A blog about the restoration, remodel and renovation of a 1929 Chicago-style brick bungalow

3rd Annual Bungalow Blog Tour

Welcome to the 3rd Annual Bungalow Blog Tour! Be sure to visit all 10 or so bungalows on the tour (links from-and-to the next blog are provided at the bottom of each bungalow’s post). As always, comments and questions welcomed and encouraged!

Built in 1929, our bungalow is a classic Chicago-style brick bungalow, one of about 80-100,000 bungalows built in the Chicago area between 1910-1940. On last year’s tour, I outlined the main, common characteristics of a Chicago-style bungalow, so now I’ll point out a few things that set our bungalow apart from some others.

Chicago-style bungalow
Bay Front. Some bungalows have a flat or squared front (probably the majority are this style), while other, more elaborate styles are called octagon-front because of their large, almost round bay of windows. Visit The Bungalow, Chicago-style pool on Flickr to see the wide range of styles in the Chicagoland area.

Brick color. At a distance our face brick appears red, but it actually has a wide range of colors, from reds, browns and grays to olive green and yellow ochre. Other brick color styles are blonde or checkerboard, or they’re more solid-colored, like typical browns and reds.

Chicago-style brick bungalow

Art Glass Windows. This is my favorite feature in our home. Only approximately 1/3 of all bungalows were built with art glass windows, and of those I’ve only come across one other bungalow who has a similar pattern to ours.

Chicago-style art glass
We bought our bungalow in 2007, moving two houses away from our previous 1960s-era raised ranch home (a perfectly good home, but devoid of character and charm). We are still in contact with the previous owner of this house, and he recently discovered the blog.

That’s pretty much the overview. You can check out the highlights of many of our projects by looking at last year’s tour. This year I thought I’d highlight our biggest project, the Attic Renovation, since I’ve never properly documented the “after” photos (or shall I say “almost-after” since we still have plenty to do!).

When we moved in, the attic was completely unfinished, just your typical attic except for the 200 sheets of sheetrock scattered about that the PO bought 10 years prior, intending to finish the space one day.

Almost two years ago now, we started construction on a master suite, laundry room and “flex” or bonus room, which now serves as my design/illustration studio space. We hired a contractor for most of the heavy work but chose to do a lot of the finish work ourselves, such as installing the bathroom tile, laundry room tile, doors and all the trimwork. Needless to say, as you’ll see, the doors and trimwork have yet to be installed — and while I dream about it being finished and behind us, alas it doesn’t prevent us from living in the space. The pitfalls of DIY I guess. Now on with the tour!

The first view is looking toward the back of the house in what would become our master bedroom.

The same view, with the dormer addition to allow space for the bedroom and master bathroom. The roof window was moved into the bathroom and provides the only natural light there.

And as it looks today. We are making some progress on doors for the storage spaces in the nook area. I plan to make the doors flush with the wall using hidden hinges and a push-latch, painting them the same color as the walls. We have enough leftover, original doors (e.g. from a kitchen pantry that the PO tore out) to reuse them for the clothes closets and bathroom/bedroom entries, but they need to be stripped and stained to match the rest of the house first.

The master bathroom, in progress.

And as it looks today. If you’re interested in the tile we used, you can read more about it here and here.

Moving toward the middle of the house, the attic stairs were too narrow and steep, with very shallow treads. We had to steal 6″ from the kitchen to widen the staircase, and the pitch of the staircase was lengthened, which created a small wedge in the hallway ceiling on the first floor. With our tall ceilings it goes pretty much unnoticed.

Here’s the before-and-after. The (unfinished/need-to-be-stained) bi-fold doors at the top of the stairs contain a storage closet and HVAC.

And a couple views of the small laundry room next to the staircase. We installed Marmoleum linoleum tiles for the floor—while not cheap, they’re a very eco-friendly product (which we use wherever possible) and I’d highly recommend them for flooring.

As for my design/illustration studio space at the opposite end of the house looking toward the street, I’m afraid it’s a huge mess we’re out of time, so I’d like to invite you to come back soon for the rest of the tour!

