5 Manhattan Beach Beauties For Sale

Manhattan Beach is a great beach community with a sub-culture all of it’s own. The new architecture here is adding some strong character to the neighborhood. Here are my top 5 homes currently on the market.

Coastal Contemporary

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Beautiful Jon Starr designed warm, coastal contemporary home w/ sit-down ocean views. Just five doors to the beach, this home offers 4 bedrooms, 3.5 baths, an elevator this home boasts rare 10 foot ceilings on all 3 levels, an exceptional panoramic unblockable ocean view. Metal floating stairs w/ encased hardwood steps lead one to the second floor, which features a luxurious master suite, w/Kohler soaking tub, huge custom stone rain shower. The top level features soaring 10′ plus, rich, mahogany tongue & groove ceilings w/ mahogany beams running across the ceiling. 9′ tall custom Quantum folding mahogany doors that open to a ocean view deck offering exceptional indoor outdoor living.

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Beds 4 | Baths: 4 | Sq Ft: 2780 | Lot Size: 1754 | Year Built: 2016

 $4,285,000

3608 Manhattan Ave, Manhattan Beach, CA

 

Silicon Bay Modern Masterpiece

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Designed by Jon Starr as well, this exceptional 5,600 s.f. home features 6 bedrooms, 7.5 baths, 2 family rooms, a gym and an office over 3 levels. The panoramic ocean views and suspended mahogany trellis spans the entire top floor from the rear ocean view BBQ deck, thru the interior space to the large exterior ocean view front deck. The great room features travertine fireplace wall, stone slab flooring, cantilevered dark sandstone bar, refrigerated glass wine wall, Calcutta slab counters, and breakfast nook seating. Master suite with mahogany paneling and marble fireplace, his and her walk-in closets. The ocean view master bath features floor to ceiling vein cut marble, backlit suspended mirrors, free standing tub and spa shower. 3 secondary suites, covered patio with built in seating around the fire pit and a large grassy yard.

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Beds: 6 | Baths: 8 | Sq Ft: 5600 | Lot Sz: 7128 | Year Built: 2016

$10,900,000

629 6th St, Manhattan Beach, CA 90266

 

French Normandy Beach Style

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Situated on a corner lot in a prime location on The Strand, this Maison de Plage was once the summer retreat of Jean Harlow, MGM’s leading lady of the 30’s. It’s also been the beach side getaway for singer, Garth Brooks’ family. This classic French Normandy style beach home has panoramic views from the master bedroom suite, living room, dining room, and expansive brick patio. 4 bedroom, 4 bath with a billiard room, guest quarters above the garage, and spacious family room. One of the special touches is the exquisite kitchen with its Portuguese tile. Don’t miss this rare opportunity to own on The Strand in Manhattan Beach!

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Beds: 4 | Baths: 4 | Sq Ft: 3,969 | Lot Sz: 3,492 | Year Built: 1936

$15,900,000

2400 The Strand, Manhattan Beach, CA 90266

 

Manhattan Sands Beachcomber

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Situated on a wonderful corner lot location in the Manhattan sand section comes this refreshing art inspired home. Updated throughout, this 3 bedroom, 3 bath home is spread out over nearly 2400 sq feet with captivating ocean views from PV to Malibu. Enjoy views and an ocean breeze from an outdoor deck on every level. A few short blocks up from one of the best beaches in Southern California this home is also unique in that it boasts parking for 4-5 cars, a rare find! The wonderful curb appeal and perfectly kept garden make this home a gem within a city that truly is one of a kind.

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Beds: 3 | Baths: 3 | Sq Ft: 2,300 | Lot Size: 1,504 | Year Built: 1964

$3,499,000

2215 Alma Ave, Manhattan Beach, CA 90266

Coastal Cape Cod

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Located on a full 30′ x 90′ lot in north Manhattan on a family friendly Cul-de-Sac Street, this coastal Cape Cod ocean view home was originally developed by Nick Schaar and has recently gone through a beautiful renovation. 4 bedrooms and 4.5 baths. The top floor living area features a wide open floor plan leading to an expansive brick deck where you can watch the sun dip into the ocean every night around your fire pit. The second floor features master suite with his and her walk-in closets, large master bath with spa shower, spa tub with beautiful slab marble counters and white and gray basket weave marble flooring. Two other large secondary bedrooms, each with custom baths and walk in closets.

