Not far from the famous Edith Farnsworth House designed by Mies van der Rohe is another architectural attraction built 20 years ago by the late radio psychic known as Joe Who. According to Crain’s Chicago Business, his spaceship house in Somonauk is back on the market after its recent buyers’ plans to turn the residence into an Airbnb-type rental were rejected by LaSalle County officials. Though real estate inventory in many U.S. metro areas remains at record lows, I must admit it wasn’t that hard finding other unconventional homes currently for sale around the Chicago area. While not as “out there” as the UFO-shaped residence, I came across a number of suburban homes that without a doubt can be described as unconventional. There’s the home that resembles a pagoda created by two apprentices of Frank Lloyd Wright, as well as a 1970s time capsule near Northwestern University. If you’re tired of cookie-cutter and searching for a one-of-a-kind home, then the following real estate listings will be right up your alley. 

2569 N 46th Rd, Somonauk, $524,900

Looking like a UFO hovering above its five-acre property full of native prairie plants, Joe Who’s dome home was delivered in pieces from a Montreal-based custom kit company with Velux windows imported from Denmark. It’s made of split-cedar shingles with a copper cap at the top. The 4,000-square-foot building has four bedrooms and three full bathrooms and sits on a pedestal with the ability to rotate the structure. Inside you’ll find a loft overlooking a large two-story space that shows the wooden ribs and beams that hold up the dome. Who wouldn’t want to watch a sci-fi film on that built-in projector screen? 

190 Sherwood Dr, Wood Dale, $549,900

An apprentice at Frank Lloyd Wright’s Taliesin before starting his own practice in 1951, architect Don Erickson was a true original whose designs have been described as living works of art. With his partner Dennis Stevens, the two men created at least 10 homes in the Chicago area with their distinctive “Jamaican” roof and “bubble” skylight. Built in 1965, this home has a “compression ring-expansion ring” system of curved gluelam beams, and the interior space is large and open while natural light falling on its pecky cedar wood ceiling. Listed for $549,900, the four-bedroom, three-bathroom in Wood Dale looks over a private lake (which explains the $300 annual HOA fees).  

31 Sequoia Rd, Hawthorn Woods, $745,000

Forty miles northwest of downtown Chicago is the village of Hawthorn Woods, where there is another oddly shaped home for sale. I’d love to know the backstory of this eccentric design, which dates from 1989. The four-bedroom, three-bathroom residence has been fully updated inside, which includes a very dramatic primary bedroom suite. Since it first hit the market back in February, the home has been marked down from $800,000 to its current asking price of $745,000.

1033 Hibbard Rd, Wilmette, $1,098,000

This five-bedroom, four-bathroom home in Wilmette certainly has a dramatic presence with its variety of geometric angles and shapes. Not only has the property gotten a price bump since it last sold six years ago (going from $775,000 to just over a million), but the house has received a makeover inside and out. Some interesting details to point out: the three-sided gas fireplace, the wet bar in the family room, the covered balcony off the primary bedroom, and the loft that looks over the main level’s open floor plan. 

2773 Sheridan Rd, Evanston, $750,000

Last but not least, we have a concrete brutalist design that’s on the market for the first time since it was built in 1974. Chicago Bauhaus & Beyond described the home’s architects, Louis Huebner and James Henneberg, as “one of the unsung architects of the period.” That’s certainly true when you take a look at all the vintage interior details. While the two-bedroom, four-bathroom house needs some TLC, how can you not love that conversation pit (cushioned, built-in seating below the floor level) or the two-tone kitchen cabinets? But what really stands out are all the groovy bathrooms with one that reminds me of a disco and another that has colorful stripes and a counter that opens up a hinged make-up mirror.