What Local Historic District DOES NOT do: · Does not regulate paint colors · Does not require repairs or renovations to be made · Does not increase taxes beyond normal increases for the City or County · Does not prevent additions · Does not prevent non-contributing homes from being demolished · Does not require use of historic materials or historic building methods · Does not require that you open you home to the public · Does not restrict routine maintenance of properties
What Local Historic District DOES do: · Recognizes that Oakhurst has a distinctive historic character important to the overall character of the City of Decatur · Encourages creative and compatible development with historic areas · Requires that a Certificate of Appropriateness be obtained for exterior changes to contributing properties, demolition of buildings, and new construction. · Applies only to major renovations to the exterior of your home. Interior renovations are not restricted.

Friday, September 14, 2007

Article by Ann Hetzel Gunkel (preservation expert) "Why a Chicago Bungalow?"

Why a Chicago Bungalow? According to the architects of the Bungalow Company, "Since the 1920's, the average family has decreased in size; while the square footage of the average home has increased exponentially. From our perspective, the excessively large homes being built today contain space that is poorly utilized, consume far more energy than is reasonable, and are often built from inferior materials that just don't stand the test of time. We think there's a better way." Families need space, it is true--but the alternative preferred by many of our contemporaries is the excess of the suburban "Great Room house." This "new Victorianism" isn't so much about space as the abuse of space, in our opinion. The money, resources, land, and energy consumption of a 3500 square foot home for two is relative to the output of those resources for whole villages in much of the Third World. After all, the cost of the average "riding mower" (never mind the fuel to run it) is more than the yearly wages of most families in the world. The bungalow ethos stands is strict opposition to this schema. As Arts & Crafts guru Gustav Stickley commented in 1909, "The bungalow is planned and built to meet simple needs in the simplest and most direct way." This doesn't imply however some sort of insane Luddite turn. We are fortunate enough to have middle-class means and yes, we own a car. The bungalow ethos is a choice against the prevailing winds in home buying and construction in a city like Chicago and its suburbs. The amenities now sought in new home construction (lots of extraneous space, closets the size of Texas, "mudrooms," "great rooms," etc.) are lacking in our Chicago Bungalow. We feel these "amenities" promote and reinforce mindless consumerism and waste energy as well. The amenities of a 1920's bungalow are different: ease of movement, attention to craftsmanly details such as woodwork & plaster (no drywall!!), flowing floor plan, and efficient use of modest space. Jan Cigliano argues that "walking into a vintage bungalow...produces an immediate sense of ease because of the size, scale, and simplicity of the space." Ann Hetzel Gunkel