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What $820,000 Buys You in California

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This house has had only two owners since it was built, and much of its original fairy-tale charm — including the low ceilings, leaded-glass windows and vine-covered exterior — has been preserved. The property is in a small community with a few hundred year-round residents, most of whom make the six-mile trip to the center of Mendocino for shopping and services. The area is home to several notable hotels, including Heritage House Resort and Spa, which is on the beach just across the street from this house.

Size: 1,150 square feet

Price per square foot: $713

Indoors: The staircase winding up to the front door is redwood, like the rest of the home’s exterior.

The front door opens into a cozy living room with low ceilings, leaded-glass windows and a wood-burning fireplace. The walls and ceiling are covered in white shiplap, which continues into the dining area.

The open kitchen faces the living and dining areas, with custom-made copper countertops and a skylight that brings natural light into the space.

Down a short hallway are the two bedrooms. The primary bedroom has a skylight, a sliding-glass door that opens to the deck, more leaded glass in another window and a writing desk built into a corner.

Next door is a guest room that also has access to the deck. The two bedrooms share a bathroom with a combination tub and shower and a painted wood vanity. A laundry closet with a washer and dryer is at the end of the hallway.

Outdoor space: Most of the rooms have access to the deck and side patio, both of which have ample space for seating and views of the Pacific Ocean. In one corner of the deck is an ivy-wrapped gazebo.

Taxes: $8,200 (estimated)

Contact: Sarah Schoeneman, Mendo Sotheby’s International Realty, 707-937-5822; sothebysrealty.com

This property is in the Midtown neighborhood, about half a mile from Sutter’s Fort State Historic Park, home to an 1840s adobe structure and the California State Indian Museum. James Marshall Park, which includes a senior center and workout equipment, is even closer. Public elementary and middle schools are also half a mile away, as is a private Catholic elementary school.

The area is walkable, with shopping and dining options along J Street, a few blocks away. Downtown Sacramento and the Capitol building are about a 10-minute drive.

Size: 1,887 square feet

Price per square foot: $432

Indoors: Steps lead from the street to a wide covered porch with room for a swing. A door with colored glass accents opens to the living room, which has street-facing windows and hardwood floors.

Through a wide doorway is a formal dining room with original moldings and an original built-in storage cabinet. Past this space is the kitchen, to which the sellers have added a new stainless steel range and refrigerator. A diner-style booth is built into the wall along the far side of the room, beside a window overlooking the patio.

Off a hallway running along the left side of the house are a playroom and a full bathroom. Stairs lead from the hallway to the second floor, where there are four bedrooms. The primary bedroom has sloped ceilings and windows that look out on the surrounding trees. A guest room next door, currently used as a home office, has original built-in storage, as does another guest room at the end of the hall. The fourth bedroom has a walk-in closet reached through a half-size door. A full bathroom is at the center of the upstairs hallway, with a glass-walled walk-in shower and a double vanity.

The basement was converted into living space in the 1970s and is used by the sellers as a music space and den.

Outdoor space: On the side of the house is a covered patio with room for outdoor lounge furniture. The detached garage has one parking space.

Taxes: $9,456 (estimated)

Contact: Michael Glascock, Guide Real Estate, 916-600-9689; glascockrealestate.com


Rancho Mirage has long been popular with retirees and golfers — this house is within minutes of six golf courses — but in recent years it has also become a second-home destination for younger families from the Los Angeles metro area. Downtown Palm Springs and the Coachella Valley National Wildlife Refuge are both about 20 minutes away by car.

Size: 1,632 square feet

Price per square foot: $500

Indoors: The front yard is landscaped with rocks and succulents, in a nod to the desert climate.

The coral front door is framed by a stucco arch; it opens into a living room with a white-brick fireplace, street-facing windows and laminate floors that continue into the dining area.

In the dining area, sliding-glass doors face the pool. A breakfast bar that seats three separates this area from the kitchen, which has a gray subway-tile backsplash, granite counters and new stainless-steel appliances installed by the sellers, who bought the house last year.

The three bedrooms and two bathrooms (also updated by the sellers) are down a hallway off the living room. The primary suite is at the far end of the hall, and includes a bedroom with a floral-print accent wall and a bathroom with a white tiled shower. One guest room has space for a full-size bed and the other has a seating area with access to the backyard; they share a bathroom with a new vanity and a combination tub and shower.

Outdoor space: This property is on the large size for the neighborhood, and the backyard is spacious, with a kidney-shaped pool and a covered patio that has a bar and is cooled by ceiling fans. To the right of the swimming pool are citrus trees. The attached garage has two parking spots.

Taxes: $10,440 (estimated)

Contact: Jared Dineen-Shanstrom, Keller Williams, 206-751-8507; pages.kw.com

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