Bungalow Love: An Energy-Efficient Home in Chicago

These homeowners moved into an energy-efficient home in Chicago that was renovated as part of Chicago’s ongoing environmental efforts, this snug, energy-efficient arts and crafts style home is an inspiration.

| November/December 2003

These homeowners moved into an energy-efficient home in Chicago made in the arts and crafts style vintage design.

An Energy-Efficient Home in Chicago

Dennis Scott and Thom Day fell instantly, madly in love with their Chicago bungalow as soon as they crossed the threshold during a house tour. They admired the vintage trim, the wood floors, the Craftsman-style windows, and the price—an affordable $143,000. Even better, the 1920s house in Marquette Park, on Chicago’s South Side, was environmentally friendly and energy efficient.

Renovated through the City of Chicago’s Green Bungalow Initiative—part of Mayor Richard Daley’s strategy to make the Windy City more ecologically progressive—Thom and Dennis’s bungalow is on the same block as three other previously vacant bungalows that were restored in a way that conserves energy and materials. Defined as cottages with low-profile roofs and single attic dormers, bungalows account for about a third of Chicago’s single-family houses. Most of the city’s 80,000 bungalows were constructed between 1900 and 1940.

“Everyone who worked on the project tried to ensure that materials came from local suppliers to conserve resources,” says Nate Kipnis, one of the project architects. “It’s fine and dandy to use marble, but if it’s shipped from Italy, it kind of defeats the purpose of energy efficiency.”

Arts and Crafts Bungalow: Historic Character

For Dennis and Thom’s classic bungalow, all the interior trim was saved and reused. Kipnis and his colleague, architect Scott Sonoc, salvaged plumbing fixtures and refurbished vintage lighting and hardware. “We wanted to showcase the heritage of the house as it was originally built,” explains Sonoc.

“Historically, the idea behind the bungalow was to bring nature inside. Many people who bought these homes were former apartment dwellers who enjoyed their new location on the outskirts of town at the end of the trolley car line.” With this in mind, the architects restored the lengthy window box in the front bay window and filled it with flowers. The homeowners decided against curtains because they like the sun shining into the living room. “It’s a nice bright room—very cheery,” says Thom.

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