I hope you enjoyed this peek into our bungalow—thanks for visiting!

Next Tour Stop: El Paso Four Square
Previous Tour Stop: Tiny Oak Park Bungalow


  1. Josh on May 14, 2011 at 9:57 am

    Your attic remodel looks so great, Denise! I’m a complete believer in an upper level laundry like you installed, too. Cheers!

  2. StuccoHouse on May 14, 2011 at 10:58 am

    I just love the Chicago brick & art glass windows. Those are two things that I wish had found there way to Minneapolis bungalows. Thanks for joining the Tour again this year!

  3. Omar on May 14, 2011 at 11:33 am

    Awesome home — the exterior is almost an exact copy of a friend of ours’ house back in chicago. Good call finishing the attic space. I was always amazed at the amount of room in those bungalows. Felt bigger than my house. Thanks for the tour! 🙂

  4. Michelle on May 14, 2011 at 1:37 pm

    I love your home! I have checked out your blog before and love how you utilized the space upstairs. I love the brick exterior and art deco windows. Beautiful home!

  5. denise on May 14, 2011 at 3:58 pm

    @Josh: Thanks! Yes, you will LOVE the upper level laundry room. My husband loves it because I do a lot more laundry now (it was pretty much his chore when it was in the basement!).
    @StuccoHouse: I love the brick too. I’m hoping to clean the brick this year and also to install wood storms painted in a way that will bring out more of those great colors. Thanks for organizing the tour!
    @Omar: Thanks, everyone is always amazed at how much space we have in here. Your house (and project house!) is beautiful too!
    @Michelle: Thanks a bunch–I just checked out your blog–welcome to houseblogging! How great that you have all those old photos from the previous owner. Even though we know our PO, we don’t have any old photos from him. Will have to bug him about that.

  6. Mike @HA on May 16, 2011 at 9:04 am

    Wow, the attic renovation looks amazing! The changes look so simple in the picture but I imagine it affected your entire house! Changes to the room, kitchen, ceiling, etc, etc. It looks great though, totally worth all the work!

  7. Vinnie on May 16, 2011 at 2:17 pm

    I remember adding this blog to my reading list after last year’s tour. Loved the martini glasses in the window and brick exterior.

    Nice job on the attic remodel.

  8. Devon @ Green House, Good Life on May 16, 2011 at 5:46 pm

    Looks great! Thanks for the peek! I always love your updates.

  9. Marsha on May 19, 2011 at 11:30 pm

    I’m green with envy over your attic. What a great addition to your home. And what a nice bathroom. I do love my travertine; heated is even better.

    Thanks for participating in the tour.

  10. Katherine & Tom on May 22, 2011 at 7:13 am

    We have almost the exact same house. Can you tell us who designed the plans for your remodeling?

  11. […] Of course this does not even begin to cover all the possible architectural influences but these are a few where what is on the inside needs to coordinate with the outside.  A Hollywood glamor theme is never going to work in the rustic timber frame or bungalow home.  For fun reading on bungalows (one of my favorite architectural styles) head over to The Bungalow Chronicles. […]

  12. Gabriela on June 27, 2011 at 4:24 pm

    Very nice addition! Just curious… what was the original height of the bottom of the ridge beam? what is the height of the finish ceiling now?

  13. Herni Jeff on September 14, 2011 at 4:04 pm

    Hey there I LOVE your bungalow stuff, and the attic that you designed is absolutely exquisite!! LOVE LOVE

  14. Jenny on September 28, 2011 at 2:09 pm

    Hello, I came across your blog as a result of a Google search. My husband and I just purchased a Chicago Bungalow in Jefferson Park which was built in 1925. Our attic looks like yours(in the before photo) and we are looking to dormer and finish it. I was wondering if you could refer your contractor to me because it looks like they did such a great job and we are unsure of where to start! Thank you!!! -Jenny

  15. Leslie on November 9, 2011 at 11:46 am

    I love the bathroom. You guys did an amazing job! Keep up the good work!

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