For the first time ever this past November, we invited our Driehaus Award winners out to dinner to celebrate their accomplishments and give them the chance to get to know fellow homeowner heroes.
Around the dinner table, we had winners from Belmont Cragin, Dunning, Greater Grand Crossing, Norwood Park, Portage Park, South Chicago, and West Ridge. Having a diverse group of engaged members all gathered in one place presented an opportunity to learn more about our members' needs. So, after a delicious dinner at Tufano's in Little Italy, we asked them to fill out a short questionnaire about their experiences living in Chicago bungalows and bungalow neighborhoods.
They had some great things to say about bungalow living, but shared their challenges too. You might relate:
“We like living in a place that feels like it has a history and a unique character. We love all the little quirks and artisanship. We’re new homeowners, so we find new challenges constantly. The biggest challenge is knowing that I don’t even know all the things I need to worry about!"
“The superior building materials from the Arts & Crafts period and solidly built brick construction means the house will be around for years. The con is that not all prior owners, of any given house, necessarily maintained it properly.”
“I like living in a neighborhood with nothing but other classic bungalows around. It has a classic Chicago feel and character. My bungalow’s challenges are water issues, the cost to expand, and electrical confusion."
“There is an abundance of space for a growing family. The homes are built upon a solid foundation and can be modified to accommodate a wide variety of family needs. Some of the challenges of my bungalow are increased heating/cooling needs, masonry that is more susceptible to decay, and a lack of adequate headroom upstairs.”
“I love the lines of the building, the woodwork and hardware, the space, windows, and built-in features. The house has incredible potential and it’s a fun challenge bringing it back to life. The biggest challenge is finding the time, financial resources, and contractors who are competent and trustworthy.”
"I love the materials and original character of the era of our bungalow. The list of things to improve or maintain in our house is long, but well worth it. Our budget limits our timeline of completing, but we have more time than money."
Greater Grand Crossing
Do these quotes hit close to home? To no surprise, bungalow owners, no matter what neighborhood they live in, share a great love for the vintage charm of their homes and share the same maintenance challenges as well. We love that our members are fond of exciting fixer-upper projects and have a soft spot for historic character. Bungalow owners want to preserve their homes and this makes them so valuable to our city!
When the award winners were asked what they like about their neighborhoods, it was nice to hear that bungalow blocks all around Chicago tend to share a quiet, neighborly feel. But the answers varied when asked about neighborhood challenges.
Here are some feelings about different Bungalow Belt neighborhoods that were shared:
“I love that everything in our neighborhood is convenient and within close proximity (stores, transportation, parks, and the lake). The challenges of our neighborhood are abandoned properties, underserved people, and crime being prevalent.”
“Belmont Cragin is quiet, peaceful and lovely, but also isolated from reliable public transportation and there’s a lack of stores and restaurants within walking distance.”
“I love being surrounded by neighbors who have lived there for 20+ years, they’re very neighborly and there’s a lot of bungalow pride. I’m glad there is no change of development or new buildings around my block. I don’t like the idea that it will soon be overwhelmed by old neighbors moving out and an influx of money and people over-building, putting up pop-tops, or demolishing bungalows to build ‘McMansions.’”
“I enjoy the family atmosphere, the closeness to such a big park, and the relationships we have forged with our neighbors. Having moved from a neighborhood with a plethora of cafes, shops, and restaurants, I have missed having such places at a walking distance. While Portage Park has been flourishing in terms of small businesses, I feel it still has a way to go in terms of creating a vibrant shopping district. The only other downside is that it makes for a long commute to our job and family members’ homes.”
“West Ridge is quiet, has lots of old buildings and bungalows, and feels old-timey and exclusive but not pretentious. But it’s not near any major highways or public transportation.”
"I love our location on our block and in proximity to the highway. But we are in a high crime area, so that takes away slightly from the charm of the area."
Greater Grand Crossing
Now we want to hear about your bungalow living!
To help us better serve you in 2019, please take a few minutes to fill out the same short questionnaire we passed out at the dinner table: