California Bungalow

California is home to the American Bungalow style, and the bungalows that evolved here have become iconic across the USA. Interestingly, the bungalow actually traces its origins to the Indian province of Bengal, the word itself deriving from the Hindi word “bangla.” The native huts were adapted by the British, who built bungalows as houses for administrators and as summer retreats. The idea was refined and popularized in California. Combining Arts and Crafts details with Hispanic ideas created the classic California Bungalow. The bungalow increased in popularity because it met the needs of changing times. The lower middle class was moving from apartments to private houses in great numbers, and bungalows represented modest, inexpensive, and low-profile housing. Sturdy, simple, and comfortable, the California Bungalow represents a style of residential architecture that was popular across America around the years 1910 to 1939.

The Features of California Bungalow Style Architecture:

  • Architectural features: sloping roofs, spacious front porches, sturdy beams and pillars, exposed brackets and other Craftsman details, unenclosed rafters, typically feature a gable over main portion of house
  • Larger bungalows might have asymmetrical “L” shaped porches, often enclosed at a later date, in response to increased street noise – (A “California” bungalow!)
  • 1-1 ½ stories
  • Spanish-inspired details
  • Horizontal presentation, integrated with the earth by use of local materials and plantings
  • Exterior Features: wood shingle, horizontal siding, or stucco exteriors, brick or stone exterior chimneys

The Features of California Bungalow Interior Design:

  • Do not include quarters for servants
  • Simple living room, entered directly from front door, usually has a broad opening into separate dining room
  • No parlor or sitting room
  • Smaller kitchen
  • Focal point of living room is fireplace
  • Common areas are on the first floor
  • Ceilings – lower than Victorian architecture, and usually higher than in ranches or other later homes
  • Ceilings often feature redwood beams
  • Attics usually located under the sloping roof
  • Cozy atmosphere