Within the Arts and Crafts Movement, the bungalow was a progressive architectural design that proliferated in the USA in the early part of the C20th. Called Craftsmen bungalows, these bungalows were small cottages that had specific architectural features:
To keep costs down, the parts of prefabricated bungalows were mass-produced in a factory, numbered, loaded onto a train. They could be sent to any part of the country where a skilled carpenter could put them together in a day by following the instructions provided. The most famous of these mail-order firms was Sears, Roebuck and Co.**
1. Low-pitched roof lines, gabled or hipped roof
2. Deeply overhanging eaves
3. Exposed rafters or decorative brackets under eaves
4. Large front porch beneath extension of main roof
5. Tapered, square columns supporting roof
6. Double-hung windows
7. no more than 1.5 storeys high
8. Frank Lloyd Wright design motifs
9. Hand-crafted stone or woodwork
10. Mixed materials, that suggest a cosy cottage.
11. stone chimneys, gabled dormers, sloping foundation
12. inside: built-in cabinets, shelves & seating.
You can see an entire Pasadena neighbourhood full of these lovely Craftsmen bungalows in L.A. Places
Craftsman bungalow, California, 1.5 storeys
In Erica Swanson's blog, we find that the bungalow was part of a movement that provided housing that the working class could afford. Many people were choosing to make a move to the west for its warm, arid climate and it was because of this that the Craftsman Bungalow reached its full potential in California. The San Gabriel Valley lends well to Craftsman homes because of the broad front porches that is a common feature of the architectural style, which allows a homeowner to take full advantage of the year round sunny weather that is typical to the Pasadena area. Craftsman bungalows had to be affordable, but they were far from shoddy. Bungalows were built with old-growth timber, real plaster, wooden windows and doors, and the built-ins that are now mostly found in high-end homes. It is because these homes were built so well that many Craftsman Bungalows still stand today.
**Imported originally from California in 1916 by a real estate agent, the first Australian Californian bungalow was erected in Sydney. The bungalow become the favourite house style in Australia immediately after WWI, when it quickly spread across all Australian towns and cities. It was a solid and respectable house, serving the two great needs that made it so popular in California: affordability and suitability for a dry, warm climate.
**Timing was everything for the bungalow in Australia. Tim Durbridge at The Durb Net showed the British idea of Garden Cities was taking firm hold of the minds of Australian town planners. Here was a means of fostering the egalitarian Australian ideology. It also ensured that new development improved land values since zoning disallowed cheap, owner-built haphazard housing. Blending with its natural surroundings in the sun splashed bush, great for the family to sleep out and gaze at the Southern Cross, the bungalow provided privacy, excellent plumbing and much respectability in Australia’s new Garden Suburbs.
**Were our bungalows any different from those built in the USA? Single-storey homes in Australia were absolutely the norm, rather than 1.5 storeys. Utilities could be installed more easily than in a two-storey house and there were no staircases for the elderly and children to navigate. The Australian back yard had to be big enough for the entire family, for dogs, cubby houses, cricket games and a chicken shed. The front garden could be smaller, but it had to be surrounded by a decent fence. And the building materials were specifically Australian.
**I suppose the earliest designs in Australia were based on craftsman design principles. Houses were built low, with shallow, low pitched roofs of terracotta shingles or roofing slates, exposed rafters and beams showing from under the roof. People loved materials with a rustic, natural look. Mixed materials were used, to add to the cottagy look: stone, brick and timber, earthy materials were used in Australia [whereas in the USA they had used wood shake shingles, river rock and clinker brick]. A gable roof faced either the front or side always and although the building could be asymmetrical, masonry veranda piers were remained very popular. Windows had small panes and were arranged in casements. Front doors were typically high-waisted and decorated with leadlight.
**Californian bungalow, Melbourne, asymmetrical
**The interior plan was left to the family’s preference, but typically featured a central hallway, the good rooms at the front of the house and the kitchen and laundry at the back. Two bedrooms were initially built – if families needed a third, it would have to be added under the roofline or tacked onto the back at a later date. Panelled walls had a plate shelf, and built in furniture, such as window seats, bookshelves and fireplace nooks.
**Knight and Harwood floorplan, Melbourne
**In the Australian bungalow, simplicity and craftsmanship could harmonise in a truly affordable house. So although Australians didn’t build bungalows until 25 years after the Americans started, they quickly became Australia’s most popular home. And remained so until WW2.
Butler, G The Californian Bungalow in Australia. Origins, revival, Source Ideas for Restoration, Lothian, Port Melbourne, 1992
Winter, Robert American Bungalow Style, Simon & Schuster, 1996.
The blog Melbourne Our Home has internal and external photos of a renovated Melbourne bungalow, retaining as many original features as possible.