If you own a classic Chicago bungalow, there are a lot of resources for taking care of it in an aesthetically appropriate manner — from the exterior bricks and steps to the floors, walls, and trim. Every year, the Driehaus bungalow awards are a nice introduction to people who are doing it right.
But what about furnishings? One option is hitting Chicagoland and Michiana antique stores to see what turns up; another is following online consignment sites to see if something pops up among the MCM knickknacks. But the most direct approach is to make some furniture yourself (or pay someone to do it for you).
Start with the early 20th century architect and journalist William Radford, one of the busiest, if not necessarily the best, builders of his era. A Riverside resident trained in construction, Radford built a small empire out of the Radford Architectural Company, which sold home plans and books. All told, the company offered more than a thousand different home, commercial, and agricultural building plans. Many are bungalows — here are 208 of them — and if Radford was more industrious than artistic, they’ve aged nicely, like this Montomery Ward house of Radford’s design.
Among Radford’s many publications was American Carpenter and Builder, a collection of building plans, carpentry tips, and industry advice. Most of it is for professionals, but the “Home Craftsman” section contained plans for (comparatively) simple furniture that fit the single-family home plans that Radford sold. Think of it a bit like Enzo Mari’s Autoprgettazione? for Chicago bungalows. Some of it should be left to pro carpenters, like the office desk, but skilled amateurs could adapt the more basic designs for some nice touches.