In Fine Shape! An Extraordinary Octagon House on the Market Near Milwaukee

A midcentury modern home in the shape of an octagon is on the market in a northern Milwaukee suburb.

The home’s had the same owners since it was built in 1963. Now, the owners’ four children, who grew up in the property, are selling it for $489,900. Ilissa Boland of Shorewest Realtors is the listing agent.

“I have never seen anything like this house in my 17 years of selling real estate,” says Boland. While the home is in a pocket of other midcentury modern homes in Glendale, WI, many of those homes have been altered and lost their vintage charm.

Staircase Staircase

Another view Another view

Thanks to the father’s background in engineering (he also owned a foundry making metal castings), he built the floating staircase and railing.

“It’s incredible—and it’s held up,” says Boland. The same goes for the bath tiles: “There’s not one crack,” she says. Their father also created decorative panels at the bottom of the stairs near the den entrance.

A new air-conditioning system was added over the summer, and a landscaping/retaining wall was put in place as well, covering about $45,000 in infrastructure expenses a new owner won’t have to take on.

As the children recall, their parents took an active role in the home’s design and construction. “Their parents drew out all the plans,” says Boland. When presented to the city, officials “were, like, ‘This is a little out there, crazy, and we don’t know if we want to approve it.’”

Tasked with finding “a real architect,” the family turned to Abe Tannenbaum—locally famous for his midcentury modern homes—to finesse the designs. He added a skylight and softened the exterior by mixing wood with Lannon stone.

Living room Living room

Kitchen Kitchen

Master bath Master bath

Den Den

The property also includes a two-car garage and a zen garden with a water feature. The backyard, located on Brantwood Lake, is a four-season paradise. It’s a spring-fed, man-made lake, and within a homeowner association.

“It’s known to be the best swimming you’ll ever find,” says Boland. “In the winter, they play hockey.”

The master bath was remodeled during the 1980s but could use a refresh. “The kitchen could be more open (to the living room area),” says Boland, and new cabinet doors and countertops would go a long way toward increasing functionality as well as modernizing.

But a whole-scale renovation? That won’t be necessary for this octagonal gem. “The owners feel the buyer will want to keep everything intact,” says Boland.