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

The neighbor visits…

While I continued to plan and dream about either adding on to our current house or moving, our neighbor down the block stops by to let us know that he’’s getting married. We’’ve known this neighbor, D, for a long time. Most of our neighbors have been around for a long time and we’’re all friendly with each other, but not very close.

I can’’t remember how it came up, but basically D thought that we might be interested in buying his house, a Chicago-style brick bungalow, once he got married. D has lived in this house since he was 7 and he’’s two years older than I am, so you do the math. (What’s that? You don’’t know how old I am? Well, let’’s just say that our current house was fairly new when he moved in down the block and leave it at that…).

Like I said in the previous post, I’’ve always loved the bungalow style, and I’’ve always said that I’’d love to live in a bungalow, but up until that point I never did anything about it. The bungalows on our block (and there are 6 of them out of a total of 14 houses) are all what is called “octagon-style” with a bay-like living room. They all have a similar layout. It is rumored that one of the bungalows across the street was a speakeasy. The previous owners of that house used to have a Halloween party there every year——their basement had all these booths carved out of the walls, which resembled grottos——it was very cool. Anyway, D’’s house is slightly bigger than the others, with 3 full-size bedrooms on the first floor rather than 2 BR + tandem room. Plus it’’s on a double lot.

I didn’’t have to think very long to decide that, yes, I did want to buy his bungalow. It has the character that I crave. Let me note here that Pete would be perfectly happy staying in our current place for the rest of his life. I, on the other hand, need change. It energizes me. I need to get out of our perfectly nice house before it smothers me.

It didn’’t take me long to shift gears and start focusing on buying the bungalow instead of renovating our house. It already has the full-size attic, perfect for adding a couple of bedrooms and a bathroom. And D has made a number of updates over the years: new plumbing, including roughing in the plumbing to the attic (bonus!), updated electrical, central air, newer 2-1/2 car garage, woodburning fireplace, partially finished basement, plus 5 good quality roof windows. And as he replaced the windows in the upstairs dormers, he had drywall and subfloor hoisted into the attic. The attic is just begging to be finished!

Bathroom beforeHowever, there are a few things he did that I’’m not happy about. For one, the Swedish flag themed bathroom. Nothing against the Swedes, it’’s just that bright yellow and blue are not in my color palette! The white pedestal sink is nice, but the toilet is green, with some kind of “turbo” flush in it. That’’s going to be gone really fast. And he covered over the original hexagon tile floor with rectangular blue and white tiles —— no underlayment, just slathered on the mastic and went to town!

The kitchen is also not my style. The cabinets are those generic early ’90s oak country-ish style that you’’d get from a big box store. And that trim. Pete, who usually leaves the aesthetics up to me, can’t wait to remove that trim on the cabinets. I wanted a kitchen to redo anyway. Kitchen beforeIn addition to that: no light fixture, just exposed wires in the ceiling, same Swedish flag backsplash theme as the bathroom, and bright yellow paint on the walls (but not everywhere; I guess he ran out of paint). On the plus side: maple floors.

So lots of good points, but as Pete likes to say, over and over: “It’s gonna be a LOT of work!…”