At Look at US Architectural Styles: The American Bungalow

Last week’s post on architectural styles focused on the impressive Greek Revival, well known here in Middle Tennessee for its prominence in antebellum history. This week, we’re taking look at a style that may be smaller in scale, but definitely high on charm, the American Bungalow.  The bungalow gained popularity at the turn of the century (20th) because it offered affordable pricing for simple, yet soundly constructed homes for many Americans getting by on modest means.

These early bungalows, were not without a sense of style, however. There are actually many variations on the bungalow, each with distinctive artistic touches. From Arts & Crafts to Art Moderne, just about every style you can imagine has found expression in the simple and practical American Bungalow. Still popular, vintage bungalows are a favorite renovation project for many, and fresh takes on the old styles are being built brand new every day. Here’s a look at a few of the popular American Bungalow styles you will find all over the country.

Craftsmen Bungalow

Derived from the English Arts and Crafts style, which lavished attention on handcrafted details using wood, stone, and other materials drawn from nature, the Craftsmen bungalows were simple wooden houses with Arts & Crafts flourishes.
Some of the identifying features of Craftsmen bungalows are:
  • Low-pitched gabled roof with wide, unenclosed eave overhang
  • Roof rafters usually exposed
  • Decorative beams or braces under gables
  • Stone porch supports usually squared and sometimes slanting inward

Chicago Bungalow

Chicago Bungalows are characterized by solid brick construction and a large, front-facing roof dormer. Bungalows built in and near Chicago have many of the lovely Craftsman details that you find in other parts of the country.
Here are some of the identifying elements:
  • Brick construction
  • Full basement
  • Narrow frontage
  • Hipped roof
  • Large gabled dormer facing the street
  • Spacious porch, often enclosed

Spanish Revival Bungalow

This exotic version of a bungalow was inspired by Spanish Colonial architecture in the American southwest. Usually sided with stucco, and with low-pitched to flat roofs, these homes have decorative glazed tiles, arched doors or windows, and many other Spanish Revival details. Some of the identifying features are:
  • Low-pitched or flat roof
  • Red tiles on roof
  • Decorative glazed tile
  • Stucco-siding, usually white, cream, or tan
  • Carved wooden doors
  • Arched windows or doorways
  • Decorative wrought iron railings and window grills

 Dutch Colonial Bungalow

Inspired by the architecture of the colonies, these quaint homes have rounded gambrel roofs with the gable at the front or the side. many of these charming bungalows have the characteristics of larger Dutch Colonial Revivals. Identifying features include:
  • 1½ to 2 stories
  • Clapboard or shingle siding, but occasionally with brick or stone facing
  • Typically symmetrical façades, but also found with side entries
  • Gable-end chimneys
  • Porch under overhanging eaves
  • Shed, hipped, or gable dormers
  • Columns for porches and entry

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