Finding a lovingly maintained home from the 1950s or ’60s is a thing of beauty. There’s the aesthetic appeal, of course, but there’s also the unmistakable feeling of stepping back into an era when design, music, and pop culture were all in states of rapid change.
Finding the perfect midcentury home doesn’t have to be a slog — but it does depend largely on where you’re willing to settle and what flavor of modernism you’re after. For instance, in northwest-suburban Skokie, Niles, and Des Plaines, you’ll find classic ranches with original salmon and teal finishes. Further out in Riverwoods, some of the area’s most striking modernist homes sit clustered near one another.
For those willing to compromise on location, some of the best finds are further out. But buyers with a budget for something that’s move-in ready can find some great options within (or just outside of) Chicago’s city limits.
Here are a few on the market right now.
This understated midwestern ranch in Joliet is straight-up classic midcentury modern, right down to its original, untouched finishes. And with an ask under the $200,000 threshold, it poses quite the opportunity for a young family or first-time homebuyer to step back in time.
A prime example of midcentury modernism’s different flavors, this angular home in Glen Ellyn goes for drama over the buttoned-up look of traditional ranches. The interior has been largely updated over the decades, but there’s still enough formstone and wood paneling to make up for it.
This traditional yellow brick ranch stands out for what’s on the inside — namely, walls and walls of decorative stone. Truly Googie, this one is staged to look like it came straight out of the Atomic Era, and two price cuts over the summer make it even more attractive.
If you’re seeking a fully loaded, move-in ready gem, consider this home in north suburban Riverwoods. Drenched in natural light, the low-slung abode features exposed brick walls on one side, with an entire backyard-facing wall composed of tall, wide windows.
Looking for something that feels posh and contemporary with just a touch of retro swagger? Check out this 2,000-square-foot four-bedroom in Lake View, originally built in 1953 just steps from Lake Michigan. Everything inside is sleek and new, but the exterior aesthetic is screaming midcentury.