Chimney Sweep

$1.6 Million Houses in California

Designed by prolific architect Cliff May, the homes in the Rancho Estates wing are coveted by enthusiasts of his work, which enhanced the suburban ranch home with elements of mid-century modern design. This home is on one of the larger lots in the neighborhood, and like many of Mr. May’s homes, it is configured to allow for indoor and outdoor living, with many of the main rooms having direct access to the outdoors.

The property is not far from El Dorado Park, which features several lakes, hiking trails, and a field for flying model airplanes, as well as softball fields and a picnic area. Downtown Long Beach is 15 minutes away. Los Angeles International Airport is about half an hour’s drive away.

Size: 1,568 square meters

Price per square meter: $989

Inside: Behind the neat row of olive trees and the wooden gate in the front garden is a large paved entrance courtyard.

The front door to the rear courtyard opens into a living area that was expanded during a refurbishment by a previous owner. This room has polished concrete floors, high beamed ceilings and two fireplaces: one in the sitting area and another framed by floor to ceiling stones in the dining area.

The adjoining kitchen features alder cabinets, marble counters, Sub-Zero and Wolf appliances, and a glass door that opens to the side patio.

The master bedroom is off the entrance, with a wall of windows overlooking the courtyard; The en-suite bathroom has a walk-in shower with a window and marble tiles.

The other two bedrooms are off a short hallway that extends from the living area; Each is large enough for a queen bed and a desk. They share a full bathroom off the hallway with a skylight and a combination tub and shower.

Opposite the house is the original detached garage which has been converted into an open airy space used as an office and study.

Outside: The courtyard and side terrace feel private thanks to a bamboo wall over the wooden fence. A new two car garage was added to the property by a previous owner.

This home is less than 1 mile from Lake Merritt and about a 15 minute walk to Pine Knoll Park which features a lawned area and benches with expansive views of the lake. Tilden Regional Park, with its hiking trails and botanical gardens, is around 10 minutes’ drive away. Oakland High School and Bella Vista Elementary School are within walking distance.

A bus stopping half a block away takes passengers to downtown Oakland in 15 minutes. The drive to San Francisco (a combined bus and BART route) takes about half an hour. Berkeley is about 15 minutes away.

Size: 2,057 square meters

Price per square meter: $775

Inside: From the street, steps lead to a wide covered porch with space for several chairs.

The front door opens into a foyer with hardwood floors, which continues to the left into the living room. This room has an original fireplace with a blue tile surround flanked by built-in recessed wooden benches. A wide doorway leads into a dining room with windows and wood paneled walls, which connects to an updated kitchen with a center island, black quartz countertops, and stainless steel appliances including a wine refrigerator.

One bedroom (currently used as a home office), full bathroom and mudroom with access to the back deck are off the kitchen.

The primary suite is at the end of a hallway off the dining room. The bedroom is big enough for a king size bed; the bathroom has a combination tub and shower and a blue vanity with two sinks.

Two more bedrooms are at the front of the house; They share a full bathroom that sits between them.

The finished basement has a room that could serve as a family room. There is also a guest toilet on this level.

Outside: The wooden deck behind the house offers plenty of space for al fresco dining. It leads down to a fenced backyard that is landscaped with grass and mature trees. The detached garage has one parking space.

Steer: $19,932 (estimated)

Contact: Anna Frankel, Golden Gate Sotheby’s International Realty, 510-710-0252;

Sierra Madre, a small town in the San Gabriel Valley, offers proximity to some of Southern California’s best hiking trails, and this home is 10 minutes from a number of trails that wind through the foothills of the San Gabriel Mountains. (It’s also about a five-minute walk from a wisteria listed in the Guinness Book of World Records as the world’s largest flowering plant.)

The town center with its cafes, restaurants and community theater is about a five minute drive away. Pasadena is about 20 minutes away. To the east, Monrovia is a 10-minute drive; Azusa and Glendora are about 20 minutes away.

Size: 1,780 square meters

Price per square meter: $871

Inside: The front yard is divided by a wooden fence with a tall wooden gate in the middle. A landscaped area faces the street and a larger, more private area is behind the fence: a lawn surrounded by landscaping, a paved patio and a wooden deck with mountain views.

The entrance to the house is at the back of the patio. The front door opens into a living area with new hardwood floors, a bay window overlooking the patio and courtyard, and a gas fireplace with white-painted brick surrounds.

This room opens into a dining area with windows. Beyond is a kitchen with white base cabinets, wood and glass wall cabinets, and updated appliances. The kitchen has access to the side courtyard and to a pantry containing a stacked washer and dryer.

All three bedrooms lead off a hallway that extends from the living room. The master suite is located at the back of the hall, up a short flight of stairs. It has a private balcony and a bathroom with a shower and a long vanity. The two guest rooms share a bathroom off the hallway with a shower and separate bathtub.

A room below the ground floor, which can be reached via an outside entrance in the side courtyard, is used by the salespeople as a work and training room.

Outside: In addition to the expansive front yard and side yard, the property features a back yard with a brick patio surrounded by grass and trees bearing citrus and figs. The attached garage at the back of the house offers space for two cars.

Steer: $19,380 (estimated)

Contact: Melissa Menard, Melissa Menard Homes, Compass, 310-729-9726;

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