Positive Bungalow Additions #StopThePop


There are ways to expand a bungalow with a second story addition that is compatible with the home’s design.

Below are some photos of more positive alternatives to “pop tops” that are equally spacious and are pleasing to the surrounding neighborhood.

Front view of a positive addition: Setting it back 20-or-so feet from the front of the house makes all the difference in maintaining your block’s streetscape. As Scott Sonoc explained in Chicago Architecture Foundation’s book Defining the Chicago Bungalow: “Most often, Chicago Bungalows are found side-by-side lining each side of the street, creating a neighborhood of similar yet distinct homes, where the entire view is as great as is the view of a single home. The similarity of homes helped neighbors build strong and unified communities.”

Side view: A sloped roof combined with sections of higher ceilings in the form of dormered windows is a more visually compatible way to add height.

Rear view: The addition extends all the way to the back of the bungalow rather than the front. The siding matches the siding on the original front dormer for consistency, and the color is compatible with the vintage home’s palette.

There’s even a way to go BIG that is respectful to your neighbors, their property values, and to the integrity of your historic home! This addition is set back to preserve the attractive façade but is still able to provide a full second story. The gently sloped roof with overhang and yellow stucco are consistent with the bungalow’s style.

Here’s another example of a grand second story addition set back to preserve the front and that keeps in character with the original bungalow features: hipped roof with overhang, dormered windows, and shingle siding.

Three bedrooms, two full bathrooms, and an office space (not to mention closets!) were built into this bungalow’s original roofline with no addition at all. As the Arts & Crafts era of the bungalows taught us, good design accounts for a practical use of every square inch. If you can get that much livable space with no addition, just image what a few side dormers or a sensible addition like the ones above could add!

Money-saving tip: Cutting into the knee walls is a smart way to create built-in storage while preventing unnecessary overhead space that is costly to heat.

Below are some beautiful examples that prove spacious upstairs bedrooms and bathrooms don’t require a large pop top addition.

Due to lack of education, Chicago’s iconic bungalow neighborhoods are being threatened by a destructive trend of developers tearing entire upstairs levels off of bungalows and replacing them with incompatible second stories. These pop tops destroy the architectural/aesthetic value of homes and streetscapes, as well as neighbors' property values. If you believe in promoting sensible additions as a more positive alternative to pop tops, please sign our petition to #StopThePop.

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