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

Bungalow Art Glass

I don’t think I’ve talked much about our art glass windows. If you’ve read my blog for a while or have seen it on Houseblogs.net, you know my banner used to look like this:


Nowadays I’ve taken a more subtle approach in the banner and just use a few elements from the windows, but there it showed the entire design of the upper sash in our living room window bay.

I’ve always thought our windows are pretty damn cool with that Martini glass/prairie grass motif. (Or as my mother likes to say, Manhattan glass, because of the “red cherry” in the bottom of the glass —— you can tell what she likes to drink.) Martinis on the prairie — …there’s just about nothing else more perfect for me!

Another feature of these windows are the use of mirrors in some spots. In the bottom photo, the triangle and the square in the corner are both made of gold mirrors, or Angel Gilding, as it’s called.

I read somewhere —— it may have been in the book The Chicago Bungalow — that approximately 30 percent of all Chicago-style bungalows were built using art glass. The rest used plain glass (but usually partitioned) in the double-hung windows, like Andy’s over at Building a Better Bungalow.

On our block, I think four of the 6 bungalows have art glass. I don’t know what the deciding factor was for a builder to include art glass, although I’m sure it increased the price of the house. Bungalows both big and small could have art glass windows, however I believe that it was more common to see art glass windows in the curved-front (bay or octagon) bungalows than in those with a flat front. The flat-front bungalows were generally more modestly-priced houses located in predominantly working-class neighborhoods.

Morton Grove was predominantly working and middle class too, but for whatever reason most of the bungalows in our neighborhood were the bay style.

A couple of the slightly-smaller bungalows on our block have art glass windows whereas one of the larger bungalows across the street does not, so size seemingly didn’t matter.

I’ve always wondered how many art glass styles were available when the bungalows were built. Was there a catalog? I haven’t come across any information about it, even on the Historic Chicago Bungalow Association’s website.

I didn’t think that our style was unique, but I also hadn’t seen any that came close to it. Many of them are more subtle and geometric.

Then one day I noticed a link to my site from someone’s Flickr account —— a bungalow owner in nearby Niles has the same design as ours (hi Rene)! Hers is slightly different and has clear textured glass around the edges where ours is yellow-and-clear textured.

I’m curious to know how many others have our design, but I’d also like to see others’ windows, so if you’re a Chicago-style bungalow owner reading this, please send a photo to owners [at] bungalowchronicles [dot] com and I’ll post it here.

6 Comments

  1. Carol on March 5, 2009 at 7:30 pm

    You have such beautiful windows! We’re one of the unlucky ones whose Oak Park bungalow doesn’t have any art glass, and never did.

  2. jenni on March 5, 2009 at 7:45 pm

    I love your windows, and it is interesting someone has almost the same windows. The appear so very unique.

  3. southsideandy on March 6, 2009 at 12:45 am

    Hey Denise! Thanks for the link and mention! My observations follow yours pretty closely. I don’t think I’ve EVER seen a flat-faced bungalow (like mine) with art glass, and I’ve looked at TONS of bungalows. However, we DID have SOME art glass — above the fireplace! Of course, one of the PO’s ripped out the fireplace (it appears) and bricked in the window up there. Fortunately, they kept the window downstairs, which I discovered while demolishing the family room walls…see here:
    http://www.flickr.com/photos/southsideandy/2141932471/in/set-72157603284982484/

    Does this Niles bungalow owner have a blog? Send ’em on over to my blog/flickr page too! Share the reader love! 🙂 Maybe we can all continue to learn something…somehow! 🙂

  4. Joanne on March 7, 2009 at 3:45 pm

    In our neighborhood of Evanston, most of the bungalows that have art glass seem to have them on the side of the house, on each side of the fireplace. Our two-flat has art glass on both levels, again on either side of the (sadly, decorative only) fire place. But these face the street, so it’s nice to pull up in front of the house and catch a glance of them.

    We found a large, matching panel in the basement, in pieces, but can’t figure out for certain which window it would have gone in. The dimensions don’t seem to fit. Still, one of these days I’d like to take a stained glass class and make something of them.

    Your bungalow windows are some of the nicest I’ve seen.

  5. Nicole on March 11, 2009 at 9:38 am

    They are beautiful! It’s so wonderful that you still have them. As someone mentioned, a lot of POs took them out.

    Still laughing at Martinis on the Prairie. (Maybe that was a planned, but unpublished, title for Laura Ingalls Wilder?)

  6. denise on March 13, 2009 at 10:02 am

    Thanks everyone! I feel very fortunate to have these windows — it definitely gives the home lots of character.

    southsideandy and Joanne: I really can’t understand why anyone in their right mind would take out or cover up an art glass window!

    Nicole: LOL, perhaps it would have been House on the Prairie, the Jaded Years?

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