The columnist's next home in Los Cerritos, pending winning a Powerball lottery. Redfin photo.

If I ever win a billion dollars in the lottery—the odds of which become even more daunting considering I don’t buy tickets—I’d finally be in the position to buy any house in Long Beach I want. It’d be a decision that would be easier to make than if I were working within a budget, where you have to consider what sacrifices you could live with and what amenities you could live without.

As long as I’m making things up, I’d tighten up the choices by limiting it to homes currently listed. I’m not going to be a show-off and go around buying a family’s home out from under them just because I’m rich enough to do it. I’m not an animal.

Nor am I going to make a purchase determined merely by the price tag, although I’m not going to scrimp either and buy one of those plain, lackluster $1 million homes that are scattered all over the town and are as common as community cats.

Upon reviewing eligible homes for me to snap up with my hard-earned lottery winnings (warning: If you win a $1.08 Powerball lottery, the taxes will kill you. Your lump sum payment in California will only be $351,650,045—still enough to buy a nice house, but not enough to start a space exploration company), I’m a bit disappointed in the current listings, with nothing interesting in some of my favorite neighborhoods like Alamitos Heights, and nothing notable in Park Estates. Nothing cool in Bluff Park, and even the Peninsula doesn’t have anything to strike my suddenly discerning fancy.

And as far as Naples is concerned, the best I could come up with is this place on the prestigious Treasure Island, where my family would feel like the Beverly Hillbillies compared with the established wealthy families on the isle. We’d be moving into a three-bed, four-bath house at 12 Palermo, which is one home off the water, so we’re less than ecstatic about moving into it. In Naples, you’re either on the water or you’re not, and that’s how the social hierarchy operates.

An off-water home on Palermo on Treasure Island is listed at $2.2 million. Redfin photo.

The home, listed by Sue La Bounty at $2.2 million, is of Mediterranean Revival architecture that’s been brought way up to modernity with blindingly white paint and summery turquoise awnings, giving it an appearance that comes close to a luxury cruise ship. The home was built in 1946, with a renovation in 1962, making it due for another one, which will be no hill for a climber with a few hundred million left over after the purchase. It’s gonna need a bigger kitchen, for one thing, but the rest of the house, most notably the second-story deck, which offers bigger-than-peek-a-boo views of the water, which, as residents on the water will constantly remind you, is nice, but it isn’t the same as being on the water.

I used to live in the heart of Belmont Heights and still have extremely fond memories of the neighborhood with a short walk to the long pier and an easy stroll to the Shore, so I’m tempted to pick up this hilltop Spanish farmhouse at 286 Argonne Ave. for $3.5 million, or about 1% of my winnings.

A home at the top of the Heights on Argonne Avenue is listed at $3.5 million. Redfin photo.

The four-bed, four-bath home was built and designed in 1930 by noted architect Harry Broner, who designed the Vista Del Mar residence on 37th Place. It’s since been thoroughly upgraded while maintaining its hacienda roots. The kitchen includes a large center island/dining bar, dual dishwashers, dual sinks and a walk-in pantry, and its upstairs primary suite has vaulted ceilings, a walk-in closet and French doors that open to a front balcony. The property is listed by Steve Nader of Compass.

Not much else really popped out at me in my search for the best house I could find. There are some more expensive places, like a 5,905-square-foot 19th-century-style French Chateau in Bluff Park at 2515 E. Ocean Blvd., listed at $4 million, and a mansion at 6040 Lido Lane on Naples’ Gold Coast with an asking price of $6 million, but there’s such a thing as overly opulent and you know me, I’m more understated than that.

Here it is, my dream home on a half-acre on Pacific Avenue in Los Cerritos. Redfin photo.
Here it is, my dream home on a half-acre on Pacific Avenue in Los Cerritos. Redfin photo.

That said, I think I’d be happiest purchasing this deluxe-sized rancho compound at 4101 Pacific Ave. in the quiet neighborhood of Los Cerritos. The 4,829-square-foot Spanish house has always been one of my favorites since I was a wee lad visiting my beloved grandparents at their Los Cerritos home nearby on Cedar Avenue. The house on a sprawling three-parcel, half-acre lot is exceedingly private, surrounded by a brick wall. The main house has five bedrooms and five baths looking out onto three separate serene backyards that include strolling pathways, a kids’ play area, a koi pond, large trees and expertly manicured gardens.

Listed at an easily affordable $3.95 million, its size may be too daunting for most buyers (and likely north of their budget as well if they’re unlucky at lotteries), but someone of great wealth can find a pleasant life in the stately, old-money home that’s appointed with more wood than some national forests. Making a nice commission on my purchase (pending winning a robust Powerball) will be listing agents Krista Faber-Vento and her mom Carolyn Faber.

Tim Grobaty is a columnist and the Opinions Editor for the Long Beach Post. You can reach him at 562-714-2116, email [email protected], @grobaty on Twitter and Grobaty on Facebook.