Established in 2003, West Ridge Bungalow Neighbors is a voluntary group of neighbors in Chicago who desire to assist each other in preserving and appreciating the homes in our neighborhood; educating each other and the broader public in the value and the story of our neighborhood; and providing resources to each other to improve the quality of our homes, enrich our lives and assure our neighborhood's future.

Monday, May 28, 2007

Gallup, New Mexico

Last week I spent 4 days in Gallup, NM and the surrounding area. I wasn't exepecting bungalows in this little town, but there they were. This was a business trip focused on buying Native American jewelry and visiting with an Antelope Chief in Hopi Land ( I love my job!). Next time I'll check out more of this part of Gallup as well as a bungalow neighborhood I spotted on the way to the airport in Albuquerque.

Monday, May 21, 2007

June 3rd Protest Rally to Save Lake Shore Athletic Club!

Only in Chicago do we strut our architectural prowess in front of the 2016 Olympic Committee...then allow the wrecking ball to deliver a sucker punch to an Orange-rated architectural heavyweight - and one that's an Olympic legacy, at that!*

A demolition permit has been applied for. Time to send a message to the Powers That Be: The Lake Shore Athletic Club must be landmarked, not only to save the building...but to show the world we're a city that reveres its formidable historic architecture. Not pummels it into oblivion.

Date: Sunday, June 3, 2007
Time: 1:00 pm
Where: 850 North Lake Shore Drive at Chestnut Street
(in front of the Lake Shore Athletic Club)
Dress in your favorite athletic gear:
running shorts, sweats, swimsuit, tennis outfit, whatever - or come as you are. Your fighting spirit is what counts!

* Find out more about the Lake Shore Athletic Club at

Can't make it to the rally?
Voice your concern to Alderman Brendan Reilly (42nd Ward)
Please contact him at
312-277-1009 fax

Jonathan Fine,
Preservation Chicago

Sunday, May 20, 2007

Friday, May 18, 2007

Neighbors in the news

Click here to read the Sun-Times article about Beth and Ken Martin and their place on Coyle along with several other Chicago Bungalow owners:,CST-NWS-bungalownew18.article

Sunday, May 13, 2007

Shingles & Skylights & Boilers & Bricks - Oh My!

I was going through some older email and thought I'd share this with you - the story of a remodel that took place last spring, written by a WRBN member. Enjoy...

I am sending this update to all of you because you have all influenced where we are in our Bungalow Extravaganza ... and we sincerely thank you for your involvement. Please feel free to weigh in on any of the following.

SHINGLES I think we have a roofer! Tim Costello of Albany Improvements - a HCBA resource. He comes highly recommended and I was very impressed with his estimate process. Marty Ostrowski of Connoisseur was also very impressive and highly recommended but more expensive than we can afford given the scope of our Extravaganza. Lindholm Roofing, very nice and informative, was an in-between bid. Allendorfer did not return my call for over 10 days. Jack Taff Roofing called back and said they'd look at the roof sometime last week. Never heard from them again. We will evaluate whether to go with the original wood soffits (as opposed to aluminum) after the tear-off.

SKYLIGHTS Our plan right now is to put in 3 (15 1/4 x 46 1/4) Velux skylights. These will fit within our 18" rafters without need to alter the rafters. However this size only comes in the fixed form - meaning they can't be opened. I thought this might be a mistake until I looked again at the brochure. The photos of opened windows looked like open doorways for squirrels and birds to me. I think we'll put in a couple of ceiling fans (along with the power vent) instead. One skylight will go in the front room and two skylights will be close together (18 inches apart ?) in the darkest part of the back room.

BOILERS Cahill never showed up for our appointment. When I called, my contact sounded a little out-of-it. I decided not to reschedule. Horst of William Stoker came out last week and we spent over an hour exploring the possibilities. He's very nice and this was very informtive. Al from A&M called and left a message. I returned his call that night and left a message with his answering service. I never heard from him again. An estimate arrived from Stoker yesterday, but after having just met with Crafton, I could not bring myself to open it until this morning. We will need to get a couple more bids. I have not yet contacted A1 Peerless - recommended by a neighbor. Another possibility is Chicago Unique Indoor Comfort - listed in the HCBA resource guide. Also listed HVAC & Geotech Systems. This looks like an electric system that I know nothing about.

BRICKS Spent over an hour with Jack Tomcyzk of Crafton yesterday evaluating our masonry. LOTS need to be done here. The front (wall-banister - what is the name of this part of the house ?) needs to be rebuilt with many bricks to be replaced. We need to work with original facing brick in order to maintain the beauty of our bungalow ... according to Jack - and we agree. That means using brick from the chimney (if the bricks can be properly cleaned) and possibly even the garage! :- [ Lot's of other work needs to be in other areas, too. But for now, the chimney is step number one - before roofing work can be done. Jack is supposed to call with numbers on the chimney and present a written proposal for the rest of the work. Will we get competitive bids ? What are our other options ?

Oh, My! I woke up today at 3:45 AM and was not very successful at getting back to sleep - HIGH ANXIETY ! At times I feel fairly excited about how great things will be when work is finished - and at other times I feel so overwhelmed ... how will we ever manage to get these things finished AND pay for them ?!?

More, Oh, My! The squirrels seemed to be having a family reunion in our home for Mother's day and the little piles of 'dirt' along the wall in the basement are not related to bricks ... Jack suspects insects !!! - enough of urban wildlife. Okay, that's it. I still haven't begun our income taxes and we really do need the refund.

