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Curbed Awards 2012: The Homes!

The Curbed Awards continue today with a lovingly generated greatest hits list of awesome, craptastic, ambitious, and brutal real estate. We scoured our 2012 back issues to confidently reward standouts of the year. Here they are.

Best Renovation— With all the gut-renovated greystones and penthouses out there clamoring for attention and for top dollar, we settled on a visionary piece of work that transformed a pre-Fire Lincoln Park cottage into a delicate modernist space. The work happened in the last decade, but the property came onto the rental market this summer. The front of the home hints at what's to come with its playful porch design and color scheme. Inside, there's a floating staircase, a shower open to the elements, built-in shelving, and a cubicle-like sunroom edging into the backyard. And you're in luck! The place is still for rent, at $2,600/month.

Outrageous Amenity— This honor goes to a ho-hum Lincoln Square new-build with a heated garage basketball court. And it's no afterthought. Indeed, your parking needs are the afterthought: no one's gonna roll a jeep over those waxy wood floors. Indoor b-ball facilities are rare enough but this is in a pretty urban neighborhood and, priced at $1.395M, it's no surprise there's a sale pending.

Celebrity Newsmaker— Speaking of basketball, 2012's biggest celeb news emanated from Michael Jordan. When he listed his Highland Park estate in February for $29M, most folks probably didn't expect it'd be trumped by a $32M Trump listing three months later. Nevertheless, MJ's lair is the most ostentatious thing we've ever seen: a gated seven-acre compound with 56,000 square feet of living space, a sensational b-ball facility, parking for 15 cars, a pool, pond, tennis court, putting green, nine bedrooms, and 15 full baths. With all the charm of an office park, the price hasn't budged in 10 months. We'll keep waiting for our time to strike.

Steepest Discount— When this bank-seized Rogers Park mansion beside a golf course first hit the market in January 2011 for $2.45M, the often cringe-worthy interiors pointed to an overzealous (and absentee) owner. The 12,000-square-foot home is definitely an outlier, but some folks may like it that way. It's got an indoor pool and five fireplaces, bedrooms, and baths. At the time of our first reporting, the ask had slipped to $1.79M. By our second, it was down to $890K. It fell as low as $750K before the lender yanked it off the MLS. But you should get a fresh crack at it at a not-to-distant date.

Most Hideous— Boy, a lot of our award winners come from February. What a divine month! The hotly anticipated declaration of extreme hideousness goes to a preposterous McMansion in Northwest suburban Harwood Heights. A lot of tastelessness resides in this part of Chicagoland but this place is tops, with its "faux paint" depictions of olde-timey European countryside. And then there's actual structural elements made to look like worn but sublime pieces of rustic farmhouse. They didn't even get the fireplace right. Epic fail. But hey, it sold quickly.