SELLERS: Michaela McManus and Mike Daniels
LOCATION: Los Angeles, CA
SIZE: 1,315 square feet, 2 bedrooms, 1 bathroom
YOUR MAMAS NOTES: Every now and then Your Mama unexpectedly comes across a humbly-sized house in Los Angeles that, as it turns out, is owned by a celebrity, a demi-celebrity, or a "celebrity." Such was the case this week when we stumbled upon a colorful and stylishly quirky 1930s bungalow in L.A.'s hip and trendy Los Feliz area that popped up for sale this week with an $849,000 asking price and is owned, as per property records, by up-and-coming actress Michaela McManus and her up-and-coming writer/producer hubby Mike Daniels.
Miz McManus and Mister Daniels—married in July 2011—aren't Tinseltown superstars in the vein of, say, Tom Cruise or Jennifer Aniston but over the last four or five years they've steadily climbed the often treacherous and sometimes soul crushing Showbiz ladder of fame. Miz McManus has had substantial roles in a handful of top-rated prime time shows including One Tree Hill, Law & Order: Special Victims Unit and The Vampire Diaries. She currently shakes her well-formed money maker on a recently picked up program called The Last Ship, a post-apocalypse type drama with Adam Baldwin and Eric Dane. Mister Daniels' short list of high-profile credits include One Tree Hill, The Vampire Diaries, Pan Am, and the acclaimed dark drama Sons of Anarchy.
Property records show the couple purchased the petite pad in July 2010 for $780,000. Current listing details show the dark taupe stucco residence, conveniently located a few blocks off the Vermont and Hillcrest Avenue shopping and dining districts, was built in 1937 and has just two bedrooms in an apartment-sized 1,315 square feet. Charming if not exactly luxurious as this itty bitty bungalow may be with just one bathroom it is clearly not an acceptable situation for a couple of any persuasion who prefer to steer clear of each others toileting habits and issues.
Online marketing materials show the current owners—that would be Miz McManus and Mister Daniels—made numerous updates and improvements over the last three years. The kitchen underwent an cosmetic face lift, including new paint, new hardware and—we regret to inform—a new pot rack hung in front of the window.* A quick comparison to listing photos from the time the couple purchased the property suggests the pint-sized old bathtub appears to Your Mama to still be in residence in the lone bathroom that was otherwise done over just about soup to nuts with new plumbing, electric and tile work. The chimney was entirely overhauled, according to listing information, and the salt water swimming pool heater was replaced with one described as "high end."
A high hedge partially obscures the view from the sidewalk up to the compact covered porch where a baby blue door opens into a puny but proper entry hall. The children will note that Mister Daniels and Miz McManus have, Martha Stewart-like, stenciled the word "hello" over the doorway between the foyer and the living room. It's a bit too cute for Your Mama's particular decorative palette but it's, you know, cute. Medium brown hardwood floors and white-white walls highlight the vaulted ceiling, glossy black fireplace surround and provide a neutral backdrop for the mid century modern-edged mash up of clean lined contemporary and visibly worn vintage furnishings.
The next door dining room isn't particularly large but it certainly packs a giant visual wallop with an over-scaled, in-your-face mustard and ivory colored flower pattern wallpaper set off against gun metal gray walls. The graphic fantasia continues with a dark blue and white, diamond pattern rug and, on either side of the doorway to the kitchen, dozens of framed snapshots hung in a fetchingly cacophonous salon style. Based on intel harvested from a quick spin through Mister Daniels' Twitter Your Mama guesses the sextet of spindle-back chairs were more than likely hand-crafted by fifth generation furniture maker Geoffrey Keating and—in all seriousness—we covet them like no body's bizness. Those, children, are timeless heirlooms in the making. Anyways...
Beyond the dining room, the updated (could be an eat-in) kitchen has boring beige tile floors, crisp white cabinetry, common flecked gray granite counter tops, medium grade stainless steel appliances, and that aforementioned pot rack. The children will note the adjoining but separate laundry room, an out and out luxury in a house of this size.
There's only one bathroom between the two bedrooms so we're not sure how exactly one decides which to utilize as the master bedroom. One bedroom—the one used by Mister Daniels and Miz McManus as their master—has windows on two walls for breezy cross ventilation and paned glass door that connects to the spacious deck that runs along the back of the house. The second bedroom doesn't appear to be any larger than the master but it also has direct access the backyard plus a separate study/office nook. The only bathroom has vintage style tiles on the floor and gray-grouted subway tile behind the single-sink vanity, around the tub, and in the separate glassed-in shower stall.
The super-sized deck at the back of the house—accessible from both bedrooms as well as through the laundry room—gives way to a narrow strip of lawn anchored on either end by (what may or may not be) a couple of fruit trees. A slightly elevated concrete plinth pretty much stretches the full width of the lot with a small sunbathing terrace, a plunge-sized swimming pool with an inset spa.
Listing details indicate there is about 1,000 square feet of dry, concrete lined storage space beneath the house where there is also a street-facing two car garage.
Your Mama has no inside intel on where Miz McManus and Mister Daniels might move once they sell their bantam bungalow in Los Feliz but we'd fall over with flabbergast if they didn't decamp to a bigger and more expensive residence that's more reflective of their rising success.
*All the children know that Rule #7 in Your Mama's Big Book of Decoratin' Do's and Don'ts vehemently declares—and we paraphrase—that pot racks are entirely undesirable kitchen accoutrement due to their gleeful dust collection, propensity to snag and grab teased up weaves, and their occasional malicious intent to drop a copper pot on an unsuspecting pooch's tender cranium. In the case of pot racks, anyways, Your Mama whole heartedly agrees with former first lady Nancy Reagan and urges each and every one of the children to "Just Say No!"
listing photos: Val Riolo for Keller Williams