Old House Journal - - Contents -

A shape-shift­ing bun­ga­low.

Here are two Arts & Crafts Bun­ga­lows, neigh­bors in a small city in south­ern Wis­con­sin. Both were built in 1918. With its orig­i­nal rooflines, front-fac­ing dormer, and brick porch, one house (at right) re­mains es­sen­tially as built, save for a panel of pri­vacy lat­tice that’s eas­ily re­moved.

The other has been ex­panded with a rear-side ad­di­tion. It’s highly vis­i­ble, as the house sits on a cor­ner lot. “I call it French Third Em­pire,” says our cor­re­spon­dent, mak­ing tongue-in-cheek ref­er­ence to the mansard-ish (aka Sec­ond Em­pire) roof.

Some would ar­gue it’s not as bad as the pop-tops seen on Chicago Bun­ga­lows, which look as though alien houses have landed on top of the old ones. Here, the façade is pre­served. But why choose a roof that oblit­er­ates the orig­i­nal lines of the house, and seems more suited to a late-20th-cen­tury med­i­cal of­fice or fast-food fran­chise?

A back ex­ten­sion, a bump-out that fol­lows the orig­i­nal roofline, or a wide dormer at the rear may have been good al­ter­na­tives for adding space.

His­tory in front, mis­guided reno in the rear. — Paula An­tonevich Myers


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