Bungalow Style Homes and Architecture
A staple of American architecture, the Bungalow home has roots in India that give it an efficient but appealing design.
In the late 19th century, the Bungalow made it’s first appearance and eventually this style of architecture became a staple in neighborhoods all across America. From the late 1800s and into the mid 1930s, the Bungalow became part of the American dream.
History of the Bungalow Home
While the Bungalow is considered to be an American home, it has has a history deeply rooted in the country of India. Specifically, in the province of Bengal, the single family homes went by the names of bangla or bangala. Eventually British colonists would use these homes as summer homes. In America, they would be reinvented as a home for year-round use.
The first home to appear on American soil that would be referred to as a Bungalow home was designed by William Gibbons Preston in 1879. In Massachusetts, this home was a more lavish and much larger version of the traditional Bungalow home many know today.
There are many different variations of the Bungalow: the Craftsman Bungalow, California Bungalow, Cape Code Bungalow, Spanish Colonial Revival Bungalow, and so forth. Today, many feel it is difficult to distinguish a true Bungalow home from the many variations.
Characteristics of the Bungalow Home
Traditionally, Bungalow homes were one to one and a half stories in overall height. This allows for nearly all of the living space to be centrally located on the ground floor. The roof is low-pitched, sometimes horizontal in shape. It can also feature a gabled or hipped roof as well as decorative brackets and braces. It often featured a large covered front porch with columns that could be decorative or plain, depending on the original homeowner’s preference.
The interior of the Bungalow utilizes an efficient floor plan. The living room is centrally located with all of the rooms adjacent, as hallways were not generally used. The floor plans were very open, with the dining room or the kitchen opening into the living room.
The Bungalow also featured many Craftsman or Arts and Crafts style features. It was not uncommon to see built-in cabinets or shelving units. Fireplaces were also common, as well as exposed wooden beams or rafters.
Famous Bungalow Homes and Architects
While there are very few ‘famous’ Bungalow style homes, two architects stand out: Charles Sumner Greene and Henry Mather Greene of California. These two brothers are said to have inspired Americans to embrace Bungalow style homes. Most famously, they are known for their work on the Gamble House which was built for David and Mary Gamble; of Procter and Gamble Company.