Bungalow Style House (Style Spotlight)

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bungalow style house

By Bud Dietrich, AIA


As the Great War came to its end and the Roaring Twenties started, America became ever increasingly an automobile-dominated society. Cars, cheap gas and the availability of inexpensive land created a housing boom in the suburbs and outlying areas. A new house style, the bungalow, came about as the result.

Though the particulars varied from location to location (a Chicago bungalow is visually very different from its Southern California cousin), the bungalow was typically small, with all its living spaces on one floor. The houses typically had five or six rooms, with two or three bedrooms and one bathroom.

As much as these homes were brought about by the growing popularity of the car, it would take a subsequent generation of domestic design (ranches, split-levels, 1970s Colonials) and larger lots to fully integrate the garage with the house. In bungalows, the garage was typically detached and accessed by a back alley or, if the lot was wide enough, a side driveway.

Expanded, renovated and updated, bungalows have an enduring quality that make them enviable homes for today's family. Many cities across the country have actively promoted the preservation and renovation of bungalows. Chicago, in fact, has a citywide initiative, the Historic Chicago Bungalow Association, to encourage and strengthen the many bungalow neighborhoods in the city.

An interesting side note is that the term "bungalow" originated in India and has Hindi roots. It was used to describe small lodgings and later came to mean a one-story, detached home with a veranda.

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Bungalow Style House (Style Spotlight)

Bungalows in the South and Southeastern parts of the United States are typically built of wood and heavily influenced by the Craftsmen style. The large front porch extends the living space outside, and broad, elephant columns support the low sloping roof.

In the Chicago area and upper Midwest in general, bungalows were built long and narrow to fit long, narrow lots. Second-floor living spaces were created under the roofs, with dormers added for natural light and air. The Chicago bungalow is mostly a brick structure with a solidity that befits the "city of the big shoulders."

Whether new or a century old, West Coast bungalows are typically built of wood and influenced by the Arts and Crafts and Craftsmen styles. These bungalows also have front porches providing outdoor living space for the milder climate.

Another West Coast bungalow influenced by the Craftsman style is, like the Chicago bungalow, long and thin to fit a narrow lot. The small front porch roof is supported by elephant columns.

Bungalows incorporated the open floor plan that was becoming popular early in the 20th century. The living and dining rooms, traditionally separated by a full wall, were starting to be combined with just a bit of woodwork between the two.

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