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An architect’s eye-catching glass house in Downers Grove wants $850K

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Built in 1974 by Richard Marker, the home is an homage to works of earlier Modernist masters

A boxy glass house with dark metal framing with a floating entry staircase and side porch surrounded by tall trees.
The glassy four-bedroom home appears to float above the ground.
VHT Studios, courtesy Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices Chicago

A stunning glass house designed by architect Richard Marker is up for grabs in Downers Grove for $850,000. Marker completed the four-bedroom, two-and-half-bathroom home as his personal residence in 1974, but the design takes many cues from the early- to mid- 20th century works by Modernist masters like Ludwig Mies van der Rohe. And despite its less-is-more approach, the home has plenty to offer prospective buyers.

The west suburban property features a brown brick garage at the front of its lot, which, along with clusters of mature trees, shields the main house from the street. For added privacy, Marker also designed the residence next door with no windows on the wall facing its glassy neighbor, listing agent Elaine Pagels tells Curbed Chicago.

Inside, the home’s 3,400-square-foot floorplan is flooded with natural light through vast expanses of glass and abundant skylights. “What I love about Marker’s design are the glass walls showcasing the surrounding greenery, the ceilings and floors are all wood, there’s a metal spiral staircase, and—from what I understand—there was once a large aquarium,” explains Pagels. “So there are all of these natural elements and materials coming together. It’s incredible.”

Missing fish tank aside, the home has remained largely intact since the 1970s with a few notable upgrades including a glass-topped porch designed by Marker for a later owner and white kitchen cabinets, which were added in the 1990s. The current owners, who have lived in the home since 2002, installed a fireplace in the living room, renovated the master suite, as well as added a new heating and cooling system.

Two red chairs sit in front of a contemporary stone-lined fireplace in an open living and dining room with wood floors and ceilings.
The light wood ceilings and floors and white walls reflect the natural light from the expansive glass windows and skylights.
A white on white kitchen with white and wood counters and red stools. The floor and ceiling are wood and a linear light hangs from the ceiling.
The kitchen has minimalist white cabinets and a red “light tube” running its length.
A wall of books next to a floor-to-ceiling glass wall overlooking a yard and trees.
The home has many built-in, including this wall of bookshelves in one of its four bedrooms.
A long hallway with white walls and a floor-to-ceiling glass at the end. A door is open revealing a bathroom with a mirror and double vanity sinks above dark wood cabinets.
The wood ceilings throughout give the modernist space an extra degree of warmness.
A sun porch with glass walls and ceiling. There’s red wood decking and wooden chairs around a table and a grill.
The home’s natural surrounding are really on display in the attached glass-enclosed sunroom.