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Bungalow Tours Chicago Bungalow Association

A magical Portage Park bungalow with historic details and a surprise

I’ve got to be honest… I’ve walked by this bungalow for over a year and always wondered what it looked like inside.

When I realized that Karin contacted me and this was her home, I annoyed my husband for days about how excited I was to take a peek inside. I knew this bungalow was going to be special… the windows, the yard, everything about this home spoke to me.

And then I stepped inside…

my-chicago-bungalow_b-exterior_edited-(10-of-33)
Click on any image to begin a fullscreen slide show.

Meet the family: Karin and Jaime, and their son Sebastian.

Own or rent: Own
Years owned: 15
Year built: 1923
Neighborhood: Portage Park
Approximate square footage: 3500

I grew up in the neighborhood in a bungalow so to me they are HOME. I love the layout, the many windows and the majestic feel of it.

Karin and Jaime have worked hard to preserve many original details of the home, while also expanding it to suit the needs of a 21st Century family. They renovated the kitchen and opened up the ceiling to allow an abundance of natural light into the home, and they also expanded and renovated the attic to give the feel of a full second story, without compromising the architectural integrity of their classic Chicago bungalow. Many of the details in the renovated areas of the house were chosen with care, to reflect the natural materials found throughout original bungalows in Chicago.

From Karin and Jaime…

Favorite feature of your bungalow:
I would say the original unpainted woodwork throughout and perhaps the original leaded stained glass windows and brick buttresses in the front facade.
Projects that you’ve taken on:

Repaired the leaded glass windows, renovated the kitchen, updated new electrical for most of the main level and basement, subtly raised the height of the roof, added two additional bedrooms and a bathroom, and added a new dormer that matches the original street-side dormer.

Main level: 

Before we moved in we took out the carpet and refinished the floors and a few years later we gutted and redesigned the kitchen.
Jaime is an architect and was trying to keep a balance of respecting the Bungalow’s defining characteristics, while adding some modern and contemporary elements found in today’s lifestyles.
We opened up the kitchen ceiling making the space feel more open and bright by allowing natural light to enter the room via two sky lights.
The kitchen was done with a more contemporary feel and layout, while at the same time keeping some elements reminiscent of the traditional Chicago Bungalow.
Behind the scenes updates included new electrical for most of the first floor and basement.
Second level: 
We lifted the roof in a way that it wasn’t a box addition, added a master bathroom, two bedrooms and a living space that opened to the kitchen below. The street side brick dormer remains original with a brick facade, and the new west side exterior dormer addition has been detailed to match the original architecture of the home and other dormer. When we decided we were ready to remodel the attic it was very important for us to respect the aesthetic of the Chicago bungalow and try to maintain the guidelines of the historical bungalow certification.
Jaime designed the second floor with a modern open space while bringing up some of the original bungalow characteristics of the home to accent the space. A restored vintage claw foot tub accents the contemporary Master Bathroom. The ceilings are a direct reflection of the complex lines of the exterior roof, rather than flat ceilings, making the upstairs an interesting and unique space.
When we decided we were ready to remodel the attic it was very important for us to respect the aesthetic of the Chicago bungalow and try to maintain the guidelines of the historical bungalow certification. Jaime designed the second floor with a modern open space while bringing up some of the original bungalow characteristics of the home to accent the space. A restored vintage claw foot tub accents the contemporary Master Bathroom. The ceilings are a direct reflection of the complex lines of the exterior roof, rather than flat ceilings, making the upstairs an interesting and unique space.

Second floor bedroom

Bathroom

Second floor bedroom

Yard:
One of the reasons we wanted a house with a yard was that we missed being able to get our hands in the dirt more often. We began landscaping as soon as we bought the house in 2003. We removed the stone hard lawn on the street side, amending the soil and planting various plants, shrubs and bushes with suggestions from Jaime’s mother Esmee, a landscape Architect.
We slowly worked our way around the house planting more as we went and followed our pet Boxer’s path that she created by meandering through already planting areas. We planted a Dawn Redwood and a couple of Japanese Maples our first year of working on the yard. Our vegetable garden has had many locations and finally has a dedicated space now that the garden has been completed.
The vegetable garden sits just inside a wall of Sun Chokes that create a natural privacy fence in the rear yard, which is where we have a small above ground pool in which to keep cool in the summer heat, as our house still has original windows and no AC.

Sun Porch

Favorite project to date:  
The upstairs bathroom, Sebastian’s room, and the kitchen and garden.
Future project plans: 
Remodel the first floor bathroom and finish the details on the second floor [railings, etc.]. Encase the upstairs shower with glass.
Remove the vinyl siding on the back porch and replace with cedar to match the dormers. Remove the glass block in the front basement facade and restore with a bowed 3 partition window reminiscent of the original bungalows.
We would love to replace the chain link fence with a wrought iron fence and someday Sebastian would like a small Koi pond.
What do you love about living in a bungalow: 
I grew up in the neighborhood in a bungalow so to me they are HOME. I love the layout, the many windows and the majestic feel of it. My father in law used to tell us it looked like Noah’s Ark.
Brief history of your home: 
In 2003 the market was really tough and after losing multiple homes to other bidders a family friend suddenly needed to sell this home after her husband passed away. I had always loved the home when I was younger so it was an amazing blessing that things fell into place as they did, and she wanted to sell to someone who would love the home as much as she did.

A big thank you to Karin and Jaime for letting me tour their home and share it on the blog!

One reply on “A magical Portage Park bungalow with historic details and a surprise”

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