Behold, The Porch! (Demolition Day 2)

If the upstairs addition—dormers, master bath, master closet, laundry, removal of chimney—is the most nerve-wracking part of Bungalow Reboot, then the reopening of the side porch is perhaps the most exciting.

As explained in “Bungalow Porches,” since the porch is arguably the most defining feature of the bungalow, we wanted to restore it as such. To do this, we (read: the demo crew) would need to remove its walls, windows, shutters, paneling, ceiling, and flooring. And that’s assuming/hoping that underneath all that material was an original porch, in relatively good shape, with white stucco and burgundy brick to match the rest of the house. (There is.)

Originally, American bungalow porches—with their prominent masonry elements, post piers, low “railing” walls, and tall, square columns—functioned as transitional spaces between the inside and outside, some owners even referring to their fully furnished areas as “outdoor living rooms.” While we won’t be using our porch quite like that (certainly not in the Chicago winter!), we did want to reinstate it to its former glory… or something semi-romantic like that.

Still, here’s the thing to keep in mind about our porch as you begin perusing our before-after pictures below: it’s unique to this architectural style. Unlike most bungalow porches (and porches in general, for that matter), ours doesn’t have an exterior entryway with stairs/railing leading to a sidewalk. In fact, the only way one can get to our porch is through the living room.

Don’t discount it as a bungalow though as there’s apparently a reason for this… From our research, bungalows that sit on corner lots—like ours—were occasionally built with side rather than front porches. This is because the primary entry to the house would have been on the side rather than in the front like this bungalow in downtown Chicago.

After much sifting through books for a house like ours, we found the three images above. The first is a large shingled bungalow with a side porch and a portico entryway (like ours). The second is a smaller Chicago-style bungalow with a side porch directly off the living room (like ours). Both porches are apparently accessible only from the inside of the home. The third image, from the cover of Bungalow Magazine (1915), features a small front porch and a larger side porch, the latter “a bonus feature for corner lots,” the caption below the image explains. As you can see, however, this porch is also accessible from the exterior (unlike ours).

With that in mind, if there is one thing we’ve learned via all this “porch research” it’s that despite their obvious similarities (e.g., copious windows, generous porches, large fireplaces), bungalows, or the Arts and Crafts homes or Craftsman homes certainly vary in size and configuration. We’re just glad we finally came across a few like ours…