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Here’s The Prairie-Style Riverfront Retreat You’ve Always Wanted

A Maywood home overlooking the Des Plaines River features landscape architecture by the legendary Jens Jensen.

Wrapped in wood banding that continues inside, the house was completed in 1913 for Richard Cleuver on what was then a country parcel near a small island in the Des Plaines River. Today, the property feels a bit like an island itself, tucked deep on its lot and with only a few neighbors—one of them a church on ground that used to be part of the Cleuver estate.   Photo: Dennis Rodkin

List Price: $1.5 million
The Property: In 1999, when this Prairie-style home that stands above the Des Plaines River in Maywood last changed hands, the trust that bought it “had no idea what was in here,” says Margie Arnold, the Keller Williams agent now representing it for that trust, which is selling.

Much of the three-acre property was so overgrown it looked like a weedy extension of the Thatcher Woods forest preserve across the river, she says, and inside “there was junk and more junk. There were several businesses being run [from] this house.”

In the intervening years, the owners have cleaned up the lot, revealing a footbridge, a series of ponds, and other fanciful landscape elements designed by the great Jens Jensen. They’ve also cleaned up and repaired the interior of the house, whose architect, John S. Van Bergen, designed it to reach out to its natural surroundings via several projecting rooms and balconies.

With its ample wood trim and distinctive windows intact, the house is in fine, livable condition, though a buyer will probably want to take it the rest of the way by updating the kitchen and baths and rehabbing the wood-and-stucco exterior. Those needs are factored into the asking price, Arnold says, but so are some positives, including that it’s “the biggest piece of riverfront land within miles, but it’s just [12] miles from downtown Chicago.”

Click through my photos below for a tour of the house and grounds.

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