A Charming Bungalow Renovation

A Charming Bungalow Renovation

Who: Zach from Green Door Development and Julie of Liska Architects
Where: Chicago, Illinois
What: a small attic build-out and addition renovation

Tell us about this project: The owners, Garry and Libby have lived in this 1924 Chicago Bungalow for the last 22 years. The 2nd floor of the house was an unfinished attic. They wanted to 'go up' and move their office, master bedroom and bath upstairs and leave the 1st floor bedrooms for guests and storage. They also needed to replace the roof and wanted to install solar panels, so they figured it made sense to do everything at once. With many additions, the 2nd floor looks like it was almost 'dropped' onto the house and occupies the entire footprint of the home. Not so in this case as we (the architects) set back the addition to comply with Chicago Bungalow Association guidelines and it looks great.

They're passionate about reducing their carbon footprint and living as 'locally' as possible. This includes bicycling to work, growing (and preserving) much of their own fruits and vegetables, using reclaimed wood found in the city to fuel their cast-iron stove (which they use to heat the home almost exclusively - in fact they use the HVAC system only 25% of the time and they don't even have AC).

We really didn't touch the 1st floor at all (except sunporch and pantry), so there was no real danger of compromising any of the historic aspects of the home. We ended up opening up the walls on the sunporch, furring them out another 2 inches and spraying foam insulation - just to make sure everything in the home was nicely insulated. The rest of the home is your typical Chicago arts & crafts style bungalow: 2 bedrooms, a bathroom, kitchen and pantry, and an open dining room and living room. The rooms aren't huge, but they don't need to be. The house feels cozy and offers (almost) enough space for this couple. The original trim is all intact as are the stained glass windows in the living room. There was an existing HVAC unit in the basement, but it was a disaster; ductwork was going every which way and nothing was sealed. It was an out-of-control metal octopus.

The finished project also provided them with a nice rooftop deck outside the master bedroom and two walk-in closets. The master bath is now a real oasis for the owners and features a nice soaking tub (see pictures) surrounded by some fantastic tile work.

Other green features BioFoam spray foam insulation; remote-operated whole house fan; solar thermal panels; fixed louvers on south side of house above windows to provide shading in summer; wood dual pane, argon filled, low-E Marvin Windows; reclaimed oak flooring throughout; custom stained glass window transoms; LED lights throughout; and a re-routed existing high-efficiency HVAC system to work in conjunction with wood-burning cast iron stove (fireplace is fueled with reclaimed wood found throughout the city).

Thanks, Zach!

• Related: Green Tour: A Future Forward Four-Square

(Images: Green Door Development)

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