It’s been hot and muggy, people are stressed, downtown is crammed with Lollapalooza attendees, and we’ve been dealing with powerful storms and wildfire haze. We’re going into the dog days of summer, the slog until the period when it’s nice before it starts to get cold again.
So if you’re going to daydream about real estate, you might as well look for something calming: shade to keep outside as tolerable as possible, calming places to be inside when it’s not (like the rare indoor pool). And there are some surprisingly affordable options for some unique houses—an indoor pool under $600,000, and a cabin with a horse barn and corral for under $500,000 (though there’s about as much room for the horses as for the owners). Step inside.
It’s Brutalist, and it’s curvy, and it’s got a two-story indoor pool with a water slide, and it’s got a bar in the living room under the two-story atrium, a living room which is connected to the family room (which has a built-in curved sofa) by a curved open fireplace. The three-story spiral staircase (of course) leads up to the bedrooms; the master bed is surrounded by about 120 degrees of windows, and is nestled into a curvy set dresser which also serves as a headboard (and, uh, has a circular mirrored ceiling above it). All this—four beds, four baths—for less than $600,000. It’s sold as-is, and it does have concrete and an indoor pool so maintenance could run more than something a bit more conservative in its price range, but… look.
It’s a lot of look. I don’t even know what to call the style it is in—Corporate Retreat Ranch? The interior detailing is a bit dry for a house of this price, but part of that interior includes that thing on the right, described as a “four season lookout tower-gazebo.” It’s sort of like a sunroom crossed with a silo? It’s really cool. If that’s too round, there’s another sunroom just off the living room. There’s a library with a cozy sit-in bay window nook, tons of porch, a master bath with a fireplace, and even two secret doors, making up for the sort of plain main rooms with a lot of delightful surprises.
If you can’t decide between midcentury modernism and a woodland estate, this is a chance to have both. This four-acre property has two houses, plus a lower-level apartment in the main house, all stretching across nearly 9,000 square feet of living space. As you can probably guess from the landscaping—which, under the chaos, is pretty lovely—it needs work. But it retains a lot of its 1960s style, like its extensive parquet floors, stone wall with fireplace, and the clock built into the oven hood. The extensive property backs up to a forest preserve, or you can just admire the tree inside the house.
This postmodern ranch has major hotel lobby vibes, and I say that with the highest of praise. The foyer has a pond with trees, next to the glass-enclosed spiral staircase, with interior windows looking out onto the indoor pool. The floor, naturally, is black stone. A lofted office area looks down upon your sleek Xanadu. As an alternative to the pool, there’s a sunroom with a hot tub and fireplace, the second-sleekest in the house after the corner fireplace in the immense, light-filled main bedroom. For a break from all that, some of the rooms are downright conventional ranch living space, with exposed beams and floor-to-ceiling windows.
The good news: you can have horses (up to three), in a big, attractive barn, for under $500,000. There’s also a huge garage for the huge truck you’ll need to pull the horse trailer. The bad news: there’s 1,000 square feet for people: three beds, one bath, small living room, combo kitchen-dining room. It’s a squeeze, nothing fancy, but it’s cute. You do get a lot of yard, a pond, and a corral off the barn. And it’s right across the street from a huge string of Cook County Forest Preserves: Tampier Slough, Cap Sauers, Cherry Hill Woods, out to the Cal Sag Channel, where the preserves continue all the way out to Willow Springs. It’s not much house, but it’s a lot for the price.