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

2nd Annual Bungalow Blog Tour

I’m pleased to join the Bungalow Blog Tour that StuccoHouse organized this year — be sure to check out all the bungalows on the tour by following the links at the bottom of each post.

Welcome to our near-north suburban Chicago home! Here in the Windy City we do many things Chicago-style, from politics to pizza and hot dogs and yes, even bungalows.

Between 80,000 to 100,000 Chicago-style bungalows were built from 1910-1940 as the working class family gained prosperity. Most of these bungalows are located in the “Bungalow Belt”, a crescent-shaped section sweeping the outskirts of Chicago and stretching into the suburbs, like our middle-class suburb of Morton Grove.

Our bungalow was built in 1929, shortly before the stock market crashed. With a smattering of bungalows in the vicinity mixed with post-war ranches, it’s evident that home building came to a screeching halt at this point in our neighborhood until the early or mid-1950s.

While there are many variations in the Chicago-style bungalow, the defining elements are:

  • One-and-one-half story single family home with the roofline perpendicular to the street
  • Solid brick construction with face brick and stone trim, topped with a low-pitched roof with wide overhangs
  • Generous number of windows and full basement

Some characteristics that we share with many, but not all Chicago-style bungalows:

  • An arched doorway and covered porch
  • Brick walls capped with limestone on either side of the porch stairs
  • Limestone insets and window box brackets

My favorite feature of our bungalow? The original living room art glass windows—seven in all forming a bay. From what I understand, only about 30% of all bungalows were built with art glass windows, and of those there was a wide variety of patterns and styles.

For more information about the Chicago bungalow, visit the Historic Chicago Bungalow Association.

We’ve undertaken a number of projects in the (almost) three years we’ve lived here, some of which were to restore original features of the house to their former glory, like having all the windows and then the baseboard, door frames and picture rail stripped and refinished and repairing most of the plaster walls. You can see a quick then-and-now overview here.

The biggest project occurred last summer when we added a master suite, laundry room and “flex” room to the unfinished attic. The remodel also affected our kitchen in order to accommodate a wider staircase to the second floor, so it gave us the opportunity to improve the kitchen layout.

Once all the plaster cracks were repaired we covered the plain, poorly-painted vanilla walls and ceilings with mostly warm, earthy colors like Firenze orange in the dining room and Azures teal in the living room, a greenish-yellow in the former TV room (now office) and the most recent project, Wasabi green in the kitchen.

Outdoors, we added a patio and are gradually replacing the “lawn” (all weeds) with native grasses and perennials.

We’ve completed a number of little projects in addition to the big ones and there’s still lots to do — like tearing out the previous owner’s (PO’s) blue-and-yellow bathroom remodel and remodeling the PO’s super-sized fireplace project into a simplified, more bungalow-appropriate hearth. We haven’t run out of steam yet, so I hope you’ll keep coming back for more updates.

Thanks for visiting our bungalow!

Next House on the Blog Tour: Black Dog’s Bungalow
Previous House on the Blog Tour: Tiny Oak Park Bungalow

7 Comments

  1. stuccoHouse on May 8, 2010 at 9:32 am

    Great overview of Chicago bungalows! That art glass is sweet. Does anyone other than me see a martini glass there? 🙂

  2. denise on May 8, 2010 at 9:53 am

    Oh yeah, I thought martinis right away (although my mother says Manhattan because of the “cherry” at the bottom)!

  3. Vinnie on May 8, 2010 at 10:09 am

    Actually I see 2 martini glasses. 😉 LOVE those windows. They are just beautiful. I’ve enjoyed the tour too and now have a new blog to add to my reading list. Thank you.

  4. Foxcroft on May 12, 2010 at 11:31 am

    What a wonderful place. It’s always great to see sensitive additions done that maintain the original feel of the house. Like you, our bungalow was built right before the crash, so I enjoy looking at the midcentury moderns across the street. They do grow on you.

  5. Chaz on May 13, 2010 at 1:22 am

    Pretty house! That art-deco look is hard to beat. Spencer Iowa (where I work) has an art-deco downtown because the old downtown burned in 1931.

  6. Cat@BudgetBlonde on May 22, 2010 at 9:17 pm

    I looove your house! It’s gorgeous, and I agree that the windows are amazing! This is exactly the type of house that I would love to buy when I “grow up” Still in the newlywed renting phase right now!!!

  7. denise on May 26, 2010 at 3:38 pm

    Thanks everyone!

Leave a Comment