$850,000 Homes in California – The New York Times

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Believed to be the oldest continuously inhabited house in San Luis Obispo County, this clapboard cottage is called Music House, after the name of early owners. It is on the east end of Main Street in Cambria, an unincorporated coastal community halfway between Los Angeles and San Francisco (about 230 miles each way), and 10 miles south of Hearst Castle. The area has a large quantity of second homes and a notable dearth of chain stores. You can bicycle to Moonstone Beach in less than 15 minutes.

Size: 1,406 square feet

Price per square foot: $604

Indoors: The owners bought the property in 2015 and, working with local contractors and artisans, made improvements to every room. They stripped walls and repainted them in period colors, refinished wood trim, refurbished and rehung old doors they discovered on the property, and updated the plumbing and electrical systems.

The front parlor, which has vintage wood floors, a restored chandelier and walls painted a Victorian eggplant color, connects to a formal dining room with a bead-board ceiling. Beyond the dining room is a kitchen with refinished original cabinetry, butcher-block countertops, tile and bead-board wall surfaces and a farmhouse sink.

A pair of parlor doors with etched-glass panes opens to a main-floor bedroom or study. This room has use of a bathroom with a walk-in shower and a marble sink on a vintage wrought-metal base. Nearby is a laundry area with a stacked washer and dryer. The parlor also leads to a family room that has a trio of large windows facing the street.

A staircase in the family room takes you upstairs, where there are two bedrooms with angled bead-board ceilings, and a bathroom with a skylight and a walk-in shower.

Outdoor space: There is a rocking-chair front porch and two rear patios, one paved in brick and the other in flagstone. The property is terraced and planted with oaks, evergreens and flowering shrubs; a large portion is devoted to native vegetation. A detached garage with a polished concrete floor has a single door but room for two vehicles.

Taxes: $10,613 (estimated)

Contact: Michael Barnes or Leslie Dougherty, Barnes & Associates Sotheby’s International Realty, 805-927-1200; sothebysrealty.com


Originally part of a sheep farm, this house is in the Sierra foothills, 130 miles east of San Francisco and 75 miles southeast of Sacramento. In 2005, it was bought and renovated by a craftsman and an antiques collector. They passed it along to their daughter, who recently operated it as a short-term rental called La Casa Pavone, or Peacock House.

This home is in Rolling Hills Ranch, one of 23 planned neighborhoods in Chula Vista, which are organized around community centers, with nearby parks and swimming pools. It is on the eastern edge of the city, 18 miles southeast of San Diego and 16 miles northeast of Tijuana, Mexico. (Residents often use the Tijuana International Airport, which is only 14 miles away.) The Otay Ranch Town Center, an outdoor shopping mall that includes restaurants, movie theaters and salons, is about four miles southeast.

Size: 2,825 square feet

Price per square foot: $304

Indoors: A previous owner made a large investment in custom woodwork, adding coffered ceilings, open beams, carved mantels, paneled doors and a curving staircase with turned balusters.

The grand entrance has wide wood floorboards that continue through most of the main floor, and a double-height ceiling. Dutch interior doors open to a living room with a coffered ceiling and arched built-in shelves with mirrored backs. A room that was formerly a fifth bedroom was converted into a den with a wall of built-in bookshelves. It is across from a bathroom with a combined tub and shower.

Running along the back of the main floor is a succession of rooms, including a white eat-in kitchen with natural stone countertops and a farm-style center island. The kitchen flows into a family room with dark ceiling beams and a pink stone fireplace and hearth, and French doors opening to a patio. On the other side of the kitchen is a bedroom with an en suite bathroom that has a combined tub and shower.

Upstairs, the master suite has white-painted floorboards and a bathroom with a soaking tub, a walk-in shower and a makeup vanity next to the sink. Two additional bedrooms share a bathroom with a combined tub and shower.

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