December 8, 2022

What $1 Million Buys You in California

5 min read
What  Million Buys You in California

This house is less than two miles from downtown Fullerton, a charming commercial district where Spanish-style buildings house restaurants, bars and boutiques. It is a 10-minute drive from the campus of California State University, Fullerton, which has the largest student enrollment of any school in the Cal State system.

Fullerton is at the northern edge of Orange County, within commuting distance of various Southern California destinations: Downtown Los Angeles is about 40 minutes away by car or Metrolink; Irvine is a half-hour drive; and Riverside is about 50 minutes away.

Size: 1,600 square feet

Price per square foot: $611

Indoors: A brick path leads from the sloped street to a wooden front door with iron strapping. Past the threshold is an open living area with Spanish-tile floors, a fireplace and built-in shelving.

The dining area sits between the living area and the kitchen, with a bay window that faces the street and two built-in benches. The kitchen has blue-and-white-tile counters with open shelving above and cabinets below.

Off the kitchen is a laundry room with access to a full bathroom that has two stained-glass windows, one in the walk-in shower and the other opposite the vanity.

All three bedrooms are on the second level. At the top of the stairs is another stained-glass window. To the right is a good-sized bedroom with a cast-iron stove and access to a deck. The primary bedroom is at the other end of the hall, with an alcove that could hold a desk or dressing table and a glass door that opens to the patio. A third bedroom currently used as a home office is off the hall, as is a full bathroom with a skylight and combined tub and shower.

Outdoor space: The main outdoor space is the patio off the primary bedroom that includes a partially covered area and a larger space that receives direct sunlight. Around the corner is a deck, and mature trees line the fence around the yard. The attached garage holds one car, with parking for two more in the driveway.

Taxes: $12,228 (estimated)

Contact: Jennifer Harris, The Shire Real Estate Group, 714-350-3977; theshirerealestate.com

As railroads made it easier for those living in San Francisco and Sacramento to travel to rural areas, Calistoga, founded in the late 1860s, became a popular destination, thanks to its hot springs. The area still draws weekenders, with a number of spas on Lincoln Avenue, less than a mile from this property, and the wineries and tasting rooms of Napa and Santa Rosa less than an hour away.

This house is about two blocks from Calistoga Junior-Senior High School, serving students in seventh through 12th grades. San Francisco is a little less than two hours away, as is Sacramento.

Size: 1,496 square feet

Price per square foot: $652

Indoors: A paved footpath cuts through the front yard, which is landscaped to resemble a meadow. The covered front porch, enclosed by a white wood railing, is big enough for a set of chairs.

The living room is just behind the front door, with wide-plank hardwood floors, a large, street-facing window and a black-painted fireplace that contrasts with the white walls.

The wood floors continue into a windowed dining area and the updated kitchen beyond, which has new stainless-steel appliances and white stone counters, as well as a glass door that offers access to the backyard and guesthouse.

Off the dining area is a hallway that leads to the two bedrooms, each big enough to hold a queen-size bed, and to a bathroom with a combined tub and shower.

The guesthouse is configured as a one-bedroom apartment, with a kitchen along a wall in the living area, a bedroom that could comfortably hold a king-size bed and an en suite bathroom with a stall shower.

Outdoor space: The back porch is a mirror image of the one in front, with steps leading down to a courtyard big enough to hold a dining table and grill with room left over for another sitting area or play equipment. Raised garden beds sit next to the guesthouse beyond. A driveway big enough for several cars runs alongside the house.

Taxes: $12,192 (estimated)

Contact: Ron Hartman, Sotheby’s International Realty — Wine Country Brokerage, 707-200-2488; sothebysrealty.com


This well-maintained building is a block from a stretch of West Pico Boulevard with some of the city’s best kosher restaurants. Less than half a mile away, where the street intersects with South Robertson Boulevard, are two kosher grocery stores and a Walgreens.

Many Westside destinations, including the Miracle Mile, West Hollywood and Beverly Hills, are 10 to 15 minutes away. Culver City is a 15-minute drive; commuting to downtown Los Angeles takes about half an hour, depending on traffic.

Size: 1,401 square feet

Price per square foot: $696

Indoors: This complex is gated, with underground parking. The entrance to the unit is on the ground floor, and the front door opens directly into the living room, a bright space with gray-toned wood-laminate floors and a fireplace with a simple black surround.

Behind the living room is a dining area illuminated by a large window and a hanging light fixture with glass globes. A breakfast bar separates this area from an updated kitchen with wide counters and a tile backsplash.

One of the home’s three bedrooms is on this floor, off the living room, with access to a private patio and an en suite bathroom with a combined tub and shower.

Stairs in the living room lead to the second floor, where there are two additional bedroom suites. The primary bedroom, at the far end of the hall, has sliding-glass doors that open to a Juliet balcony; the attached bathroom was recently updated, with a window bringing sunlight into a combined tub and shower. The other bedroom also has an en suite bathroom with a combined tub and shower.

Outdoor space: In addition to the private patio off the first-floor bedroom, there is a larger patio accessible through sliding-glass doors in the living room. Covered by a canopy and framed by high walls, the patio is relatively private and big enough to serve as an outdoor dining room. This unit includes two parking spots in the underground garage.

Taxes: $12,192 (estimated) and a $425 monthly homeowner association fee

Contact: Nikki Bascon, Bascon Group Real Estate, Keller Williams Beverly Hills, 310-461-4100; nikkibascon.com

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