Pete and I have been talking extensively about our roof this weekend. One of the things that has always really bothered us about it is the gable dormer in the front. Bungalows are supposed to be ground-hugging with a low-pitched roof but ours looks like the roof is about to take off!
That’s not the only thing that bothers me:
- The two attic windows are too far apart and separated by vinyl siding it just looks plain wrong! They should be separated by a mullion, a vertical member between window units
- The white trim seems like too much contrast to the red brick
- The fireplace chimney is U-G-L-Y!
- I have loathed the roof color kind of a mix of red, white and gray which just makes it look pink and gray. (The photo is a little overexposed, so it’s hard to see the true colors)
I don’t think Pete likes the roof shingles either. The windows, chimney and trim doesn’t really bother him, but he’s usually not as opinionated as I am.
We’ve often talked about modifying the gable and creating a hip roof instead, one that cuts across the top horizontally instead of coming to a point at the top. It seemed to be more in keeping with the true Chicago bungalow style and would give it more of a ground-hugging feel. And because our attic height is taller than many other Chicago-style bungalows, it really needs to at least look more low-pitched.
So after breakfast this morning we took a little walk around the neighborhood to look at other bungalows. There was a mix of gable and hip dormers, and somewhat minor details could really make a huge difference in looks.
In the two below, both have hip roofs, but you can see what a huge difference the “wings” make to the appearance of the one on the left. That one also had very old diamond-shaped roof shingles. It definitely needs a new roof, but for its apparent age, it was still in relatively good shape.
The single window in the bungalow on the right also looks out of place. (The arched French doors are nice on the entrance to this one, but it is not original to these bungalows; small open porches were the norm.)
The next one has a similar brick color to ours. The peachy pale orange window trim on the first floor tones down the white trim a bit. I don’t know if I’d use orange, but I’ve thought about doing something like this to ours. The hip roof looks nice here. It’s interesting to note how much further to the front of the house our dormer is situated.
According to Historic Chicago Bungalow Association guidelines, side dormers are supposed to be set back 20 feet from the front of the house in order to be less obtrusive. Many of the bungalows we saw with side dormers “violated” this guideline, including this and the next one, and you can see it makes a difference in appearance.
The last one has a gable dormer like ours, but you can see it looks much nicer. I think one reason is that the attic height isn’t as tall as ours, but I think the main reason is because the gable is set back further and is therefore more “squat” than ours.
Another thing we noticed is that while some dormers were clad with siding, traditionally the dormers were covered with roof shingles so that it blended in more with the roof.
All good things to consider as we move forward. (Stay tuned lots of things happening at Bungalow Chronicles!).