Meet the owners: Mike and Katrina live in their bungalow with their two boys and their pup named Ruby. Mike is a teacher, which allows him time to teach himself woodworking skills and work on house projects during the summer months, and Katrina is an occupational therapist with a great eye for interior design and styling.
Own or rent: Owned 4 years
Year built: 1926
Approximate square footage: 3200
Decorative arch above the front door
Barbara and Bill Reed exiting the front door on the their wedding day
Original mail slot
“We really love that we live in a style of home that is truly unique to Chicago.”
Favorite bungalow feature
“It’s hard to narrow it down to just one favorite. We love the high ceilings, the pantry, and the back porch. What really sold us on the house were the original art glass windows in the front of the house, and now that they’re in working order I think the windows are our favorite thing.”
Favorite project so far
“[Our] favorite project to have complete is the front windows, but it was not a favorite while Mike was doing it. He hated it and complained all the time.
The vegetable garden beds and the landscaping in front have been lots of fun and rewarding year after year.”
Future project plans
“The list is long with little projects like trimming out the bathroom window and replacing the back porch stair treads. But the big projects this summer are finishing the 3rd small bedroom upstairs and replacing the garage door. We would love to get the stairs to the basement taken care of, but it probably won’t happen this summer. We would also like to replace all the doors in the attic with vintage doors that look more period appropriate.”
What they love about bungalow living
“We really love that we live in a style of home that is truly unique to Chicago. We love the character in all the original features that are remaining and we like the challenge of trying to bring back features that would have been in the house originally.”
Projects they’ve taken on in the last four years
Art glass window restoration: Mike spent last summer refinishing the art glass windows along the front of the bungalow, which span to rooms: the living room and nursery. The window restoration project involved stripping the white painted trim, refinishing the wood, and replacing the hardware to make the windows functional again, among other things. The finished project won them a Driehaus Award in 2017 from the Chicago Bungalow Association in the category of Window Restoration.
Fireplace refinishing: The couple refinished the fireplace in the living room as well, which involved pulling 12×12 tiles off of the original tile surround and stripping paint from the wood built-ins and mantle. While they were excited to see the original tiles underneath the tiles they removed, it was clear there was no way to salvage them. Instead, the couple chose to replace them with beautiful handcrafted tiles that really compliment the period and original bungalow details of the home. According to pictures, the original fireplace had relief tiles that were removed prior to the installation of the 12×12 tiles. Katrina took some of the original tiles to a shop in Oak Park and was told they were likely Batchelder tiles.
Before restoration. Photo courtesy of Mike and Katrina Morrissey.
The original fireplace tiles. Photo courtesy of Mike and Katrina Morrissey.
The original tiles uncovered. Photo courtesy of Mike and Katrina Morrissey.
The original fireplace tiles and relief tiles. Photo courtesy of Mike and Katrina Morrissey.
The main floor: Most of the windows have been replaced with Pella windows, in a style closer to what the originals would have been. The three bedrooms and main floor bathroom were in good shape, save for some interesting paint and design choices. The back bedroom, which the family uses as a media room, was floor-to-ceiling pink, when they moved in, with large mirrors mounted on the back wall. With paint, styling, and TLC, Katrina has updated the rooms and created a beautiful living space. At one point, the doors in the back of the house were all painted black by a previous owner, and some of the ceilings were also painted black. Eventually, Katrina would like to refinish the doors to their original wood.
Tour the main floor here
The Sun Porch: This was the first DIY project the couple took on in their bungalow, after receiving an insanely high bid to have the work done. They tore out a walk-thru closet, which separated one side of the porch from the other, removed the drop-down ceiling, refinished the floors, and installed a new bead board ceiling and walls. Three of the original windows were in pretty bad shape, so Mike refinished those as a practice run for restoring the art glass windows in the front of the house. The window project taught him a few valuable lessons: the importance of investing in good quality hardware and how to properly tension the window chords during re-installation. They also stripped the paint from the original door knob on the back door.
New beadboard walls and ceiling
Demo of the old porch. Photo courtesy of Mike and Katrina Morrissey.
Lighting: When they purchased their bungalow it was full of track lighting (in nearly every room)! In the last four years, they’ve worked to replace and even repurpose some of the existing lighting while also adding in new fixtures that compliment the style of the home: most notable of which is the eye-catching new fixture in the dining room that the couple gifted each other for Christmas.
The pantry: While the kitchen was updated by a previous owner, the pantry still has its original 1926 cabinetry and hardware. Using the crockpot method, the couple restored the hardware by removing layers of paint. They also spruced up the built-ins and replaced the countertops with butcher block that Mike made himself.
Stipping the hardware. Photo courtesy of Mike and Katrina Morrissey.
The hardward before stripping. Photo courtesy of Mike and Katrina Morrissey.
The pantry before restoration. Photo courtesy of Mike and Katrina Morrissey.
The restored hardware.
Upstairs renovation: Mike refinished the stairs leading to the second floor and installed new stair treads. They removed the drop-down ceiling upstairs and replaced it with drywall after insulating the space. They also replaced windows that were not original to the home. Two of the three upstairs bedrooms have been finished and the couple laid Pergo flooring throughout the space. The last bedroom to be finished is the only one that was originally finished out with hardwood floors. It still needs its drop-down ceiling removed and replaced with drywall. The upstairs bathroom is also on the list for an update: they’ve already replaced the sink but Katrina would also love to replace the stand-up shower with a bathtub. The dormers are original to the home and help create spacious bedrooms while allowing some extra space for the playroom.
The stairs to the second floor (before). Photo courtesy of Mike and Katrina Morrissey.
The stairs to the second floor (after)
Tour the upstairs here
Outside projects: Katrina has worked hard to replace a lot of the shrubbery in the front of the house with a mixture of plants instead. The backyard is mostly paved, but the couple is hoping to eventually add some ground covering to soften up the hardscaping in some areas. They built their own composting bins and have converted their parkway to a vegetable garden, which has been fun for the whole neighborhood.
The backyard today
The basement: Currently, the basement is where Katrina has her craft room and Mike does his woodworking. The basement laundry room is also where previous owners installed a summer kitchen (a popular feature in basements in their neighborhood). At some point, a previous owner also installed a large vintage bar, which is rumored to have been pulled out of a bar on the South Side of Chicago.
Tour the basement here
History of the home
The story goes, a developer built a number of bungalows on the street, but he saved an oversized lot for himself and built this bungalow for his family. Barbara Reed’s family (Reed is her married name) sold it to the Otto’s who sold the home to the Aloisio’s. The only structural change to the home was the removal of the original front basement window by a previous owner who had the brick reshaped to accommodate the installation of glass block.
The original kitchen tile can still be found behind the baseboard heaters
Barbara getting ready for prom in the original main floor bathroom
Barbara’s prom date standing in front of the original fireplace
The original kitchen was white subway tile with green accent tile, until it was covered up sometime in the 50’s or 60’s
Interesting original features include the mail slot by the front door, the original bedroom in the attic, the basement ceiling which is finished with plaster, and the laundry shoot that goes from the second floor all the way to the basement.
I’d like to thank Mike and Katrina and their family for the information they provided on the history of the home (included original photos!) as well as the before and in-progress photos of their finished projects. Thank you again for opening your home to me and being my first Chicago Bungalow Tour! -Tracie
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