What $2 Million Gets You in California, Illinois, and Kentucky

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This house was designed by Charles Strong Shaner, an architect who worked extensively in Alameda in the late 19th century, primarily in an area known as the Gold Coast. The house, considered one of the finest examples of his work, has been featured on walking tours organized by the Alameda Museum. The seller, a Victoriana collector, chose vintage wallpaper for many rooms, and many of the fixtures and hardware are from his collection.

Franklin Park, a small city park with a children’s playground, is a few blocks away. Downtown, with its public beaches on the San Francisco Bay, is a five-minute drive away. San Francisco is about half an hour away; downtown Oakland is a 15-minute drive away.

Cut: 3,211 square feet

Price per square foot: $621

Inside: A brick path leads from the sidewalk to the porch, which is adorned with carved wooden details and freshly painted in Victorian colors.

Beyond the front door, the foyer features redwood wainscoting and hardwood floors that extends into a living room with a fireplace, delicate floral wallpaper, and crystal chandeliers hanging from the medallions from the ceiling. In fine weather, the room is bright thanks to the windows that overlook the street, some in a niche with space for a comfortable chair.

A stained glass window is recessed into the wall next to a set of pocket doors that open into a dining room with another chandelier and another fireplace. To one side is a veranda with a large, colorful stained glass window.

Across the hall is a kitchen with new appliances including a Miele range, another stained glass window and a pantry. Also on this level, next to the hall, is a powder room.

Halfway up the stairs is a window seat under another stained glass window. To the left of the landing at the top of the stairs is the master bedroom, which has a turreted bay window and an en-suite bathroom with an ornate vanity. Nearby are a guest bedroom, a linen room and a laundry room.

Directly opposite the landing at the top of the stairs is another guest bedroom, with a fireplace and access to a veranda. Adjacent is a bathroom with marble flooring and a walk-in shower. On the other side of the bathroom is a fourth bedroom, which also has access to the veranda.

At the end of the corridor is an elevator leading to the first floor and the basement. Stairs from the center of the hall lead to an unfinished attic which could be converted into additional living space.

Outdoor space: A paved path winds through a backyard with mature trees. A patio with a stone bench sits in front of a garage with an ornate clock, which could be used as a guest house. There is room for two cars in the driveway in front.

Taxes: $24,936 (estimated)

Contact: David Gunderman and Andrew Raskopf-Gunderman, The Gunderman Group, Keller Williams Luxury International, 510-205-4369; thegundermangroup.com


This house, designed by Franklin Burnham, was one of the first built in Kenilworth, a village about 20 miles from Chicago. It has been in the same family for over half a century and the first two owners were prominent local doctors. The property is within walking distance of Lake Michigan beaches and Kenilworth Station (also designed by Mr. Burnham), where commuters can catch a train to Chicago in just over half an hour. A number of well-ranked public schools are nearby, including New Trier Township Secondary School and Joseph Sears School, a college named for one of Kenilworth’s founders. Downtown Chicago and O’Hare International Airport are about 30 minutes away by car.

Cut: 5,678 square feet

Price per square foot: $351

Inside: The house is set back from the street, with a paved path through the front yard to a covered porch large enough to hold a table and chairs.

The front door opens into a large living room with hardwood floors, a gas fireplace and a reading nook with built-in bookshelves and an original leaded glass window overlooking the courtyard.

Two doors lead to a dining room with a marble fireplace and built-in dressers. Beyond is a breakfast nook with a built-in table, added during a 2019 renovation. The kitchen table and countertops are quartz; new stainless steel appliances include a wine fridge.

A short hallway connects the kitchen to a family room with exposed stone walls and windows overlooking the backyard. Off the hallway is a powder room with tropical print wallpaper.

Four bedrooms and a screened porch are on the second floor. The master bedroom has a working fireplace and an en-suite bathroom with a combined bath and shower. Adjacent is a guest bedroom currently used as a home office; another bedroom with fireplace is connected to it. The fourth bedroom and a full bathroom are across the hall.

Two more bedrooms and another full bathroom are on the third level, along with an open space that could be a game room or media room.

The basement is finished, with a large recreation room which has a wet bar. A bathroom with a combined bath and shower is also found on this level, as is a laundry room.

Outdoor space: The lot is just over half an acre, with a grassy backyard that provides plenty of privacy and space for sports or entertaining. A stone patio, separated from the backyard by a row of flowering plants, has room for a table and chairs. The detached garage contains two cars.

Taxes: $33,924 (estimated)

Contact: Anne DuBray and Eileen Cullum, Coldwell Banker Realty, 847-877-8870; coldwellbanker.com

This home, in a planned community, was custom built by the sellers; the only unfinished part is the basement, where a future owner could add a bedroom and a bathroom. The property is in front of a community garden and within walking distance of a park with a small pond and an amphitheater. It’s a five-minute drive from a commercial development with a tea room, wine bar, and several casual eateries. Louisville is about a half hour away.

Cut: 4,538 square feet

Price per square foot: $440

Inside: Simple columns line the porch, a few steps from the sidewalk. The lobby ceilings are high and the space is flooded with natural light.

Immediately to the left of the entrance is a living room with an elegant fireplace surrounded by floor-to-ceiling quartz. Hardwood floors continue from the living room to the kitchen and dining room, where there is room for a table next to sliding glass doors that open onto an enclosed patio. The kitchen cabinets are a very shiny dark green; appliances include Sub-Zero refrigerator and Wolf stove; and the island has a gray and white stone waterfall counter. A butler’s pantry has more green cabinets and built-in shelves that could hold a collection of cookbooks.

Next to the kitchen is a powder room with a floating granite sink and a utility room with cheery orange cabinetry.

At the back of this level is the master suite, which features a walk-in closet with custom shelving and a bathroom with heated floors, skylight and shower and a long vanity finished in granite.

The staircase in the hall rises to an open loft that connects to a wide sleeping porch facing the street. Two further bedrooms are on this level: one, with cork floors, has been used as a yoga studio; the other has hardwood floors and a deep closet. They share a full bathroom with a double sink.

Outdoor space: The partially landscaped backyard features wooden planters, a paved patio and walkways. The second story sleeping porch is covered and has room for a full set of furniture. The garage, attached to the back of the house, has three parking spaces.

Taxes: $20,376 (estimated), plus $89 monthly homeowners association fee

Contact: Crystalyn Noland, Lenihan Sotheby’s International Realty, 502-644-9140; sothebysrealty.com

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