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Beds: 4 | Baths: 5 | Sq Ft: 4,252 | Lot Size: 2,705 | Year Built: 2003

$4,275,000

421 32nd St, Manhattan Beach, CA 90266

 

Find Unique Gifts in Manhattan Beach

Tabula Rasa

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Cheeky California fun style. You will find one of a kind items like there Christmas Beach decor towels, fragrances, body elixirs, girly blinged out pepper spray and they make an effort to stock cool items made right in Manhattan Beach

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Tunisian crafts straight from the Tunisian crafts people. The Souk is owned by a husband and wife who went to Tunisia to discover their roots and decided to bring back what they found and share it with us.

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The items are definitely one of a kind and gorgeous! This gift is for your friend with good eclectic taste. The one you go try new Ethiopian restaurants with and who likes to travel.

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Waterleaf is an interior design dream. They have curated a distinct style that is still varied enough to have something for everyone.

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I like their vases. I think that a nice bouquet of flowers in a gorgeous vase is a great gift. Everyone loves flowers and they can keep the vase for later use. Try to match the vase with the style of the persons home decor, when in doubt, go for clear glass.

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I want to put up all of their photos but I won’t so check out their website below. It’s a work of art.

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York Town rocks my socks off. They are all about local artisans and have a strong affinity for the beach and the ocean. They are constantly featuring new artists work and it’s great stuff.

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I don’t even know what this thing is! But I want it. This art piece is by L.A. artisit Jamie Dietrich, she takes vintage, recycled and treasures from the ocean to create these designs. No two pieces are alike. She has been featured in InStyle, House Beautiful, Elle Decor, Architectural Digest and HGTV.

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Another artist, Shannon, makes these wonderful wall hangs with ropes. Super creative and great beach style.

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The people you care about will be touched when you get them something special and one of a kind. When you buy local the money stays in the community, that means you are improving the place where you live when you decide to buy local.

Spotlight On Glendale

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To the northeast of Hollywood, you’ll find one of the most diverse pockets of LA County, a town called Glendale. Though with a population of almost 200,000, “town” might not be the best definition anymore. This thriving community has long been a spot for families to settle down, but the growing restaurant and shopping scenes are changing that. Now, it is more appealing to a younger crowd seeking more affordable housing in a clean, green, area. Curious about Glendale? Here’s our picks for places to indulge, enjoy, and explore:

Best Restaurants in Glendale

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If you love to eat authentic flavors from around the world, dine in Glendale!

Raffi’s Place: Armenian Persians flock here for big family dinners of grilled meat (the photo above should have you drooling!) and other Persian dishes. Raffi’s is known for gigantic serving sizes, so be prepared to share!

Porto’s: This Cuban bakery is the number one destination for fresh-out-of-the-oven cheese rolls, decadent fruit tortes and pies, authentic Cuban sandwiches and flaky chicken empanadas.

Din Tai Fung: Enjoy traditional Shanghainese and Taiwanese dishes in the trendy Americana at Brand shopping center. A must-order dish: Juicy Pork Dumplings.

Best Bars & Pubs in Glendale

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Whether you love a classy cocktail or a beer outside, find your perfect watering hole in Glendale.

Pub at Golden Road – Enjoy the California sunshine with a local brew, lawn games, and live band karaoke at the Golden Road Brewery (pictured above). Check out their free brewery tours!

Oak & Vine – This wine bar, retail shop, and art gallery is a great place to relax and catch up with friends while learning about wine from their trained sommeliers.

