2500 W. Farwell Avenue
This house was in the 1999 Annual Fall House Tour.
Original Owner: Fred Winter
At first glance, this 1925 bungalow of Tom Brennan and Gale Dreas might seem like any other bungalow. A second look, however, reveals a number of differences from what we have come to expect from a typical "Chicago Bungalow." First, the placement of the garage in the basement, is an innovation that allows for maximum back yard usability. Second, the use of concrete as a decorative, as well as a structural element, gives the home an enhanced feeling of strength and fortitude.
Perhaps the reason for 2500 W. Farwell Avenue's distinctiveness is the fact that its first owner, Fred Winter, was also the Architect. Not much is known about Winter, but longtime residents of West Ridge probably know about at least one of his designs--2246 W. Greenleaf Avenue. That home, a massive bungalow, sometimes referred to as "the fortress," shares both of the distinctive characteristics noted above (although the garage at the Greenleaf house has been altered).
The Brennans have worked since 1986 to renovate their house. Paint stripping, sanding floors, expanding the kitchen,and creating new attic space have been their priorities. Evidence of this can be found in the living room where refinished natural woodwork and arched doors bring back a Mediterranean feel, although labeling this house any distinctive style would be difficult. In the dining room is another unusual characteristic--quartersawn oak woodwork. Use of this type of expensive wood was popular earlier in the 20th Century and before, but its use in a 1920s bungalow is unexpected.
Other highlights of the home include the kitchen, which has been expanded to include the back porch, with the owners using the original beadboard ceiling as part of the design. Upstairs in the attic you find one bath, a bedroom, and a multipurpose space, which is being used as a home office. On your way out, don't miss the deck and beautifully landscaped garden.