Practical and Open

Craftsman Bungalow (1905 - 1930)

Identifying features:

  • Low-pitched, gabled roof (occasionally hipped), with wide, unenclosed eave overhang
  • Roof rafters usually exposed
  • Decorative beams or braces under gables
  • Porch support bases extending to ground level (without break at level of porch floor)
  • Porch supports usually squared and sometimes slanting inward

The bungalow was the dominant style for smaller houses built throughout the country during the period from about 1905 until the early 1920s. The Craftsman, the most popular style of bungalow, originated in Southern California and quickly spread-via pattern books and popular magazines-throughout the rest of the country. Anyone, anywhere, as long as they lived near a train depot, could pick a bungalow style out of a Sears Roebuck or Aladdin Redi-Cut catalog and have the whole house-plumbing and all-shipped to them.

The roots of the American bungalow are found in the Indian province of Bengal. Eighteenth-century one-story huts with thatched roofs were adapted by the British, who used them as houses for colonial administrators. In the 19th century, the "bangla" or bungalow's economy of space, simplicity of form, and closeness to nature inspired the English architects for the Arts and Crafts (Craftsman) movement.

Some people believe that the bungalow is indeed the true American house, giving a physical place for such bedrock family values as practicality, simplicity, and openness. "It was in Southern California that the bungalow…found its true home," said the authors of Architecture in Los Angeles. "Here a young family on the make, a sick family on the mend, or an old family on meager savings could build a woodsy place in the sun with palm trees and a rose garden. The California bungalow, whatever its size or quality of workmanship, was the closest thing to a democratic art that has ever been produced."

 CA Department of Real Estate #01313330