Tigre Magnifico – For the coolest drink you’ll ever have, try to get into this pop-up free cocktail event, held in apartments – the  location of which is only revealed to lucky attendees. Follow them on Instagram @eltigrecocktails to try and score an invite to upcoming events (and maybe bring me as your +1).

Best Attractions in Glendale

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Glendale is full of hidden gems, so keep these attractions in your back pocket when you need an adventure.

Museum of Neon Art – Check out their permanent collections of electric and light based arts, or join them on a bus tour through LA to see famous signs. Want to make your own sign? They’ve got a cool DIY event coming up soon!

Forest Lawn Museum – A museum at a cemetery might seem strange, but their rotating exhibits are always interesting and unique. Up now: A celebration of the work of Eyvind Earle, an artist and Disney Legend who did background paintings for many Disney animated films, including Sleeping Beauty, Lady and the Tramp, and Peter Pan.

Moonlight Rollerway – Take a trip back in time (it was built in the 1950s) to this kitschy roller rink, with special skating times for kids, LGBT skaters, and adults.

Best Nature Areas & Parks in Glendale

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Unplug and enjoy nature with these beautiful spots in Glendale, perfect for hiking, picnicking, and Instagramming.

Verdugo Mountains Open Space – The 244-acre nature preserve contains more than 2,300 indigenous trees, and a beautifully diverse terrain (see above).

Deukmejian Wilderness Park – The Wilderness Park occupies a rugged 709-acre site in the foothills of the San Gabriel Mountains, featuring trails with secluded streamside woodlands and spectacular views of the Crescenta Valley and the Los Angeles basin.

Best Shopping in Glendale

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Pick up something for your friend, your kids, and yourself at these great shopping destinations.

Americana at Brand – This luxury shopping center has dozens of shops, restaurants (including the recently opened Shake Shack), a movie theater, a trolley, and a daily Dancing Fountain & Light Show. Can it get more LA than that?!

Glendale Galleria – For serious shoppers only. This massive indoor mall has practically every store, including major chains and unique boutiques.

Mystery & imagination Bookstore – Shop local at this one-of-a-kind book shop featuring new, used, and rare books, plus regular readings, book signings, and more events.

Best Schools in Glendale

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The Glendale Unified School district is in the top 15% of school districts in California, with high performing elementary, middle, and high schools.

Monte Vista Elementary – This K-6 school is beloved by students and parents alike, has high test scores and engaging after-school activities, and was named a California Gold Ribbon School in 2016.

Rosemont Middle – This California Distinguished School consistently scores above average for the state, and offers dozens of clubs and extracurricular activities for its students.

Crescenta Valley High – With a 98% graduation rate, and 60% of students taking Advanced Placement classes, it’s no wonder they send a huge amount of students to top local colleges like UCLA & USC.

Glendale is a wonderful place to visit or live. Check out these awesome restaurants, attractions, and more to see what Glendale is all about.

Best Halloween Haunted Houses, Mazes and Scary Places in Southern California

To some Halloween is about dressing up and pigging out on candy corn. But for thrill-seekers, this is the month for haunted houses, dark mazes, and the opportunity to get seriously scared with your friends. Los Angeles has some of the best haunted house attractions in the country, with blockbuster film-level makeup, costumes, and special effects. If you’re ready for the fright of your life, check out these top 6 Halloween spots.

 

Haunted Hay Ride – Griffith Park

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Forget the hay rides you took as a kid. This dark and creepy ride has six scare zones, and a new element where you leave the safety of the wagon to face the demons face-to-face. This year’s theme is “Secret Society” and is sure to leave even the bravest a little afraid.

 

Halloween Horror Nights – Universal Studios

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When a film studio puts on a Haunted house, you know it’s going to be realistic – maybe a little too much. Navigate seven mazes, scare zones and the “Terror Tram” with moments from your favorite movies and TV shows like The Walking Dead, The Purge, Halloween, Freddy vs. Jason, American Horror Story, The Exorcist and more.