Friday, May 11, 2007

Third Annual Richard H. Driehaus Foundation Awards - June 8th deadline

Each year, the Historic Chicago Bungalow Association and the Richard H. Driehaus Foundation honor homeowners whose work demonstrates the best bungalow landscaping, rehabilitation and restoration projects.

It is a juried competition with the panel of judges composed of neighborhood development community members, architects, horticulturalists and representatives of the local media. Nominees are judged on the overall visual impression, the creative design solution, and how well the project maintains the integrity of the Historic Chicago Bungalow.

Each year we've had winners from West Ridge (does that garden photo look familiar?)
Nominate your Chicago Bungalow today - Deadline is Friday, June 8. If selected, site visits will be scheduled on Friday, June 29 and Saturday, June 30 2007. Go to for an application. Good luck!

Wednesday, May 9, 2007

Talman bungalow for sale by owner

6735 N Talman
Chicago, IL 60645
Asking price $420,000

3 bedroom, 1.5 bathroom
· 42 inch maple cabinets with kitchen island
· Black granite counter tops and backsplash
Recessed lighting in kitchen and living room
Large living room with lots of windows
Separate dining room with french doors
Beautifully redone hardwood floors
Crown molding
Expandable attic and full basement
Great storage on main floor

Household Improvements within the Last Year

Glass block windows installed
Replaced toilet

Light fixtures
Replaced light fixtures in entry vestibule and entry hall

Granite countertops and backsplash
Undermount stainless steel sink
Stainless steel faucet
Kitchen island with granite top
Garbage disposal installed
Replaced all cabinet hardware

Living room
Wired for cable television

Replaced shower faucet and showerhead
Replace sink faucet

Installed electric garage door opener

Added perennials to backyard
Removed dead bushes and replaced landscaping in front yard

Saturday, May 5, 2007

Taming the Teardown Trend in Edgewater

The National Trust has a series of great publications. This one, titled Taming the Teardown Trend seems particularly relevant to me this week.

On Tuesday I had a phone call from a local reporter who had been contacted by a woman who lives in Edgewater. She explained that there was a bungalow teardown pending on Olive Street and a woman was seeking support to stop it. She wanted to know if I could talk to her.

I called this woman, Mary Ann, and had a long conversation about what's going on. The story was all too familiar. A developer has purchased a 1914 frame bungalow in a block of homes all built in the same style and designed by architect Nels Buck and has plans to tear it down. In its place will be a new hulking structure that will literally cast shadows on the remaining homes. The neighbors are not happy.
There are 2 heroes in this saga - the first is Mary Ann. She's doing the hard work of rallying and educating her neighbors (and herself) in a very short time period to fight the teardown. She's smart, calm and determined. She's done her homework, learned about zoning, and has built a good support group.

Which leads me to our second hero - 40th Ward Alderman Patrick O'Connor. O'Connor brought the Olive Street neighbors together with the developer and asked the developer to consider rehabbing the home rather than tearing it down. He said if that wasn't possible, the architect needed to come back with a scaled-down version of the new structure.

I'll keep you posted on how this unfolds. In the meantime, swing by the 1700 block of Olive Street to check out these little frame bungalows. Also, consider contacting Alderman O'Connor to thank him for working with his constituents to preserve the character of this Chicago neighborhood. It doesn't happen often enough.

Our Indian Roots

A bungalow (Gujarati: બંગલો baṅglo, Hindi: बंगला baṅglā) is a type of single-story house. The word derives from the Gujarati word baṅglo, which in turn came from Hindi baṅglā. It means "Bengali", used elliptically for a "house in the Bengal style".[1] Such houses were traditionally small, only one story, thatched and had a wide veranda.[2] Bungalows today are a type of house that is usually single story or one and a half stories, and can be quite large.
In India, the term bungalow refers to any single-family unit (i.e., a house), as opposed to an apartment building, which is the norm for Indian middle-class city living. The Indian usage is different from the North American usage insofar as a bungalow can be a quite large, multi-storied building which houses a single extended family. In India, owning a bungalow is a highly significant status symbol.
From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

View photos of vintage bungalows in India here:

Tuesday, May 1, 2007

Wilmette Historical Society House Tour, Sunday May 20

Spring House Walk: "Turning the Century"
Sunday, May 20, 2007, 1:00 p.m. to 5:00 p.m.

Click on thumbnails above to view full-size images

Four distinctive Wilmette homes will be showcased this year as part of the Wilmette Historical Society's 2007 Spring Housewalk. These gracious homes are either nearing or have surpassed the 100-year old mark and each has a unique and rich history that will be the focal point of this year’s Housewalk.

“Two of the four homes featured in the Housewalk this year highlight the architectural style and history of the American Foursquare,” notes Wilmette architect and housewalk committee member Healy Rice. “Wilmette has some wonderful examples of this very American style.” Our third Housewalk home is unique in that it was built in the Italianate style in 1873 and then completely remodeled in 1923 to resemble a Foursquare, with the removal of a small round central window at the top of the house as well as any exterior ornamental brackets and cornices. Updating an older home was also the challenge for the owners of the Craftsman Bungalow, the fourth home to be featured in the Housewalk. In 2006, the Wilmette Historic Preservation Commission awarded the owners the “White Knight Award” in recognition of their rescue and restoration of this historic structure.

Advance tickets are $40/members; $45/non-members and $25/students. On the day of the Housewalk, tickets can be purchased at the Wilmette Historical Museum, 609 Ridge Road, for $45/members $50/non-members and $25 students. Phone the Museum for tickets or information at 847-853-7666.