Philadelphia’s Centennial Exhibition of 1876 the World’s Columbian Exposition in Chicago in 1893 created a new trend for historic revival styles of architecture: those that paid homage to our colonial heritage. According to A Field Guide to American Houses, Colonial Revival architecture was the dominant residential type built through the beginning of the 20th century. Though not as popular as it was pre-World War II, Colonial Revival residences with their pleasing facades have evolved to become one of the most timeless designs in the U.S. The layout of these traditional homes are often outdated for the 21st century lifestyle, but with smart renovation — as you’ll see below in the properties for sale — there are ways to update the interior while still staying true to their historic character. 

140 Blackstone Ave, La Grange, $2,200,000

This typical brick Colonial Revival design from the 1920s got a major overhaul in 2016 with a rehab and large addition, followed by an interior makeover in 2021. Situated on a sprawling corner lot in suburban La Grange, this five-bedroom, four-bathroom home is currently listed for $2.2 million. It’s got all the bells and whistles, including a gourmet kitchen, a “dream” mud room, and a basement putting green based on the Augusta National Golf Club. It’s walking distance to two Metra stops and downtown La Grange area full of shops and restaurants. 

648 Pine St, Winnetka, $2,150,000

Known for his fashionable residences along the North Shore, local architect Robert Seyfarth designed this six-bedroom, six-bathroom home with white picket fence and brick pavers around 1920. One of a dozen commissions found in Winnetka, I’d like to think Seyfarth was most likely inspired by Dutch Colonial and Saltbox Style subtypes. The current owners reinvented the classic design in 2008 by updating it with new electrical and plumbing as well as digging a concrete foundation for the basement. The heated two-car garage would make a perfect office or studio for potential buyers.

275 Ash St, Crystal Lake, $585,000

The cheapest option available (maybe because it’s all the way out in Crystal Lake) is this bright and airy four-bedroom, three-bathroom single-family residence currently for sale at $585,000. It’s in great shape for a historic property, probably due to the fact that everything is new (chimney, floors, windows…you name it!). I love the symmetry of its design with the two wings on each side. The coach house has been transformed into an additional living/work space, perfect to use as an artist’s studio or for adult children who have moved back home.

1501 Franklin Ave, River Forest, $1,275,000

Right on the River Forest-Elmwood Park border (where you’ll also find Johnnie’s, an “Italian Beef mecca”) is this 1940s Colonial Revival home that’s on the market for $1.3 million. This 3,100-square-foot residence with four bedrooms and three full bathrooms is one of 860 properties in the village’s historic district. With its Lannon stone exterior and Ludowici red clay tile roof, the elegant home has been modernized — but in a tasteful way. Besides the patios, there is additional outdoor space that looks like a secret garden situated under a pergola. 

1616 Judson Ave, Evanston, $1,349,000

Within a few blocks of the Northwestern University campus you’ll find this beautifully restored brick Colonial Revival home built for real estate broker John T. Wheeler in 1921. It is believed to be the only domestic project by Eric E. Hall & Company, the architect behind the now-demolished Chicago Stadium and the Cook County Criminal Court Building at 26th and California. The four-bedroom, three-bathroom main residence comes with a one-bed, one-bath coach house/ADU that can possibly generate almost $29,000 in annual rental income. Best part is you can walk to the lake and all of Evanston’s downtown spots!