 

Knott’s Scary Farm

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Every year at Halloween, Knott’s Berry Farm takes a sinister turn and becomes Knott’s Scary Farm – a theme park filled with mazes (10 total), scare zones, and nightly live shows with Elvira, the legendary Mistress of the Dark. With more than 1,000 monsters roaming around, this is no place for scaredy cats.

 

Opechee Haunt – Glendale

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This yard haunt and interactive experience takes you to a house haunted by the Edwards family. Explore the family cemetery, then try the new “Apparition Adventure,” where you hunt down ghosts by using your phone to unlock clues and detect paranormal activity. And even more amazing? The event is run by a 14 year old!

 

Delusion “Lies Within” – West Adams

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This immersive “haunted play” makes you a character in a horror film who stops for shelter on a dark and stormy night in the mansion you were warned never to step foot inside. Consistently voted one of the best Halloween events in LA, this is a must-see for those who love the thrill of fear.

 

Creep LA – Glassell Park

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If you’ve read the above events and still think, “that’s not scary,” then Creep LA is for you. Creep is a fully immersive, sensory experience of dark vignettes, described as a “foreboding, surreal nightmare” by LAist. You might have to do this one by yourself (I’ll wait in the car).

 

Halloween only comes once a year, so hurry up and get your tickets for these creepy events!

The Best Schools in Los Angeles

Los Angeles County is home to some of the greatest schools in the country. But only some can be considered the best. These are the seven best public elementary, middle, and high schools located throughout the county, each offering excellent academics, extracurricular activities, and general student/parent life.

 

Elementary Schools

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Point Vicente Elementary School in Rancho Palos Verdes, California has a lower than average student to teacher ratio of 22:1. 93% of students at this school are considered proficient in math and/or reading, and 90% of teachers have over five years experience. The school prides itself on it’s enrichment programs, such as the annual International Day, where students learn about food, geography, and languages of the world, and after-school offerings such as “Lightsaber Fitness” “Lego Creativity Workshop,” and “Rocket Science and Astronomy.” All of these features led the State of California to declare Point Vicente a Distinguished Elementary School in 2014.

 

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La Canada Elementary School is consistently ranked as one of the best elementary schools in California. La Canada Elementary is both a California Distinguished School (2010) and a National Blue Ribbon School (2013), and La Canada was identified in 2012 by the U.S. Department of Education as the top performing K- 12 school district in California. All LCE students are able to participate in a Spanish program, a creative writing course, Math & Science Olympiad, music programs, and more.

 

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Marengo Elementary School in South Pasadena, California is a larger school, but still offers excellent student:teacher ratios and was named a Distinguished Elementary School in 2010. 91% of students passed state tests in math and reading, and the school has just began offering a Mandarin Immersion Program in Kindergarten. The parent support is very high here, with the PTA providing $130,000 annually to support Marengo instructional programs. The school offers a variety of annual events for students and their families, including a Fall Pumpkin Festival, Celebrate the Arts Day, Science Fair, and a Talent Show.

 

Middle Schools

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Henry E. Huntington Middle School in San Marino, California, was named a California Distinguished School in 1994, 2005, 2009 and 2013, and offers an excellent education. Huntington Middle has a significantly below-average student to teacher ratio, and a large percentage of students are enrolled in the Gifted & Talented program. HMS Students consistently score in the top 1% of all California Middle Schools in state tests. The school places great emphasis on a well-rounded student, with over 50% of students participating one of 20 different sports and cheerleading, and over 60% of the student body is involved in music, dance, or drama programs.

 

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Palos Verdes Intermediate in Palos Verdes Estates, California, has a picturesque location, nestled in the bluffs overlooking the ocean. Their students placed in the top 10% for math and reading for the State of California. Named a Distinguished School in 2011, Palos Verdes Intermediate strives to provide a variety of programs for students, including academic groups such as Debate Club and STEM & WISE competition clubs to prepare them for high school.

