Monday, February 18, 2008

A bungalow scalped...

My daily commute takes me from the Northwest Side into the northern suburbs, and from where I am, I'm too far away from expressways to make them worthwhile. Though the traffic does keep me away too. So I take surface streets.

In the past, I've noticed a really cool five-home set of Chicago-style bungalows on the corner of Nagle and Palatine. There's nothing particularly special about them -- if you know anything about Chicago-style bungalows, they're very pretty, and this sort of "repetition" and "similarity" happens a lot, particularly in the city's Bungalow Belt.

Anyway, if you go to Google Maps and use the Street View function, you can see them. Well, today, I noticed, surprised, on the way home, that the corner house had the entire second floor (attic space) completely removed. It was basically the house was scalped. Now, I've seen pictures of this type of thing happening before on architectural sites and whatnot. But, to see a bungalow that you actually thought was kinda pretty-looking (at least outside--who knows what's going on inside) get just scalped with your own eyes, it was a bit on the jarring side.

I'm hoping against hope that this home will retain its bungalow flavor, especially for the simple sake of the fact that the five homes pretty much went together. Just like Chicago-style bungalows, several of them were carbon-copies, with subtle variations (see the gable roofs on each, for example). Together, they completed a beautiful picture. Furthermore, this is the corner house -- the focal point when coming from the north.

I'm hoping that this person is an HCBA member and has a real love for the Chicago-style bungalow and an appreciation for what his/her home means to the others next door. But I just have this sinking feeling that it won't be that way and some monstrosity of a top floor or addition or whatever is going to spring up on top of this thing. And, yes, this homeowner is obviously free to do whatever he/she wants, and who am I to judge, right?

But anytime I see a siding-clad, pathetic attempt at a second-floor addition or dormer, it saddens me ever so slightly. I really should have been an architect or an architectural historian or something along those lines. I'm sure most of you, who read this blog and have blogs along these lines would agree. I'm going to try to take pictures of this place some time, but given it's high-traffic, low parking-space location, I can't promise anything. And I'll be sure to post those pics if I get them.

For now, pray that my assumptions are wrong and that this place will only improve with whatever addition they're building.

1 comment:

Jennifer said...

I hope with you... I fear not. :(

I've seen too many additions done without even a nod to existing architecture. Sad.