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Australian Architecture Series: The California Bungalow

In this blog series, we’ll describe the most common historical housing styles in the country. Here, let’s check out the typical features, history, and origin of the California Bungalow and its relevance in today’s housing.

In this article, we’ll look into one of the most popular housing styles in the country today — the California Bungalow. As the name suggests, this came from the United States. It first came to the country in the early 20th century when the Hollywood film industry began to boom. People like glitz and glamour, which lead to the increasing popularity of cars, clothes, furniture designs, and architecture magazines from America. Seeing photos of Californian Bungalows, many Australians adapted the home design.

Features of a California Bungalow

  • Usually a one or one and a half storey structure
  • Commonly made of brick, weatherboard, and timber
  • Has a sloped, triangular roof
  • Features stained glass windows
  • Has a front verandah
  • Have balustrades made from wood or exposed/rendered brick
  • Has timber flooring
  • Has bay windows
  • Has simple, open floor plans with casual, laid back interiors
  • Always has a hallway entrance
  • Has decorative interiors
  • Constructed using natural building materials

Why did people build California Bungalows?

The California Bungalow home design made it to Australia because our climate is quite similar to California’s. Both places enjoy warm summers and mild winters. With a few modifications, the structure became more suitable in our country.

The construction of California Bungalows surged between 1913 and 1920 when people identified it as affordable housing in the suburbs. Australians built their bungalows using local building materials. Inside, they created laid-back, informal, and open living spaces.

How significant are these today?

Some California Bungalows built before are still present in the suburbs today. The owners still adore the original structure but they renovate to restore the house’s beauty. Some people extend their California Bungalows as well. 

If you need help renovating a California Bungalow, contact our designers. We have renovation experts in Sydney and Melbourne who are ready to help you.

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