Bungalows are single storey homes which sometimes can have an upper loft. They are common all over the world with each country giving its own unique twist on the floor plans and outer detail. Most bungalows feature a front porch on which is sip tea and enjoy the day.
Where Bungalows Originated
The word bungalow originated in India from a word meaning “Bengali” or house in the Bengal style. These were small detached homes with a veranda. The British built these simple homes with their large verandas for their officers who were stationed in India in the 1800’s. They were cheap to build and easy to erect. Verandas provided a cool place to sit and extended the living space of the very small homes. They also keep the sun’s hot rays from entering the home.
When the British officers returned to England they had their own homes built with the wide verandas. They had become accustomed to sitting and entertaining on the verandahs. It was a tradition with took off in England.
Bungalows take Off!
Small one level homes became especially popular near the coast of England as they were perfect for small weekend family getaways. Bungalows fit into the rural landscape beautifully. They didn’t take away from the view. They were small enough to be easy to build and maintain.
In the mid 20th century the bungalow had a boom with thousands of seniors and young families yearning for the homes, both groups wanted the affordability of the small bungalows. The seniors liked the convenience of one level living. Families just wanted a space of their own.
There are now thousands of fifties and sixties bungalows all over England. Some people think they are a ghastly but they have their benefits. They allow privacy as no one can see into them in a neighbourhood of single storey homes. They can be shaded by tall trees which also can be used to provide privacy. They provide neighbourhoods with consist looking homes which many people find comforting.
Drawbacks to Bungalows
One of the reasons some people think they are a ghastly is the very nature of the one floor living space. It means that more land is needed per house to build rather than a 2 storey home. This reduces the population density in the neighbourhood which is considered by some to be a poor resource management. In this day and age of expensive land it is a poor choice of land use. But in the 50’s and 60’s this was not a consideration.
Another drawback is the added expense of building a bungalow. Not only a larger lot is needed, but it more costly to build a bigger foundation and roof. People who can afford the extra building costs over a 2 storey home are willing to pay for it because of the other conveniences that the bungalow offers.
Later styles had bigger bungalows built by the rich on their estates, this occurred both in England and the United States. It was a sign of wealth to build a huge sprawling bungalow with numerous rooms and proches.
Arts and Craft Homes
In the late 19th century the famous Arts and Craft bungalows in the USA became popular and still are today. These homes were essentially spacious cottages. The style is now more popular than ever especially in California.
In Canada CMHC (Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation) sold plans of small bungalows for approximately $10. CMHC wanted to improve building standards of the time. The plans grew and changed as time went on. In 1947 when the first plans came out there was only a kitchen, living room, 2 bedrooms and a bathroom. By 1974 when they stopped selling the plans there were plans with garages, 3 bedrooms, a family room and even a powder room.
If you are aware of this you can see numerous neighbourhoods throughout Toronto and Southern Ontario which utilize these plans. Think of the streets and streets of small brick bungalows in East York and Leaside for instance.
Most of the plans had unfinished basement with low ceilings. Through the years builders renovated the older bungalows by lowering the basement floors to make more liveable space. Once the basement was lowered some people went further with full scale renovations. They put in a new steel beam in the basement which would allow the main floor to be opened up and modern open concept living areas were made. These changes gave the lowly bungalow a whole new lease on life.