Post WWI in Chicago, this was the dream: move out from crowded downtown apartment buildings to far flung neighborhoods, into bungalows.
There are bungalow districts all over Chicago. I live near the West Ridge Bungalow District and these photos are from the blocks around Talman and Arthur streets.
(Pro tip #1: if you happen to be caught in a shelter-in-place order during a worldwide pandemic, try to live somewhere with interesting architecture within walking distance.)
(Pro tip #2: if you happen to be caught in a shelter-in-place order during a worldwide pandemic, bear in mind that if you have a lentil-sized bladder and plan to do lots of walking to see interesting architecture, that all public bathrooms will be closed.)
Here’s a typical Chicago bungalow: brick with limestone details, one-and-a-half stories with a basement, side entry and set off from street.
Topiary is a frequent landscaping choice for bungalow owners.
In the unlikely event that I were to be a bungalow owner, I would adorn my yard with meticulously carved bushes and lawn ornament flourishes, such as this pink flamingo wearing a COVID-19 prevention mask.
Few bungalows have garages, but occasionally you’ll see a built-in car park.
A typical bungalow has a finished basement and often a ground-level window to give it some natural light.
What stands out about the bungalows is the craftsmanship, which can be difficult to capture in pictures. For example, many of the windows are leaded glass.
Some decorative details.
This low-pitched room with an intersecting chimney is charming, no?
This one is scaled like a bungalow but designed like a more traditional house.
Okay, now these Tudor bungalows are just downright funky.
This is my favorite bungalow: petite and perfect with a buttressed spaceship-like sun room.
There’s a poem by William Wordsworth that I’ve long admired, which I’ve been thinking of recently as we’ve all been forced to stay home:
Nuns Fret Not at Their Convent’s Narrow Room
After a few weeks on quarantine, I call bullshit on this sonnet. Give me a narrow room, a pensive citadel: sure. Confine me there, away from all thing humanist, social and living: that’s horrendous.
When the original bungalow owners fled the crowded city center, they didn’t move into isolation—-they built these adorable, perfectly scaled homes and lived companionably side by side. Some privacy, lot’s of community: that’s the type of social distancing I can handle.
How we got to the West Ridge Bungalow Historic District: on foot.
Where we slept: at home. Price: mortgage, assessments and utilities. Recommended: highly.