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.
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!