In the South Bay Area of Los Angeles, Manhattan Beach is a very chill, connected community. A safe environment for kids, the quintessential SoCal beach town boasts one of the nicest beaches in the area. Of course, as in most of Southern California, buyers have to pay — and pay dearly — for that kind of coastal tranquility.
Over the last 20 or 30 years, throughout the community, humble beach cottages have been replaced with spacious houses built cheek-to-jowel with other expensively expanded homes. Prices are expectedly high; Redfin sets the year-to-date median price for a single-family home at more than $3.6 million. There are however, some original treasures still to be found. To wit: a modestly proportioned, 1,700-square-foot midcentury residence in the sought-after Tree Section that was designed and built in 1947 by local architect John R. O’Donnell, Jr., for his own family.
In his early career, O’Donnell’s worked for Charles Luckman, aka “Boy Wonder of American Business,” and helped design parts of the Los Angeles Zoo and the Fabulous Forum in Inglewood, now known more prosaically as the Kia Forum. O’Donnell’s family house is now on the market for the first time ever. Of course, this being Manhattan Beach, the $2.675 million asking price is hardly what most people would call a bargain. The property is available via Davina O’Donnell (John’s daughter-in-law) and Debbie Edwards at Berkshire Hathaway Home Services California Properties.
Set on a petite 0.12-acre plot, the four-bedroom and three-bath house has been carefully designed to make the most of the fantastic local climate. There are five garden patios, around which the rooms have been designed. The interiors are mostly original, which is a delight to people who like their mid-mods unaltered. The living room sports what looks like original paneling, a fireplace and a collection of iconic Bertoia, Eames and Thonet chairs. The galley kitchen may strike some people as quite small, but this is what high-style kitchens looked like during the Truman years! While it could use a refresh and some new appliances, aficionados of the style would love to see the new owners tread lightly on renovations of this rare culinary survivor.
In the back, next to an alley, is a two-car garage currently being used as an office space. As the listing states, “this home has been filled with love and joy.” And as the agent is the daughter-in-law of the architect and owner, she knows what she’s talking about. Here’s to keeping the good vibes going and preserving this time capsule architecture for a new generation!