So wonderfully Californian, Marsha Weidman's home has it all -- beside the beach, far from noisy traffic, with a Jacuzzi used to watch sunsets over the Pacific.
For this, she and her husband recently paid $1.05 million.
For that, they got a trailer, built in 1971, without any land.
Plus, the family must pay "space rent," which at two Malibu parks dotted with seven-figure trailers ranges from $800 to $2,500 monthly.
The nation's frenzied housing boom has come to this: Even trailer parks, long the butt of jokes about tornado targets and redneck living, are drawing fat prices.
But, oh, what a mobile home it is, Weidman said.
"When people think of 'mobile home,' they think of 'trailer,' " said Weidman, a former lawyer who is the mother of two teenagers. "Mobile homes aren't what they were. They're not the little 9-by-15s on wheels. These are homes."
Indeed, virtually all trailers in such developments are not mobile at all.
The seven-digit prices, touching only those trailers parked permanently beside the sea, have made for giddy moments with neighbors such as George Keossaian, 46, whose wife and two children moved five years ago into the gated mobile park where Weidman also lives.
The mobile home he bought for $140,000 then will be worth $950,000 once he completes an 800-foot addition, Keossaian said. A reappraisal this year assigned a $750,000 value to his home, which has no ocean view.
"When I first saw this, I said, 'There's no way I'm living in a mobile home -- trailer trash,' " said Keossaian, a contractor now rebuilding a nearby million-dollar mobile home overlooking famous Zuma Beach. "My wife said, 'We live in a trailer!' I said, 'If we build it to look like a house, will you stop calling it a trailer?' She doesn't call it a trailer any more."
Like other savvy owners seeking millionaire buyers, Keossaian's abode has been remodeled to resemble a Craftsman bungalow, with stucco walls covering the trailer's steel chassis, hitch, brake lights and license plate holder.
Increasingly, the residences are refashioned into more than a towed home.
When Weidman bought her double-wide, it had already been remodeled to evoke a cottage, with airy interior rooms illuminated by skylights, comfy outdoor wooden decks and a front-yard rose garden.
It is in the Point Dume Club, a 297-unit mobile park built in 1970 that resembles a subdivision with winding streets, a clubhouse with a pool and tennis and basketball courts, and a guard in an entrance booth.
More recently, several trailers have been razed and rebuilt with stylish architecture and custom finishes, including Viking stoves, Sub-Zero refrigerators, Swarovski crystal lighting and travertine floors.
For example, developer Janet Levine of Maliblue Holdings paid $790,000 for an old trailer and built a new structure, selling it for $1.75 million this year.
She is doing two more reconstructions just down the drive, including one three-decade-old trailer with surfboards stacked outside that she bought recently for $840,000 and will redevelop into a structure worth about $1.8 million. Another she bought for $800,000 will be listed for $1.6 million once it is redeveloped, she said. She is planning to install or has already built replacements with traditional Japanese, 1960s Palm Springs and modern minimalist architectural styles.
"We call them mobile villas," Levine said.
Still, they are all officially trailers, with the occupants of the older units such as Keossaian even cutting a $59 check yearly for state registration.
"If you were to ask longtime residents, they don't like it, they don't like the change," said Kirsten Ribnick, a mobile-home owner in Malibu and interior designer who has seen her business prosper thanks to new, well-to-do neighbors. "What do I think? I think it's great."
Despite extravagant makeovers, a giveaway is often a floor and front door always 3 feet above ground. Another telltale is a less-wealthy neighbor with horizontal metal or vinyl siding.
Despite the outrageous price tags, the domiciles are a bargain for their location, according to owners. A house similarly positioned in celebrity-chocked Malibu -- close to the surf with views of coastal mountains -- would cost tens of millions of dollars, they say.
"If you look at the view in my yard, you'd understand," Weidman said.
Caressed by cool breezes on a small bluff, her home suffers no obstructed views -- just water, sand and hillside flora including jade, pine and rosemary. "That was the key reason for why what I spent," she said.
David Carter, a real estate agent specializing in Malibu's mobile-home market the past 20 years, said the first million-dollar sale of a motor home in the city came two years ago.
"There used to be only one or two," said Carter, 55. "We'll probably sell five or six in the million-dollar range this year. We've already sold three this year.
"We're just finding a lot of buyers who don't want to spend $10 million for a similar view and location for a house, so they will buy these beach homes for a second home."
The million-plus prices are also posted in Malibu's Paradise Cove, a trailer park beside a surfers' beach where the 1970s TV show "The Rockford Files" situated a ragtag trailer for James Garner's private-eye character.
Securing a mortgage for such high-end mobile homes can be difficult, but Clay Dickens, 45, vice president of Community West Bank in Goleta, Calif., has made a niche out of lending to mobile-home buyers, extending $100 million in such loans the past seven years, he said.
"It's an unusual thing. There's no title to it. You're kind of lending somewhat -- most banks don't like the verbiage -- on blue sky," said Dickens, a native of Chicago.
The risk for buyers is whether park owners will redevelop their site into single-family homes, but Dickens said Malibu's two parks are unlikely to do so.
Deborah Miller, 43, property manager for Point Dume Club, said there is virtually no chance that the park will be redeveloped. The 99-acre site is part of the original holdings of her great-great-grandfather Frederick H. Rindge, who owned what is now all of Malibu in the late 1800s. Miller's mother and grandmother own Point Dume (pronounced by the family as "do-MAY") Club, she said.
"That's always a question that I'm asked when somebody buys here," Miller said. "Realistically, there is no guarantee, but for us, we have no desire or plans to change the park."