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Chicago Bungalow of the Week

filed under: Bungalows, Jefferson Park posted on January 21st, 2010

In keeping with my theme of Promoting Bungalow Awareness, this week I thought I’d point out a highly-upgraded Chicago bungalow that proves you don’t have to sacrifice space for style.

That’s the thing about bungalows: they’re small. Built in the early decades of the 20th century, many Chicago bungalows offer cozy, one-story layouts with three modest bedrooms and a bathroom. For many of today’s homeowners, this just isn’t enough elbow room (let alone bathroom space), and as a consequence Chicago is full of bungalows that have been chopped-up, added-on, blown-out, remodeled and often just plain remuddled in an effort to create more living space. Too bad so much of this renovation also includes ripping out built-in hutches and bookcases, original stained-glass windows, wood trim and beadboard, and generally stripping these lovely homes of their distinctive bungalow character.

A remodeled, but not remuddled, bungalow. Joy!

ROOM TO GROW: This Chicago bungalow, located in Jefferson Park, has been expanded to include 4 bedrooms, 3 bathrooms, and a finished basement. But the remodel left intact its distinctive bungalow features -- including its curb appeal.

Now, check out this Chicago Bungalow of the Week: 4540 N Mason Ave. in Jefferson Park. It’s a bit pricey, as bungalows go: $509,900, just reduced from $525,000 after three months on the market. But it has been rehabbed with amenities like central air, a zoned heating system, a fireplace, and a finished basement with a rec room and a 5th bedroom and bath for guests.

What I like about this octagon bungalow (which is registered as a historic bungalow with the city of Chicago) is that it still looks and feels like a bungalow even after all the upgrades. The additions to the home were made at the rear, preserving the home’s charming curb appeal from the street. The living room still boasts its beautiful wall of eight windows and there are hardwood floors throughout.

But unlike so many of its neighbors, this bungalow has plenty of room for its occupants to spread out. In addition to a living room, dining room and kitchen, the main floor also features a 23×12 family room and a bedroom. There are three more bedrooms upstairs.

This is a real bonus, because many Chicago bungalows don’t have full second floors. Upstairs is usually an attic or a converted, cramped space where the roof slopes at such a steep angle that most adults are forced to stoop. But at 4540 N Mason, the rear addition takes care of that.

Where did they get all that space? The secret is revealed in the bungalow backyard.

BEHIND THE BUNGALOW: Instead of plunking a second-floor addition atop the entire house, the owners built out the bungalow's rear end, thereby preserving its beauty. Jack Guest of Century 21 McMullen has the listing.

In this market, I still think the price could come down a bit more. Ordinary, unimproved 3-bedroom bungalows are selling in the $225,000 to $300,000 range in Jefferson Park, so I certainly think this deluxe model could fetch upwards of $450,000. But since it may be out of the reach of first-time buyers, the price may have to drop below the half-million mark first.

Written by Sue Fox //

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