All the following homes for sale look like something out of a fairytale, yet a number of them have struggled to find a buyer. Maybe they’re a bit too fanciful. Or maybe the price needs to come down. Popular throughout the 1920s and 30s, Storybook architecture does not have a specific definition, but the main factor is its playfulness and it borrows elements from Tudor Revival, English Cottage, and French Revival styles. Some common characteristics of Storybook design include thatched roofs, dramatic turrets, and medieval half-timbering. While the property in Brookfield does not fit perfectly under the Storybook label, the stone house has a whimsical quality to it that can’t be denied. Knowing it was one of 18 residences hand-built by a local stone mason, who sometimes added battlements and other castle-like details, makes the design a unique and delightful curiosity.

2115 Evans Rd, Flossmoor, $650,000

On the market for $650,000, this four-bedroom, three-bathroom home looks like it belongs in the English Cotswolds instead of suburban Flossmoor. The charming cottage’s cedar thatch roof was replaced eight years ago. If properly maintained, its life expectancy can last 50-60 years. Built in 1925, the single-family residence has tasteful updates, including a primary bedroom suite addition. Beautifully landscaped, the backyard features a patio, perennial gardens, firepit, pergola, and a heated gym with attached year-round bar and entertaining area.  

4171 Deyo Ave, Brookfield, $749,000

In the Congress Park section of Brookfield, there are dozens of “boulder” homes designed and built by resident and stone mason Conrad Schneider. Located on a prominent corner, this five-bedroom home with a large round tower was originally constructed in 1899 by Schneider, who collected natural fieldstones from the surrounding prairies. Beyond the rock-fronted facade is a freshened up interior and fully finished basement with a stone-clad wine cellar.

9560 Drake Ave, Evanston, $1,499,900

Moving on to Evanston to share this fable-like home custom built in 1929 by an architect for his own family (through some digging around I discovered another local architect lived here for a time as well). That might explain all the great details like the two-story turret entryway, spiral staircase, and the living room’s cathedral-style ceiling with solid wood beams. Although extensively remodeled inside with today’s latest trends, the picturesque house with five bedrooms and four full bathrooms has been lingering on and off the market for the last four years. 

1637 N Mobile Ave, Chicago, $519,000

With some curb appeal, this English Manor-style home in Chicago’s Galewood has lots of potential. Located on a double lot with a number of mature trees, the four-bedroom, two-bathroom single-family residence has delightful elements such as ceiling beams, wood-burning fireplaces, and a screened-in porch. Since the home was first listed for sale last month, the property’s price has recently been reduced to $519,000. It’s not far from Amundsen Park and the Galewood Metra stop. 

2445 Woodbridge Ln, Highland Park, $5,500,000

This 7,000-square-foot mansion in Highland Park was designed in 1929 for Lawrence M. Stein, the president and founder of a company that made sewing machines and player pianos. Architecture surveys describe its style as either French Normandy or Tudor Revival, both of which share characteristics with Storybook designs. Secluded down a private lane and wooden bridge, nearly every space of this home has superb views of Lake Michigan. According to Crain’s, the longtime owner of this historic estate is a member of the Morton family who founded the famous restaurant chain, but they’ve struggled to sell this multi-million dollar property for over a decade.