Whether it’s the idea of craftsmanship in our mass-produced world or harmony with nature, many of us enjoy the romantic view of living in a log cabin in the woods or near a lake. But registering homes in the Chicagoland area? You’ll be surprised to know that there are a number of them, whether in Barrington Hills, Highland Park, or the five for sale below. Although this type of construction dates back to the Bronze Age, many Americans associate log cabins with the country’s humble origins (seven American presidents were born into one). These homes can also take you back to childhood, as you may have played Lincoln Logs, which was invented in 1916 by the Chicago architect Frank Lloyd Wright’s son John. These log homes look perfect as we approach the cold winter months when we’re all stuck in Inside with cabin fever.
The former hunting lodge of one of the most prominent citizens of Des Plaines, Peter M. Hoffman, hired a group of lumberjacks from Northwoods, Wisconsin to build this building behind his main house between Lee and Center Street in 1921. An interesting figure (you can read more about him here), Hoffman was a political activist as Cook County Coroner, and later the only mayor of Cook County to serve a prison sentence while still in office. As you pass through the furnished front porch, the two-story foyer will amaze you with its dramatic staircase and authentic log details. Details are abundant here with the rocky river fireplace and flat bark walls, which once displayed Hoffmann’s extensive collection of taxidermy and fishing goblets. The log cabin has a double partition so it can be either a private residence, a business or both.
Just outside the historic town of Woodstock, there is this luxurious, custom-designed four-bedroom, four-bathroom home. Let’s be honest: Can you really call it a rustic log cabin when there’s 6,400 square feet of living space? I mean, there’s a second kitchen and a hot tub. What stands out is the large room with its vaulted wood ceilings, yellow pine wood floors, stone fireplace hearth, and a wooden staircase that leads to the upper bedroom suite. A furnished balcony on the top floor overlooks the secluded, lush greenery of the three-acre property. It is located next to the village of Bull Valley, which has strict restrictions on development, so this log house will always have a country-like environment.
Another unique residence is located down the street from Gold Pyramid House in Wadsworth. I would say this house is very authentic: its wooden construction is evident everywhere, from the walls and ceilings to the stairs and bathrooms. From the wrap-around back porch, you can admire the six-acre property that includes a fully stocked pond with a waterfall, as well as a six-stall horse barn with a thatched loft and fenced pasture. The unincorporated division of the house allows not only horses, but also chickens, bees, and more. Talk about getting back to nature.
Not far from the Wisconsin border is Spring Grove Village where urban sprawl has yet to fully capture the suburbs. Here you’ll find an almost 70-year-old log cabin on the market for $168,000. Given the nearby location of Chain O’Lakes State Park, this 1,000-square-foot, three-bedroom, one-bathroom home is a great choice for someone looking to enjoy nature or simplify their life. It would make for an enjoyable vacation as a secondary home or vacation rental.
If you’re looking for an escape to another state, the seaside resort community of New Buffalo, Michigan, is a popular choice in the second home market, located just 70 miles from downtown Chicago. And when I say popular, I’m not kidding. During the height of the pandemic last year, home sales in southwest Michigan broke records. This 1936 log cabin, full of intricate pine planks and antique charm, is located in a wooded area not far from the lake. The sun room and covered balcony are ideal for rest and relaxation.