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Bungalow, Sweet Bungalow

By Marilyn Hoffman / September 25, 1987

The ``bungalow,'' says Patricia Poore, editor of the Old-House Journal, was at one time the most fashionable home style in America. Because millions of them were built between 1900 and 1930, the bungalow is the most common old-house style in the US. Long out of favor, this compact little house, known for its simplicity and functionalism, is now attracting the attention of home buyers, historians, and architecture buffs. The word ``bungalow'' comes from India. It means a low building with wide verandas and deeply overhanging eaves. But it was in California, and eventually across the country, that the bungalow flowered here. The style became such a rage that there were even poems and songs written about it.

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On the inside, the typical bungalow had the latest modern conveniences, such as built-in furniture and white-tiled bathrooms. Oak was the favorite wood, both for woodwork and furniture. Natural materials such as unpainted stucco, stained wood shingles, and uncut fieldstone were often used on the outside. A pergola porch with twining vines often completed the rustic picture. The bungalow became the showcase of the ``ideal American home.''

The bungalow fashion eventually faded because some builders created cheap imitations, giving the style a bad name. But many thousands of cozy versions have survived intact, appealing to a new generation of owners, who appreciate their charm.