By Bud Dietrich, AIA
As the Great War came to its end and the Roaring Twenties started, America became ever increasingly an automobile-dominated society. Cars, cheap gas and the availability of inexpensive land created a housing boom in the suburbs and outlying areas. A new house style, the bungalow, came about as the result.
Though the particulars varied from location to location (a Chicago bungalow is visually very different from its Southern California cousin), the bungalow was typically small, with all its living spaces on one floor. The houses typically had five or six rooms, with two or three bedrooms and one bathroom.
As much as these homes were brought about by the growing popularity of the car, it would take a subsequent generation of domestic design (ranches, split-levels, 1970s Colonials) and larger lots to fully integrate the garage with the house. In bungalows, the garage was typically detached and accessed by a back alley or, if the lot was wide enough, a side driveway.
Expanded, renovated and updated, bungalows have an enduring quality that make them enviable homes for today’s family. Many cities across the country have actively promoted the preservation and renovation of bungalows. Chicago, in fact, has a citywide initiative, the Historic Chicago Bungalow Association, to encourage and strengthen the many bungalow neighborhoods in the city.
An interesting side note is that the term “bungalow” originated in India and has Hindi roots. It was used to describe small lodgings and later came to mean a one-story, detached home with a veranda.
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