Awkward Moments in Renovation

Category: Daily Diary

It is gorgeous here in Chicago today.  A balmy 64 degrees...warm and breezy.  So, Grace and I decided to go for a long walk and check out some of the cute bungalows south of campus in Albany Park.  I like to look for ideas and Grace just likes to swivel her head back and forth, like a bobblehead baby.

And then.  Around a corner, it loomed before us.  One of the scariest things I have ever seen.  At first, it looked like any ordinary two-flat which is being renovated.


But, as my eyes traveled upward, I beheld....



DUDE! A trailer home fell out of the sky onto your two-flat!!!

I was wracking my brain and trying to figure somethine what situation would this design choice have been ideal?

I've got nothin.

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I can't beleive they got a permit for that. I know that 2 flats are zoned differently than single family homes but there are very strict guidelines for height. I also wonder about the fire code. You need to keep a minimun fire rating when you build up. The buidling looks like it is at minimum 4 feet from the property line. You are talking a 2 plus hour fire rating. Something tells me that they did not get a permit or they not follow the plans. You should call you alderman.

That is just hideous and does not belong in our neighborhood. I'd be totally on board (and back you up) if you want to put a call into the alderman. It must break several laws. Email me if you want me to call the alderman.

THAT is completely ridiculous. How on earth did they get that approved?!? (Did they, even?) Definitely call the alderman, along with 311 to get a building inspector out. I'm sure you hate to rat people out but that strikes me as completely unsafe.

When my husband and I were contemplating a change to our second-story dormer, we were told that we would have to go through an extra permitting step and get the approval of our neighbors since the change was within 5 (I think) feet of the property line. I can't imagine any neighbor NOT making a stink about those plans if they were given the chance. Can you imagine--'Yeah, George, go ahead and build an ark on top of your house, I don't mind.'

OMG! That's CRAZY! And UGLY! Yeah, that cannot be legal. I can't believe the immediate neighbours didn't do something about it - the fact that that even got finished is very odd.

I don't actually have a problem with the height - could be a creative way to densify and convert houses into apartments but it's SO UGLY and wrong!!!

It gets better. This gem is actually FOR SALE, you lucky buyers, you! 11 bedrooms, 4 baths and 19 total rooms. It's listed at $326,400 through It's a trailer home, it's a two-flat, it's two great looks for the price of one.

You'll probably find out it was done by a developer who has connections downtown and skipped his way past all kinds of stuff knowing that what he was doing wouldn't be questioned.

It is awful looking but I don't think you can stop someone from building 'ugly'.

What's up with the plywood over the lower windows?

ah yes, the developer with connections route. they know every slimy loophole and easy way out to cheat and in here florida where all the shiz rolls downhill we have lots of those what is its?. You wonder what were they in their former life. And the plywood, maybe, they are listening to the wrong weather channel and are preparing for Florida's hurricane season. hee hee hee. there are people here that seem to consider a nice piece of cdx to be a window dressing.

OMG, that same builder worked on what-was-once-a-cute-tudor on a street near me! In what parallel universe does that look good?

Boy, that is about as bad as it gets. Let me guess, is the mobile home/second story covered in vinyl siding?

I never knew there was such a thing as a four-flat. huh, learn somethin' new everyday!

Is that a double wide up there? I suspect the current owner is suffering a financial snafu after a recent appearence on the "Jerry Springer Show"!
Are there any refridgerators on the back porch?

This might be a money maker for you! Send it in to OHJ-don't they give $50 if they publish your "remuddling" photos? I have seen some doozies on their back pages, but yours actually made me laugh out loud.WHAT WERE THEY SMOKIN when they dreamed up that addition? Time to use your blog clout and raise a ruckus! Start with the fire dept.!

That is just Sooooo wrong! And it wasn't even a misguided owner, but a greedy AND stupid developer- what a combination.

I say make some trouble- especially since it is a developer run amuck! Can you imagine living next to that?

I know how you feel ... in our neighborhood of 40's bungalows that started as a mere 1000 sq. ft., we often see additions ... and I understand the need for those additions, but it's like the homeowners and the architects never gave any thought to it ... they just slapped an extra room on the top or the side or the back of the house without any regard to making it an attractive feature that accentuates the home's original beauty!

I believe that buying an older home is a responsibility ... why don't my neighbors feel that way???

This picture is definitely Berwyn.

I just visited the website for the listing. Interestingly enough, the photo of the building
that is for sale doesn't show the monstrosity
on the top. It says there is a sale pending. Must be the allure of the plywood windows!
That definitely looks like it violates many of the City of Chicago building codes. I vote with calling your alderman.

This wouldn't be an early April Fool's joke would it? One can hope!


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