Meet the Bungalow

Bungalow: Small House, Big Porch… Exploring the housing style’s rise to prominence in the early 20th century.

Bungalow HomesThe classic American bungalow is a detached one- or one-and-a-half-story house with broad eaves, an open porch, and design details in the Arts and Crafts style. Though the term “bungalow” has its origins in the English description of small houses in India with wide verandas, it is now used to describe a variety of small houses with wide porches as the major design feature.

A search of the Building Technology Heritage Library for house plan and kit home catalogs turns up several thousand bungalow variations. Stylistically, the most popular versions in America reference the Arts and Crafts movement, but variations in stucco, colonial, and Swiss chalet styles can also be found. Catalog titles like West Coast Bungalows and companies like Bungalow Craft, of Los Angeles, attest to the popularity of these homes in California. Chicago, too, has its own distinctive bungalow style, still visible among the city’s single-family housing stock. Kit home manufacturers Sears, Aladdin, and Gordon-Van Tine offered a variety of designs that were particularly popular in the Midwest.

House-plan and millwork catalogs are a great source for understanding the evolution of the bungalow plan and interior finishes. The term bungalow appeared in catalogs through the mid-20th century, with its Arts and Crafts connection was slowly phased out during that time and replaced with Colonial Revival influences. While the style of the bungalow changed, its efficient plan continues to inspire.

Click to see the selection of catalogs from the BTHL showing the rise of the bungalow in the early 20th century. 

via Mike Jackson, Architect Magazine