 

High Schools

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Redondo Union High School in Redondo Beach, California has placed in the top 10% for SAT scores, AP scores, as well as math & English testing. Redondo Union has a very high graduation rate, and 40% of students have a GPA at 3.5 or higher, while taking one of the school’s 24 Advanced Placement courses. RUHS has won the state competition for a variety of sports in the last four years, as well as offering excellent arts programs.

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The Los Angeles Center for Enriched Studies is located in LA, and has 1,646 students in grades 6-12. 94% of students were determined to be proficient in math and/or reading. This is a magnet school that combines academic rigor, a new commitment to the arts, and engaging teachers that thoroughly prepares students for college. LACES proved their dedication to education in 2014, when the graduating class had one National Merit Scholar, four National Merit Finalists, and 16 National Merit Commended Students.

The 7 Best Places To Watch Football In Pasadena

It’s football season! Whether you prefer college or NFL, Pasadena is full of great places to catch your favorite game while enjoying great food and drinks. Here are some excellent places to check out on the next game day.

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Barney’s Beanery Pasadena

If you like to play games while you watch the game, Barney’s Beanery will have you scoring. This three-story sports bar has pool tables, foosball, air hockey, and darts, plus karaoke in the basement. Each table has their own designated TV so you’re guaranteed to watch your team, plus larger TVs located throughout the kitschy bar. If you’re hoping to watch some Saturday morning college football, order some bottomless mimosas to start your tailgating off right.

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Freddie’s 35er Bar

Freddie’s 35er is prepared for game day, with TVs galore showing whatever game you’re hoping to watch. Freddie’s creates a great game day experience, with tacos served up on the patio on weeknights, and a BBQ on Sundays for hot-off-the-grill burgers and dogs. They’re sure to play all the USC, UCLA, Stanford and Rams games, plus any others you’re rooting for. And did we mention complimentary popcorn?! What more could you ask for!

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Slaters 50-50

Sometimes, a plate of mediocre nachos just won’t do it on gameday. For a great meal while you watch the game, Slater’s has an incredible menu of gourmet burgers and more. Their specialty 50/50 patty is made of half ground beef, half bacon, and they’ve got all kinds of crazy options like “Peanut Butter & Jellousy” (yep, peanut butter & jelly burger) and a Pizza Burger. Add that to hundreds of beers on tap, and the holy-grail of football TV, NFL Sunday Ticket, and your game day is set.

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Rocco’s Tavern

Rocco’s departs from traditional sports bar fare, instead serving Italian comfort food like pasta and pizza. Their delicious menu is perfect for catering to other family members or friends who don’t care so much about football that you bring with you. They’ve also got happy hour on Saturdays and Sundays from 3-7pm with 2-for-1 drinks, making it the perfect place to find a deal while catching the game. They’ve got dozens of TVs, so you can rest assured you won’t miss a moment.

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Dog Haus Biergarten

Ask local Pasadenans for their favorite low-key spot to watch sports, and they’ll say Dog Haus. They’ve got TVs indoors and outdoors, which is perfect for sunny Southern California fall. But the real kicker is happy hour all day Sunday, with great deals on drinks and food. They’ve even been giving away free tickets to UCLA games this season – keep an eye on their Facebook page to win big.

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Lucky Baldwin’s

Are you looking for a place to watch the other kind of football? Catch some soccer at this English-Owned pub, with classic dishes like fish and chips and bangers and mash on the menu, plus British brews. The bar specialises in showing English Premiere games (they’ll open at 4:30am for those early matches), but will show all sports as well.

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Rose Bowl

If watching on TV just isn’t enough, head to the Rose Bowl for UCLA games, or the Rose Bowl game held annually on New Year’s Day. Built in 1922, this historic stadium is one amazing place to catch a game. Get there early every other Saturday to cheer for the Bruins.

Lets Get Weird – Interior Design For The Bold

Are you tired of your home looking like every other house on the block? Well, this list of crazy awesome home design ideas is sure to set your home apart! Sit back, relax, and start imagining your dream house!

