A great choice for your custom home in Spotsylvania County may be a Bungalow style homes that gained popularity in California but they are now found throughout the United States, including Virginia. This classic home style has plenty to offer, including a compact, private design, classic architecture, and incorporated outdoor living space. Not sure if a bungalow home is right for your lifestyle? Here’s what this distinctive style is all about.

Key Features of a Bungalow

Bungalows usually have key characteristics that separate them from other home styles like ranch style homes. You can recognize a bungalow based on the following:

  • 1-1/2 stories is standard. Some bungalows are one-story but it’s more common to see a second story built into the sloping roof with dormer windows.
  • Low-pitched roof with broad eaves
  • Entry that opens into a living room
  • Open floor plan without wasted square footage on hallways
  • Built-ins
  • Stucco siding is common in California but brick and lapped siding are more common elsewhere.
  • Large covered front porch
  • Outdoor space such as a veranda, patio, and/or porch

History of Bungalow Homes

The bungalow style originated in the Bengal area of India. In fact, the word “bungala” is an Indian Hindustani word that means “belonging to Bengal.” Bungalows were built in India by the British in the 19th century as informal one-story rest homes for summer travelers that could be constructed easily. These homes were built with large front porches covered by overhanging eaves to help guests handle the region’s hot, intense climate.

By the turn of the century, the American version of the Indian bungalow was turning up in southern California. The California bungalow was influenced by the Arts and Crafts movement of the early 20th century which focused on quality craftsmanship and simple design over the ornate Victorian style homes that came before it. California architects Greene and Greene have been credited with the bungalow’s massive popularity. Their early Craftsman bungalows boasted grand floor plans, quality workmanship, and simple lines while remaining affordable for average homebuyers.

In the early 20th century, Los Angeles and Pasadena, California were fast-growing resorts. By 1930, LA had more single-family homes than any other city with a whopping 94% of families living in a single-family home. The inexpensive, artistic, and innovative bungalow was a big reason for the mass suburbanization of early Los Angeles and allowed the city to grow as fast as it did.

After years of popularity, the bungalow fell out of favor for a few decades, although this quintessentially American style is now experiencing a major resurgence.

Types of Bungalows

Bungalows were designed for warm climates with mild winters, although they are now found in many regions, including the Midwest and New England. One of the many benefits of the bungalow home style is its simplicity and easy construction. This has made it easy to adapt the bungalow to nearly any region or style. As bungalows gained in popularity, many regions added their own unique style to the basic design. Bungalows can be almost any style, from a log cabin to a Cape Cod home, as the home style was a trend to create homes for working-class families while bucking ornate Victorian design. Here are some common styles of bungalows you may recognize.

California Bungalow

The California bungalow or California Craftsman is what many think of when they envision a bungalow home. This style of bungalow has overhanging eaves, a low sloped roof, and study pillars or beams without interior hallways. Unlike most bungalows, the traditional California bungalow has a front-gabled roof. California bungalows, which became a common sight between 1910 and 1940, combine indoor and outdoor space with large covered verandahs, terraces, and courtyards.

Spanish Colonial Bungalow

Spanish Colonial homes are inspired by the architecture of the Americas following Spanish colonization. This style of architecture gained popularity in the early 20th century in the Southwest, particularly Southern California. Spanish Colonial bungalows are common in Los Angeles and San Diego and many date to the 1920s and 1930s. This style of bungalow has a front courtyard and circular or arched entries. A Spanish Colonial bungalow has a distinctive tile roof with smooth stucco, tiled steps, and wrought iron elements.

Chicago Bungalow

Chicago’s iconic bungalow has a flat front exterior with a small covered porch and sometimes a bay window. Unlike other types of bungalows, the Chicago style has roof gables that are parallel with the street, not perpendicular. Most are made from brick with a full basement and one-and-a-half stories. Like their California counterparts, Chicago bungalows have a veranda that may be open or mostly enclosed. Most Chicago bungalows were constructed between the 1910s and 1940s. About one-third of all single-family homes in Chicago are bungalows.

Foursquare Bungalow

A Foursquare or Box home has a distinctive cubic design. This style of architecture became popular in the 1890s to 1910s and it was also a rebellion against the complicated Victorian homes popular during the era. As bungalows gained in popularity, many Foursquare homes adopted their style and layout. A Foursquare bungalow has style elements of a Prarie and Arts and Crafts bungalow with 2-1/2 stories, a center dormer, and an open floor plan.

Tudor Bungalow

Tudor homes became popular in the late 19th century and the beginning of the 20th century, although they experienced another revival during the late 20th century. Like other bungalows, the design counters the over-the-top style of the Victorian period with a focus on craftsmanship and simple elegance. Tudor bungalows or Medieval Revival homes are like something out of a fairy tale with steep multi-gabled roofs, elaborate doorways and window casements, and decorative half-timbering with exposed wood framework.

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