In Our Living Room Home Tours: Megan & Alex Menocal


In this installment of In our LivingRoom home tours we were thrilled to visit Megan and Alex and their North Park bungalow.

LivingRoom: Tell us about your property?

M & A: We live in a classic brick bungalow in the North Park neighborhood of Chicago. We were impressed with the quality of the green spaces in walking distance, with the neighbors, and the vintage feel of the homes in the neighborhood. The house itself is a three-bedroom with two and a half baths. The history of the home is really evident in certain areas - the basement includes a showerhead over a drain, which was installed so that the homeowner could bathe after coming home from his work in aluminum fabrication. The second bedroom has a charming built-in bookcase that has been in place since at least the early '60s. The bathroom on the main floor is tiled in classic Chicago fashion. The attic features a nice office / guest bedroom space and a full bathroom. We also love the garden, which has been lovingly cared for over the years, and we see peonies, lilacs, roses, hostas, and ferns come to life every spring.

LivingRoom: What were the deciding factors when choosing your area and picking your property?

M & A: We were looking for a quiet, stable neighborhood. We had been living in Albany Park, so we had become pretty entrenched in the far north side. We based our search around areas that we already knew that we liked, and the North Park neighborhood was familiar to us, Megan graduated from North Park University. We were planning on starting a family, so the school districts were also very important to us, and North Park has great elementary schools.

LivingRoom: What’s your favorite thing about your property?

M & A: It's a 100 year old home with some great details - one of our favorite features is a beautiful tulip stained glass window in our living room. And unlike many homes of this age, there are no objectionable “upgrades” by prior owners, as a matter of fact all of the upgrades have been legitimate improvements, like central air, a modernized kitchen, and all new windows.

LivingRoom: What would you tell someone who is embarking on the buying process?

M & A: Trust the process, be patient and give yourself time! We were so excited to get into homeownership that we were ready to make offers on homes early in the process that probably wouldn't have been a good fit for us or would have more work than we were prepared to do. As we saw more homes through the process, we got a better feel for what our priorities really were. We also saw firsthand that it is very common for a purchase to fall through after an offer has been made. This happened to us a few times and it was very discouraging. In the end, we are very happy with the home we found! This house was by far our favorite and we are really happy here.

LivingRoom: Tell us about yourself?

Alex: I am director of strategy at Mess, a design and web development agency in West Town. I love sitting in the sunny garden reading a book while Megan works hard to keep everything in order!

Megan: I am a registered nurse at Northwestern Memorial Hospital. I love to garden and have enjoyed finally having a backyard of our own. We have a toddler who keeps up laughing and who loves taking his tricycle around the neighborhood and waving at every dog.

LivingRoom: Tell us about any improvements you made or plan to make and why?

M & A: We had a new chimney built as well as some masonry work on the house's brick front. So far, though, the biggest home improvement that we have made so far was to replace all of the galvanized steel plumbing with copper piping. At the time of purchase, we knew that the plumbing would eventually need repair because of our home inspection. It was a large and expensive job but we can really tell a difference in water pressure now. The next project on our list is to replace the concrete front steps which are falling apart.

LivingRoom: Can you tell us about that process?

M & A: For both of these projects we started by taking recommendations from friends, using online resources and by getting multiple bids on projects.

LivingRoom: Well thank you so much for sharing your beautiful home with us!