 

Bring the outdoors, in

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Now you can bathe in a verdant forest with this moss wall in your bathroom! This healing wall, as it is called by the designer, holds a lush assortment of herbs, geraniums and mosses. An embedded water system keeps the fragrant plants fresh – and your bathroom smelling great too!

 

Sleep with the fishes

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Do you dream of being a mermaid? Then try this aquarium headboard, that can be filled with any array of sea creatures. Perfect for those who love snorkeling and scuba diving, or just can’t get enough of watching fish! Create your own “Under the Sea” world!

 

Slide downstairs

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You will get up early every morning to slide down to breakfast! You can roll heavy luggage and laundry you don’t want to carry down it too! This stair/slide combo is fun for families with kids – or just kids at heart!

 

Swing through dinner

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This swinging table instantly makes family dinners even more fun. Or, put it in your office for breezy company meetings. It’s all self-contained, so you don’t need to worry about mounting it from the ceiling! Make every meal play time with this innovative table (which is actually available for purchase right here!)

 

Walk on water

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If you live near a body of water, why not enjoy it even while you’re inside! This crazy walkway is suspended over the ocean for a view unlike any other.

 

Live in a Jurassic house

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This crazy staircase is not for the faint of heart! A British designer created this vertebrae staircase for a client, and it’s certainly one of the most unique staircases out there! If you truly want your home to stand out, this will do the trick.

Home design should be fun. Express your personality and have a few pieces that inspire conversation when friends come over.

Buying Real Estate in La Cañada Flintridge

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Located in the Crescenta Valley, nestled between the San Gabriel Mountains and the Angeles National Forest, lies the verdant city of La Cañada Flintridge. Just recently incorporated in 1976, this wealthy community offers excellent schools, large homes on spacious lots, and a quiet, suburban feel in the backyard of Los Angeles. Like Pasadena, it’s a great place to get more real estate square footage for your money than most other neighborhoods close to Los Angeles.

La Cañada has been a destination for homeowners looking for peaceful living in the mountains since the 1850s.  La Cañada is actually a merging of two distinct communities, La Cañada and Flintridge. La Cañada comes from the Spanish word cañada (pronounced “canyada”), meaning canyon, gorge, or ravine; Flintridge was named after its developer, United States Senator Frank P. Flint. Between the post-WWII migration of defense industry workers looking for jobs at the new Jet Propulsion Laboratory, and an improved water system, the population boomed in the 1950s. Currently celebrating its 40th anniversary as an incorporated city, La Cañada is a bustling community with a small-town quality not found in many areas of LA county.

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LCF, as it’s known for short, offers a respite from the urban city life that’s found just up the hill from Downtown Los Angeles. Ninety percent of residents are homeowners, and the city is in the top 10 highest median incomes in LA County. The La Cañada Unified School District serves most of the city and is ranked as one of the top school districts in the state.

Throughout La Cañada can be found beautiful homes built at the beginning of the 20th century, as well as sprawling modern mansions. LCF has below-average population density for Los Angeles, so many homes are on large plots of land for added privacy and uninterrupted views of the surrounding mountains. In La Cañada, every home has a room with a view.

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One of the most stunning homes in LCF is currently on the market, an 18,190 square foot masterpiece at 700 Berkshire Avenue. This majestic home is believed to have been designed by noted architect Myron Hunt for Senator Flint in 1918, and has seven bedrooms and 10 baths. Inside the home, you can find an original speak-easy, library, six fireplaces, gym, and two family rooms. The Mission Revival mansion is surrounded by 2 acres of park-like grounds, with a separate guest house, 4-car garage, sport court, and horse corral. If you’re looking for luxury living, this house is it.

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If Spanish-style architecture is more your thing, 4708 Palm Drive is a must see.  Built in 1926, it displays custom iron gates, hand painted tile accents, a fountain and authentic roof tiles. The main residence features four bedrooms and five baths, recreation room, bbq area and pool/spa and fantastic floor plan.  Plus the guest house offers another bedroom and living room for visitors (or just older kids who move back home).

