchen that beautifully integrates new appliances with vintage cabinets. In other words, the house retains its classic austerity and no one's screwed it up.

It's technically not "adobe" but probably built with hollow terra-cotta blocks (think saltillo tile meets cement block.) Very popular in the 1920s and '30s, the blocks permitted lightweight structures with the thick dimensions desired in  a variety of historic styles like Mission and Spanish, and always given a coat of stucco outside and plaster on the inside. The blocks are also easily worked, so up-to-date electric and plumbing could be easily installed. In the days before air conditioning, the thick walls helped keep the houses cool, just as adobe had. This house now has air conditioning, and it's on the market for only a week, looking ready to move into. Open Sunday, April 1, from 2:00pm to 5:00pm

973 Lake Street, Venice, $1.085M
Meanwhile, in Venice, an example of the California design so many people love— that kind of casual, intuitive and off-handed look that's very easy on the eyes. Walled into it's own bamboo woodland, a once-tiny 1924 cottage has had a big living/dining/kitchen space added, with timber beams and smooth cement floors. The materials aren't expensive, just well-applied. There's a two-car garage that seems to have become a studio, and have a look at the dedicated site with images by LA house photographer Charmaine David. If there's a lake nearby, we couldn't find it and the beach isn't all that close, either. The 3-bed, 2-bath house has been on and off the market since 2007 and was recently reduced to $1.085M.

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