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If you're going to build your own custom beach house in Southern California's famed Manhattan Beach, killer views are key.
O'Connor sold the original tear-down property to the current owner, an avid surfer. The owner decided to custom-build a new residence, hiring Los Angeles architect Daryl Olesinski. The result: a modern home that embraces the beach. (It's about 300 feet from the sand, the agent notes.)
The minimalist concrete, wood, and glass design focuses on its surroundings. The top floor of the 3,350-square-foot space includes dining, kitchen, and living areas, and completely opens to the deck. When the folding glass doors and sliding windows are fully opened, "It fees like the front living room and deck are all one room," O'Connor says.
Inside, high-end finishes add some serious luxury to the retreat. The spare kitchen with huge island, casual seating, and marble countertops has built-in gadgets, including a Miele espresso machine and wet bar.
Head outside and lounge by the fire pit and built-in barbecue, while gazing at the sunset over the Pacific.
Down one floor is a generous master suite and two bedrooms; on the floor below that is a cavernous concrete garage, which can also house surf gear. On the ground floor is another sweet surprise: a saltwater hot tub, perfect to jump into after a day at the beach.
The lot is considered a "two-third" size, so the design went vertical to optimize the smaller lot. There's no need to worry if you don't want to climb stairs: There's an elevator.
The architect "brought the owner's dream to life," O'Connor says. But now the owner has a new dream -- to build another house elsewhere -- and is ready to move on.
While it doesn't come cheap, Manhattan Beach is a sweet spot to live by any measure. Pro athletes such as Maria Sharapova and Mia Hamm have called the place home. James Cameron's production studio relocated there, and a range of TV shows have used the city as backdrop, from "Ally McBeal" to "The O.C."
Aside from its Hollywood aura, the area is a draw for being the opposite of L.A.: You can get out of your car and enjoy a completely walkable area, with restaurants and shopping nearby.