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This custom home at 845 Highland Drive in the hills of La Cañada Flintridge is an art lovers dream! The home sits peacefully on a multi-level 40,000 square foot lot and is extremely private with beautiful views of the mountains. Entertaining is fabulous with its grand Living and Dining Room with walls of glass, enormous over-sized brick fireplace, exposed 18 foot ceilings, antique glass lanterns and large covered porch. In total the home has over 50 SF of original art from Judson Studios-one of the world’s leading glass art studios, imbedded into the very architecture. The sprawling yard is complimented with a large rose garden, pool, spa, grass area and numerous trees. This home is an absolutely unique La Cañada gem.

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LCF also offers stunning examples of modern-built homes that still feature classic architecture.  The seven bedroom, French style mansion at 567 Meadow Grove Street has been designed with the greatest attention to detail. The magnificent family room has a hand painted domed cupola, and the pool area has fountains, a European gazebo and statues. It also features a wine cellar, four hand-carved stone fireplaces & art garden with Koi pond. It’s an opulent home that’s sure to impress.


 

La Cañada Flintridge is just minutes away from dining and shopping in Pasadena, Glendale, and Echo Park, La Cañada boasts many of its own attractions. Enjoy an educational afternoon at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory, a unique national research facility that carries out robotic space and Earth science missions that’s open for free public tours. La Cañada goes to ‘Infinity and Beyond’!

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Or, if you want to spend some time outside, La Cañada has got you covered. Descanso Gardens is an urban retreat of year-round natural beauty, internationally renowned botanical collections and spectacular seasonal horticultural displays. Take a stroll through the acclaimed Japanese garden, rose garden, and North America’s largest camellia collection.

La Cañada Flintridge is an excellent place to live and work, with abundant parks, history, and privacy. Take a break from the city and relax in your new LCF home!

Frank Gehry is remaking the L.A. River and the finished product will shock you

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The LA River is probably the last place most people want to spend their free time, or to show off to visiting guests. After all, the concrete basin looks less like a river and more like a giant curved parking lot. The city is hoping to change that, however, and new plans have been created to revitalize the river, with renowned architect Frank Gehry leading the charge.

 

You might not know its there, but the Los Angeles River stretches for 51 miles from Canoga Park to Long Beach, winding through the concrete aqueduct built over 100 years ago. Contained to reduce flooding, the iconic concrete basin has since been featured in a variety of films, from Grease to The Dark Knight Rises. For years, Los Angelenos have complained about the eyesore of the concrete structure and its lack of an ecosystem.

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Gehry is one of the most polarizing architects in the modern world, with his striking designs receiving mixed reviews around the world. Some of his architectural wonders include the Guggenheim museum in Bilboa, Spain, 8 Spruce Street in New York City, and the Walt Disney Concert Hall in Downtown LA. Born in Toronto, Gehry first came to Los Angeles to attend the University of Southern California. His architectural firm has been based in the city since the 1960s.

Gehry and his architectural team was brought on by River LA, the organization behind the revitalization, to create a “Master Plan” for the redesign of the LA River. As a long-time resident of LA, Gehry was instantly attracted to the project, and is currently working pro-bono. Gehry’s decision to join forces with River LA has been, like his other work, controversial. Many fear the possibility of new construction near the river, causing gentrification or displacement in a city already suffering a housing crisis.

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According to the project’s website, however, the mission is to create a “Healthy River For All.”  Gehry’s goal in the plan is to look at it like a water-reclamation project, and to deal with the water conservation issues first. “I think we’re wasting a lot of water at a time when we need it,” he said. The new design will include more space for wildlife, recreation, housing, as well as conserving water.

