Welcome back to “That’s an Interesting Looking House” – the series gives you the cliff notes history and characteristics of popular America home styles so you don’t have to sit through a three-hour night class about American architectural history.
Today, we’re going to talk about Bungalow style homes, which actually evolved from hut homes found in India. English colonialists in the 1870s borrowed elements like the porch, small rooms and low roofline, and brought these design concepts back to the Mother Country. The name Bungalow came from the Hindi term baṅglā.
With a few modern touches, these homes quickly gained popularity. English settlers in the following decades brought the modern Bungalow style to the United States, and from there it spread throughout the nation.
Functionality played a large part in the expansion of the Bungalow style. Builders tried to utilize natural materials in the area to keep building costs low. To also keep them affordable, many of these homes are rather small in square-footage. Built-in shelves and lighting became popular space savers and a staple of their design.
Also, to compensate for the lack of interior space, many of these houses feature open or enclosed porches to add extra living space. This quickly became a key feature of these homes, although this may vary from region to region.
Other key features:
- Little or no decorative features on the exterior
- Simple footprint
- Use of natural building materials, like wood or stone
- Low-pitched roofs
- Overhanging eaves
- Thick wood or brick porch columns
- Some have dormers on the roof
- Thick brick chimneys
- Open floor plans
- Main living areas on the first floor
What some people may not know is that the Bungalow style developed specific characteristics based on the region. When we think of Bungalow homes, more often than not we think of the California style. However, subtle differences make regional Bungalow homes different.
For example, Chicago Bungalow homes feature a hipped roof rather than the side gable roof. Additionally, they’re generally narrower than California ones.
Many Milwaukee Bungalow houses often feature a rounded doorway that isn’t under a covered porch. They also may have bay windows accented with stained glass.
Cities all over Michigan have pockets of Bungalow style homes because of a company called Aladdin, which sold kit homes featuring in this style. In fact, Aladdin, a company that was in Bay City, started selling kit homes two years before Sears. Generally, Michigan Bungalow homes have stone or brick porches featuring thick columns holding up the roof over the porch. Many houses in this region also have street facing gables.
Bungalow homes became popular choice for many first-time homebuyers or homebuilders because they’re small and utilized local materials, which made them extremely affordable. It’s easy to see why these homes are all over the U.S. and became one of the most popular home styles in the nation.
Check out these other articles to learn more about popular American home styles!
That’s an Interesting Looking House: Colonial Style
That’s an Interesting Looking House: Classical Style
That’s an Interesting Looking House: Victorian Style
That’s an Interesting Looking House: Victorian Style Part II
That’s an Interesting Looking House: Prairie Style
Do you have a favorite architectural style that we haven’t talked about yet? Tell us about it in the comments section below!