The Chicago-Style Bungalow

According to the Historic Chicago Bungalow Association, the Chicago bungalow refers to a single-family home that features the following:

  • Built between 1910 – 1940
  • One and one-half stories
  • Face brick with stone trim
  • Low-pitched roof with overhang
  • Rectangular shape: narrow at the front and rear ends, longer on the sides
  • Generous windows (some sources say exactly 20 windows on the first floor)
  • Full basement
  • Offset front entrance, or side entrance

Per the HCBA, any house that meets ALL of these requirements may be considered a Historic Chicago Bungalow. And with more than 80,000 bungalows in the area, the housing style apparently “represents nearly one-third of the city’s single-family housing stock.”

Our bungalow as listed on the realtor's site.

Our bungalow as listed on the realtor’s site, March 2013.

Our bungalow contains all these features, but it doesn’t look like most of the ones in Chicago’s historic districts (gallery above). For example, our primary entrance is in the center of the house (not on the front left or right side). Furthermore, it includes a side porch—at right, currently enclosed with windows/shutters—that is only accessible from inside the home. Were it reopened, it would be more an open-air extension of the living room than a true porch. We think this is because our bungalow sits on a corner lot (and perhaps because its location is a bit more removed from the city proper?).

The author of Bungalow Basics: Porches writes that some bungalows designed for corner lots, like ours, feature both a front and side porch (15). We’ve also seen references to “portico bungalows,” called such because of the pediment (dormer, hood, pergola, small portico) above the centered entrance; these bungalows also frequently include a side porch or a sleeping porch (Gottfried 201-02).

Once we start busting out those enclosed side-porch walls and removing the windows/shutters (eek!), perhaps we’ll know more.



Duchscherer and Douglas Keister. Bungalow Basics: Porches. San Francisco, Pomegranite, 2004.

Gottfried, Jan Jennings. American Vernacular Buildings and Interiors, 1870-1960. WW Norton & Co, 1988.