We see right through this house made of glass in Downers Grove, IL—and we love what we see. The modern marvel on Wallbank Avenue is on the market for $850,000. That price is a steal—if you consider what it would take to replicate this gem.
“To build this house today would be $1.2 million,” says the listing agent, Elaine Pagels.
In 1974, a local architect, Richard Marker, built the home for his own use in the modernist style of Ludwig Mies van der Rohe. Although the home is almost 50 years old, there are no cracks in the facade of this gorgeous glass residence.
“There have been a few owners since [Marker], but much of the house is original. People lived in this home with great respect,” Pagels says.
The exterior walls on the main level of the 2,016-square-foot home are all glass, but according to the agent, the home is remarkably private.
“If you drive by, you cannot see in the home just by the glass. From the outside [looking] inside, you can’t see anything, but from the inside [looking] outside, you can,” she says.
Simple yet stunning, the home is composed of just a few key building blocks.
“There’s a blend of metal, glass, wood, and stone in the house, so you have all the elements,” says Pagels.
At night, a lookie-loo might be able to see inside the four-bedroom home, but window coverings are in place, and the houses on either side do not have windows that face the glass house.
A large brick garage sits between the road and the house, adding an additional barrier.
Trees also provide privacy.
“The glass house is completely surrounded by forest—it’s a very natural setting,” Pagels says. “It’s gorgeous. Any window you look out of, any wall you look out of, you have a view.”
The white oak floors are original, as are the home’s wood ceilings, and it has a few vintage decor and design touches throughout.
“There’s this really fabulous green toilet, and of course Richard [Marker] thought ahead and left a brand-new toilet seat cover. It’s still in the box,” Pagels says of one of the home’s quirky highlights.
The kitchen is galley-style, with a small bar space for eating. It’s close to a dining room area and to an enclosed, three-season porch, where the current owners usually enjoyed their meals, Pagels explains. The porch has glass walls and a glass ceiling, with fabulous views.
Pagels tells of a time she was inside the house during a snowfall of heavy, wet flakes.
“It was the kind of snow where the snowflakes are huge, and each one really has a personality,” she says.
“It was like the opposite of being inside a snow globe. The snow was coming on the outside, rather than on the inside. … It was magical.”
The primary suite is in the back of the house, separated from the living areas. The primary bathroom also has glass walls.
From the living area, a metal spiral staircase leads down to a finished basement with laundry, a bar, a theater area, a workroom, a storage area, and a bathroom with the standout green toilet and sink. If you take the square footage of the basement into consideration, you have double the living space, at 4,032 square feet.
The house is only a couple of blocks from two train stations, for a half-hour commute into Chicago. It’s also close to schools and the downtown area of Downers Grove, with shops and restaurants.
The home is getting a lot of interest, including from some international buyers.
“We’re not selling your typical four-bedroom, two-and-a-half-bath house,” Pagels says. “We’re selling a work of art.”
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