A beautiful sunny day, a tour of fascinating historic homes complete with trolley rides from place to place, a stroll through art-filled Seminole Park, and a visit to a handsomely renovated historic property with décor by some of the area’s finest interior design professionals. What’s not to love!

Historic Kenwood’s annual BungalowFest, held on Friday and Saturday, November 5th. and 6th., 2011, was combined this year with Art in the Park (previously held in the spring) and for the first time featured a designer show home. The event was deemed a great success by visitors, homeowners, artists, and sponsors alike. Nearly 1,000 people toured nine very diverse Kenwood homes on Saturday, substantially exceeding 2010 attendance. At Art in the Park, artists sold more of their work than ever before. A gala preview party at the designer show home on Friday night attracted more than 160 and raised more than $4,700 for its designated charity, Children’s Cancer Center.

See the story in Tampa Bay Magazine

The reasons for the event’s success are multiple: superb organization by teams of volunteers, nine homeowners willing to open their homes to the public, sponsors who supported the event, and a volunteer corps of some 60 Kenwood residents who handled a myriad of detailed tasks. Best of all, though, says the 2011 BungalowFest Chairman John Seibert, “There was just such a wonderful spirit about the event. People were having a terrific time. They really got to experience the warmth, friendliness, creativity, and diversity that make Historic Kenwood such a unique and special place to live.”

Some Highlights

BungalowFest. The buzz on the streets was all about the diversity of homes on the tour and the exceptional quality of decorating. The contrasts were conspicuous. Visitors enjoyed equally a handsome 1920s bungalow completely furnished in Craftsman period antiques and a light and bright mid-century modern home with décor of that period that sits right across the alley from the bungalow. One small bungalow that had been completely reconfigured indoors to create modern open spaces contrasted sharply with a huge bungalow filled with the owners’ eclectic collections. Art and landscaping everywhere inspired visitors to rethink their own outdoor rooms. Click here to see pictures of the homes or here to watch a video of the homes exteriors.

Art in the Park. Diversity was also evident among the 30 artists, including 11 from the Historic Kenwood neighborhood, who showed their work in Historic Kenwood’s Seminole Park. Clay, mosaics, textiles, prints, baskets, sculpture, photography, painting, jewelry, dolls – even a painted car – were all on display and for sale. There was a tie for the Most Innovative Award sponsored by South Side Thrift Store/Rescue Me. Printmaker Holly Bird and sculptor Sarah Thee Campagna shared the honor. Campagna also won the Historic Kenwood Artist Award, sponsored by the Historic Kenwood Neighborhood Association.  Merit awards went to furniture maker Bob Steiner and ceramicists Joel and Barbara Ott. Those awards were sponsored by Your Neighborhood Realty and Tyrone Frame & Mirror. Click here to see more.

Designer Show Home.  Over the five months preceding BungalowFest, neighbors watched with fascination as Kenwood architect Bob Jeffrey’s building crew completely transformed a five-unit house and adjoining former neighborhood grocery store into four elegant apartments. Featuring modern amenities like handsome wood cabinetry and granite countertops in the kitchens, the units also preserve the historic character of the spaces and many original elements, including a newly polished hexagonal block floor in the space where groceries and sundries were once sold. Stephen LeBlanc coordinated with eleven area designers putting their spin on the spaces, filling them with an eclectic mix of furniture, animal hides, feathers, art, and decorative objects – even including a violin. At the preview party, guests noshed on delicious hors d’oeuvres prepared by En Garde Catering. Click here to see the rooms.

Here’s the presentation to Patty O’Leary, COO of the Children’s Cancer Center by John Seibert, BungalowFest Chair. 

Patty said the Center was truly grateful for HKNA’s fundraising efforts.  This year, they’ve added 90 new kids diagnosed with cancer or rare blood disorders to their already existing patient list of 900.  Our donation could not have come at a more critical time and will be put to immediate use.  Patty added that she attends numerous functions throughout the year, but our Gala Preview Party was one of the “most magical” and that she’s still telling people about it.

Next year…! BungalowFest is always the first Saturday in November. So, mark your calendar for Saturday, November 3rd., 2012. As always, the Historic Kenwood Neighborhood Association will use the energy and creativity of residents to create another memorable event for it's guests.


History of the tour:

BungalowFest celebrates Historic Kenwood’s recent and past history with a unique home tour. The tour features homes that are completely restored and sometimes ones that are actually under renovation. BungalowFest 2012 marks the 22th anniversary of the Historic Kenwood Neighborhood Association and our 14th. tour with a celebration of the Historic Kenwood neighborhood in St. Petersburg, Florida and the history of the bungalow.  BungalowFest will include a tour of 10-12 historic homes & gardens. The goal of the tour is to showcase the neighborhood while showing visitors that anyone can undertake a restoration project.

The neighborhood itself has been quite a restoration project. Historic Kenwood was constructed beginning in 1912, with a large number of homes being built in the early 1920’s. The neighborhood features the largest concentration of bungalows in Florida.

Over the decades, the neighborhood fell on hard times. As recently as the early 1990s, the neighborhood had it's share of rundown homes, many of which were turned into low-income rentals.

As homes in other St. Petersburg areas became more expensive, small investors ended up in Kenwood, buying homes to restore and resell. Many saw the value in the details and craftsmanship in these homes. The restoration of Kenwood had begun.

In the late 1990s, Historic Kenwood was designated for its significance in the areas of community planning and development and architecture. The neighborhood features restored 1920s-30's era bungalows with fireplaces, wood floors, big porches and original accents such as a built-in hutch or an ironing board compartment. It also has quite a few Colonials, Four Squares and Mid-century ranches from the 1940's and 50's. The neighborhood recently was added to the National Register of Historic Places. In 2006, Historic Kenwood was named a top 10 cottage neighborhood by Cottage Living magazine.

The residents are very proud of their neighborhood and like to show it off. Come and see it on November 3rd., 2012.