What makes a house “Bungalow style”?

The bungalow style home made its first appearance in America around the 1880s, particularly in New England. However, it was its emergence in Southern California that established it as the most popular style of home that America has ever known. The name is a derivative of the Hindustani word ‘Bangala’ and the style came to America via England during the era of British rule in India. The American-style bungalow was brought into prominence during the early twentieth century by the American Arts and Crafts movement, and modern variations on this design continue to be popular around the world today.

The bungalow floor plan has a prominent history in American architecture, it is often credited with the beginnings of the ‘open concept’ floor plan. Many styles of bungalow began to omit the partition wall between the dining and living areas. By the beginning of the twentieth century, the bungalow had become the dominant architectural style throughout America. Its popularity continued to rise during the first half of the century. The style has undergone many revivals as trends matured over the decades and this adaptability has ensured that even today it holds popular appeal.

What are the quintessential traits of an American bungalow?

The typical bungalow style of house is normally single story, though a mezzanine floor can be sometimes built into a sloped roof. It is usually a smaller home, some could even becalled a cottage, and often features plenty of windows. They are distinguished with a more open floor plan, sloping roof, large front windows, and the broad porch at the front or a front veranda that may also wrap around.

The bungalow floor plan was the first to open up between the living and dining rooms which became separated only by a colonnade or a partial wall. This more open innovation demanded a shift in the load-bearing wall framing and was more expensive to build. The trend dictated a change to develop more affordable building materials and methodologies to permit greater spans and more open interiors. The traditional American bungalow possesses a distinctive set of features that can include:

· Small floor area

· Single story house

· Possible second story or mezzanine floor

· Sloping roof

· Front façade with balanced proportions

· Large front porch or veranda with a steeply pitched roof or eaves

· Square or tapered porch columns

· Reduced or no hallways

· Open central living space

· Plenty of large windows

The 5 main types of Bungalow design style

While there are different variations in the types of bungalows, the style still has a defined array of characteristics that identifies it. The Californian bungalow style is often constructed of timber, stucco and shingle siding. It is a single-story home with the typical sloping roof and generous porch under sloping eaves. It has the open floor plan and suits the Southern Californian Mediterranean-style climate well.

The classic American bungalow falls into five broad types.

· Californian

· Chicago

· Prairie

· Tudor

· Mission

The Chicago style bungalow can be constructed of brick and often have one and a half stories over a full-sized basement. The entrance stairway is located on the side of the house. The Prairie style bungalow has large piers supporting the porch roof, interior timber ceiling beams, broad flat chimneys, and rows of casement windows. The Tudor style bungalow design has more intricate design work like detailed wall cladding and elaborate chimneys. They have steep-pitched roofs, and tall narrow windows to lend a faux-medieval look to the façade. Mission style bungalows, on the other hand, feature wide eaves and exposed rafters. The Spanish-style tiled roof can be hip, or gable and the cladding may be smooth stucco or plastic siding.

Why is the bungalow style floor plan so popular?

These functional, more open styled homes have proven popular for over a century and look like they will endure into the future. The open plan concept provides open sightlines through the house and lets in more natural light, which makes the home feel visually larger. It also provides more room to entertain family and friends. Bungalow houses offer many advantages that suit the homeowner, including:

· Greater accessibility and mobility

· Easier routine maintenance

· Efficient use of square footage

. Increased natural light

· Feels airier and more spacious

· Open concept living

· Extensions and renovations are easier

· Open line of sight for watching children

· More space to entertain

· Costs less thana similar size two-story home

· Increases in value

The humble suburban bungalow should prove to be a good investment because they retain their value well, and steadily increase in value over time. A three-bedroom bungalow costs less to purchase than a similar sized two-story, three-bedroom home. And when the homeowner decides to extend the floor area of their home, a single-story bungalow is easier and more economical to add onto than a two-story home is.

Are there any downsides to owning a Bungalow style house?

The hugely popular bungalow style house offers many sensible advantages to the homeowner. However, there are some less-appealing aspects to the design. With the bedrooms coming off the open plan living spaces, privacy may be compromised to a certain extent. There is also the noise factor to consider arising from the lack of separation. This can prove disruptive for occupants seeking peace and quiet, especially if you are working from home, or if young children are wanting either a daytime nap or to go to sleep early in the evening when their parents want to watch television.

A bungalow may be the homeowner’s compromise between what they can afford and what they would have liked to live in. A bungalow house is typically not very large, and this may prove unsuitable as a family grows and more space is required for different purposes. There may also be issues of security because a single-story home means that all the windows open close to the ground and maybe accessible. Nevertheless, bungalows are charming properties that hold their value and comfortably cater to the housing needs of a wide portion of society.