Recognizing a Bungalow

You’ll know it’s a Bungalow when you see a “cozy one storied dwelling, with low-pitched roof and very wide eaves, lots of windows and an outside chimney of cobble or brick,” wrote Sunset Magazine in 1913.

“American Bungalow Style” (Simon & Schuster, 1996) reports that bungalows often can reflect a range of architectural movements from their day: Queen Anne, Arts and Crafts, Tudor, Prairie, Pueblo, Spanish, English Colonial Revival, even Moderne. The key to a true Bungalow then, lies in its one-story house plan, frequently with a converted/finished attic and unfinished basement.

Here in Portland though, we tend to associate Bungalow's specifically with the Arts and Crafts style. To recognize the classic Portland Arts and Crafts Bungalow, look for bold, square styling; a wide, open front porch; street-facing gables with composition or shingled roofs; a small yard that blends into the neighboring properties; porch pillars, often broadened at the base; and a rough stone, brick or tile fireplace, often framed by symmetric bookshelves or benches. Inside, the woodwork is heavy, square and simple.

Restoring the Bungalow

To retain and add value to this home style, you’ll want to do the following:

Upgrade the roof, electrical, plumbing and HVAC systems, then concentrate on cosmetics.

Don’t make the mistake of polishing or replacing the dark brass in these homes. That patina is what gives it its historical value.

Though the dark woodwork and wide, overhanging eaves makes interiors fairly dark, painting the woodwork can bring down the home’s value. Instead, lighten the home with lots of candles and strategically placed "pools" of light (in the form of sconces, lamps and simple chandeliers).

If the woodwork has already been painted, consider stripping and staining it to bring back the home’s original charm. In the bedrooms, the woodwork can be painted a light color.

You’ll also want to preserve any wainscoting, box-beam ceilings, or wide wood moldings around the fireplace.

Strip and restore any wood built-ins, hutches, pantries, millwork (often oak) and five-panel doors (often fir). To add class to a very simple Bungalow, add mullioned doors with beveled glass to hutches and other built-ins.

Focus on landscaping. The Bungalow era treated the garden as an "exterior room"; link it to the indoors with French doors.

Refinish or restore the floors, which should be wood, tile or stone.

Retain original fireplace materials: stone or brick with wide wood molding on the sides and a mantel above. Fireplaces also may have decorative tile around the edges.

There are lots of windows in a Bungalow, so be sure to add casement windows if you’re making any structural additions. The windows have many panes, particularly large lower panes and small upper panes, or are stained glass with Arts and Crafts designs. Replace any broken windowpanes with authentic restoration glass. If you’re going to replace the windows (a good idea for energy efficiency), then replace the windows with similar wood-framed windows (not vinyl).

If you add a deck, consider making it look like the sleeping porches popular during the time.

Repair any chipped or discolored plaster on the ceilings or walls.

Add an arched opening, flanked with bookcases, to separate the living room from the dining room.

To take a Bungalow from plain to “high style,” you can add beamed ceilings and oak wainscoting in the dining room, and hand-wrought iron or dark-patinaed brass hardware to built-in buffets.

Picking your colors

The Bungalow’s palette is muted: quiet greens (think sage), creams (often muted) and golds (think mustard or orange-hued yellow). Play off the colors found in natural wood, stone, terra cotta and brick.

Decorating your Bungalow home

These homes should look like they were designed after the manner of honest craft traditions.

You can start with cozy amber-hued lanterns hanging from the ceiling, or sconces on the porch or hallway walls. Simple hanging globe fixtures were also de rigueur in this period.

Use iron and copper blacksmithing for pot racks and firewood holders, and iron or hand-hammered copper for fixtures.

Decorate with pottery, coarse weaving and rough-hewn materials.

Try your hand at stenciled decorations on walls.

Bring in Prairie-style lamps with leaded glass panels, art glass shades and patinaed brass bases.

Place a beveled glass mirror over the fireplace mantel, and Craftsman lights on either side of the mantel.

Display candles in hand-hammered copper candlesticks.

Turn a bedroom into a library, complete with dark woods and lots of built-in bookshelves. (The library was the typical hideaway for the “man” of the house.)

Furniture of the period was usually mahogany with mortise-and-tenon and peg construction. Tables and desks sometimes had inlaid tiles or green marble tops.

LINKS PAGE: Find other resources at http://www.craftsmandesign.com

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