Midcentury modern homes aren’t exactly difficult to find—but spotting a fixer-upper at a low price is not so easy.
On the market in the southwestern Chicago suburb of Palos Park, IL, this five-bedroom, 3.5-bathroom house—built in 1957 and listed for $300,000—will need some love. On the plus side, the next owners can customize the home’s beautiful bones to their heart’s delight.
And there are building blocks to work with. Vintage elements, like peach, pink, and blue subway tile, as well as fixtures in similar pastel colors in the bathrooms, wood-paneled walls, and a horseshoe-shaped floor plan, are all intact.
That offers a sweet starting point for the next owner of the 5,500-square-foot house, which is set on an acre lot.
The home’s exterior was crafted from cedar and brick. Skylights and transom windows coax in natural light, and an open staircase between the main level and upstairs further enhances the open layout.
A two-lane bowling alley in the finished basement has the potential to become an entertainment hub for decades to come.
A rotunda-shaped room in the home will suit either anyone who needs to work from home, or (eventually) someone who likes to entertain. At first glimpse, it looks as if the kitchen, and the appliances in particular, will need to be updated.
“It’s a rehab,” says the listing agent, George Simic of John Greene Realtor®. “Everything in there is original. You’re going to need a new roof and windows, however. You’re looking at [spending] $750,000 to $1 million once you get it all fixed up.”
Located on a cul-de-sac, the home has plenty of privacy and very little auto traffic, but Simic suggests that the next owner might consider adding a second access point behind the home, “for a secret entrance.”
And as for secret features, a neighbor told Simic that there’s a bomb shelter somewhere in the home.
“We still don’t know where it’s at,” he says. “There’s a concrete pod in the back of the bowling alley. We don’t know for sure if it’s behind the pins or not.”
Buyers are drawn to Palos Park—a 30- to 45-minute drive to Chicago, or 10 minutes to the nearest Metra commuter-rail stop—for its schools. The city of around 5,000 residents is also known for its “very cultural, diverse food” scene,” says Simic.
The classic home has only had three owners over the decades, and the current owners—who bought it from the family that built it—have decided to unload this architectural gem.
Simic had a staggering 78 showings of the home in only four days, but many were pure gawkers who didn’t necessarily have the resources to undertake the renovations.
“There’s 10 to 15 percent of the market that would actually purchase it,” he says. Most buyers are looking for a move-in ready midcentury modern home, with only minor projects to tackle.
But for a winning offer, it’s a solid bet.
In the metro Chicago area, “It’s hard to get a 5,000-square-foot house like this on an acre with a full basement for under half-a-million,” Simic says. “I’m targeting a bachelor or couple who has the high income to put into it.”