While going over real estate listings, I find myself excited whenever I come across an interesting property that’s the complete opposite of an open-floor box with gray walls and bright white trim. What stands out to me are the special places: an architect’s personal residence or a beautifully restored historic mansion. Every old building has a story to tell. You’ll see that’s more than true with these newly listed homes across the city and suburbs. Whether it’s a penthouse that’s located a floor above the site of an August 1966 press conference where John Lennon apologized for suggesting “The Beatles were more popular than Jesus,” or perhaps two midcentury modern dwellings designed by local architects for their families, I think you’ll enjoy looking through these architecturally interesting properties currently for sale.

17 Canterbury Ct, Wilmette, $3,450,000

An elegant Tudor Revival mansion was placed on the market in Wilmette for the first time in almost 15 years. Architect Abraham Epstein, best known for his industrial structures within Chicago’s Central Manufacturing District, created this six-bedroom, six-bathroom residence for CMD executive/trustee Halsey Poronto and his wife Grace in 1930. I love the Lannon stone exterior, leaded glass windows, patterned ceilings, and the walk-in safe. Ernest Batchelder’s hand-crafted art tiles are seen throughout the space, including the original bathrooms. The home has a fascinating pedigree with former owners that include the founder of Kraft cheese and a Chicago Bears player. 

1300 N Astor St UNIT 28A, Chicago, $1,200,000

Between 1959 and 1963, architect Bertrand Goldberg left his mark on the neighborhood he called home with the former Astor Tower Hotel, an experimentation with prefabrication and poured concrete forms. This two-bedroom, two-bathroom penthouse features fantastic floor-to-ceiling views of the lake and skyline. The half-floor remodeled unit is sleek and open with lavish finishes like limestone, marble, and various woods. There’s 24-hour door staff and a fitness room, and the building’s elevator takes residents to the underground parking garage. Plus, the basement houses a near-replica of Maxim’s de Paris restaurant, which is slated to reopen as a private social club

1020 S Knight Ave, Park Ridge, $639,900

While architect Charles E. Stade might not be a household name, you’ve probably seen his work scattered all over the city and suburbs. Between the 1950s and his retirement in 1981, Stade reportedly created hundreds of modernist A-frame churches in various states but mainly here in Illinois. He lived and worked in Park Ridge, designing this sprawling three-bedroom, two-bathroom ranch on a corner lot in 1951. A time capsule with its brick hearth, wood-paneled walls, and vintage bathrooms, I hope it finds the right owner who sees its potential — instead of a developer in this teardown-friendly suburb.

9333 S Oakley Ave, Chicago, $850,000

On the South Side of Chicago is another architect’s home that’s only had a few owners since it was originally built in 1949-50. A native of the former Yugoslavia and educated at what’s now IIT, Beverly resident S. Richard Klarich designed and built numerous structures in his own neighborhood, as well as Palos Park and Ogden Dunes, Indiana. Located on an oversized lot, the split-level with five bedrooms and three full bathrooms is a mix of old and new. Original details include the massive stone fireplace in the living room and a finished basement with wet bar. The kitchen and bathrooms have all been updated, while brick tuckpointing, new roof, and four new balconies were also added. 

122 E Hawthorne Ct, Lake Bluff, $625,000

If you’re looking for the opposite of cookie-cutter in our HGTV-inspired world, then this 1930s charmer in southeast Lake Bluff is the home for you. The two-bedroom, two-full-bathroom brick and stucco residence has a lot of vintage personality inside, with arched doorways, beamed ceilings, and plaster walls. The picturesque backyard includes mature landscaping and water features. It’s a great location for a decent price, considering you can either walk or bike to town and the lakefront’s beach and park.