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List Price: $549,000
The Property: You’ve heard the term “vanilla box” condos? Condos at the Carl Street Studios are more like tutti-frutti. Converted from a Victorian mansion into a complex of artists’ homes in the 1920s, Carl Street (which is actually on Burton Place) is unlike anything else in the city with its layers of eccentric artistry, unusual materials, and crazy-quilt colors.

I first featured this two-bedroom condo on three levels more than four years ago, when we didn’t yet use video on the blog and so couldn’t fully illustrate the way the many materials and colors fit together into a genuinely unique composition. Now that the condo is back on the market (after having been rented out for a few years), we went back last week to capture the place in all its fanciful, coat-of-many-colors glory.

To get to the condo, visitors cross through a small courtyard where stone, brick, tile, carved wood, and other materials set the distinctive tone of the Carl Street complex. A flight of outdoor stairs leads up to the sheltered front door of this condo, which opens into a two-story living room. Here there are carved wood beams framing the windows; a small mural by Edgar Miller, one of the original partners in creating the homes; and numerous tile and paint flourishes. In the adjacent dining room is a fireplace-bookshelf combination that evokes the streamlined steamships of the day. Hand-built details are everywhere, from the wood-framed niches in a dining room sideboard to the zany tile work that wraps the two bathrooms’ sinks and showers.

The home’s second level has a bedroom and bath with an office nook; the stained glass in the bedroom is done in a modernist style that shows up elsewhere in the creators’ work. The third level has a secluded master bedroom and bath, as well as an open area now used as a workout room that would make a nice family room because it is central to the upper levels and leads to the outdoor terrace.

On the terrace, views of Gold Coast buildings abound, but the best view is down over the Carl Street Studios, each of whose many nooks and crannies offers another visual treat.

Price Points: When I featured it in 2007, the condo was priced at $750,000. Now the sellers—Marcel and Kimberly Valentas, who moved to California in 2007—are asking $549,000, or 85 percent of the $640,000 they paid for the condo in 2005. (In addition to their purchase price was the cost of installing central air conditioning and laundry machines—not available in-unit in most of the building—and some renovations of closet and storage space.) Directly across the street, a three-bedroom unit with a more conventional style and a similarly sized rooftop deck is listed for $999,000.

Listing Agent: Helaine Cohen of Koenig & Strey; 312-853-0961 or