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The proposal is split into nine categories – Flood Risk Management, Water Recharge, Water Quality, Greenhouse Gasses, Ecology & Habitat, Open Space & Parks, Public Health Social Equity, and Programming. None provide many detailed specifics, but there are certainly things to be excited about. The Water Recharge section describes a hope to capture more stormwater, decreasing the region’s reliance on imported water by as much as 14% per year. The Open Space and Parks tab describes creating 2,300 acres of new park space within a mile of the river.

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The blueprint for the river created by Gehry’s team is already being utilized by other groups. This summer, a team from Gruen Associates has been selected to design a 12-mile stretch of the LA River greenway. The greenway design will include a bike path, pedestrian walkways and shading elements, as well as landscaped areas to support habitat and manage stormwater. The team will now take the next 9 months to complete a detailed feasibility study and hold public forums for community input and review.

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Another plan, called Alternative 20, was just approved for an 11-mile stretch from Griffith Park to Downtown. The plan includes creation and reestablishment of freshwater marsh habitat to support wildlife, and enhance habitat connectivity. There will also be areas with parks and places where you can explore the revitalized river yourself! Alternative 20 is the most ambitious of all the plans considered by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers for the revitalization of the river, and also has the highest budget. Work may begin immediately in areas where the city already owns the land, meaning in just a few months you may want to head down to the river yourself.

The revitalization of the LA River will not be an overnight face lift, but Frank Gehry’s vision should lead it in the right direction. Soon, residents will be able to see the river in its natural state, full of wildlife and plants, instead of just a dry concrete bed. The LA River as a tourist destination? You bet.

Top 5 Parks in Los Angeles County

One of the best things about Los Angeles is it’s easy access to nature of all kinds – the beach to the west, the mountains to the north, and the desert to the east. You can even find your own natural oasis inside the city limits, in some of LA’s famed parks. These parks are perfect for picnics, playing with the kids, walking the dog, or checking out various free concerts, festivals, and other events.

Pan Pacific Park

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Pan Pacific, located near the Grove, features a public swimming pool, basketball court, play structure, and baseball diamonds. Picnic tables and barbecue pits are located throughout the 28-acre park, and are available on a first-come, first-served basis. On any Saturday afternoon, the park is filled with family get-togethers, little league games, and pick-up soccer to turn this bit of LA into a true community.

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Echo Park Lake

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This urban hideaway on the East side of Los Angeles is a quiet respite from the traffic next door. The Echo Park Recreation Center features picnic tables, barbecue pits, children’s play area, community room, year-round pool, and numerous lighted sports areas, including a baseball diamond, basketball courts, soccer field and tennis courts. But the best part is the lake, so head to the boat house for pedal boat rentals, guided canoe and gondola rides. Every summer, the lake plays host to the Lotus Festival, featuring dragon boats, food from countries across Asia, plus culture and entertainment performances for the whole family.

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Balboa Park

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Balboa in Van Nuys is a large family-friendly park known for its beautiful lake and serene picnic spots. Lake Balboa is open for fishing, boating, and remote-control boating. Take a walk or jog to the end of the path and find ten mechanical fitness machines in stellar condition, including a rowing machine, seated chest and leg presses and a cardio walker. Stop by when the Japanese cherry blossoms are blooming for a truly spectacular afternoon.

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Brookside park

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Pasadena’s largest park, located just south of the world-famous Rose Bowl Stadium, Brookside has something for everyone. There are numerous sports fields, a pirate ship-themed play structure, a running path, and even an aquatic center with two pools. Bring the kids to Pumpkin Festival held every October by the nearby children’s museum. This family Halloween fair is  complete with a pumpkin patch, petting, zoo and carnival games.

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Griffith Park

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A list of great parks in Los Angeles would not be complete without mentioning Griffith Park! Boasting a size five times larger than Central Park, Griffith offers plenty of opportunity to get lost, with over fifty miles of hiking trails. It’s also home to the LA Zoo, the Griffith Observatory, the Greek Theater, and more. Head to Griffith for an evening of free theater with a performance by the Independent Shakespeare Company, which puts up two productions each summer.

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