When we first told friends, family, and other architects that we were writing a book about Bungalows, the typical response was formed by their geographic location. "Oh! Berkeley Bungalows!" Or, "I just love the Chicago Bungalow." Everyone seemed to think that the Bungalow was a housing style particular (and dear) to their own region. When we went on to explain that our book would profile Bungalows all over the country, including new Bungalows, they were surprised. Surprised and a little perplexed. "What exactly is a Bungalow?" was the next (and immediate) question.
A ubiquitous housing type, Bungalows are accepted more as a backdrop to the residential landscape than they are understood as an architectural style. We hope the examples in the following chapters will show that the beauty of the Bungalow style is that it is a universal housing type as well as a vernacular architecture, responsive to its site and context.
We moved to Milwaukee after many years of bouncing back and forth between the two coasts. Growing up, Louis lived in a beautifully detailed and compact modern house, designed by his architect father. From an early age he appreciated excellent craftsmanship, respect for materials, and deep community roots. Caren's experience as an "Army brat" was much different. Her housing experiences varied from living in converted barracks in Carlisle, Pennsylvania, and a cottage in Carmel, California, to a villa in Phnom Penh, Cambodia.
But we both knew what we wanted for our first home. We wanted a Bungalow.
Louis appreciated the attention to detail and the flexibility of the plan. As an architect, he knew that he could knock out a few walls and not lose the integrity of the Bungalow style. Caren appreciated the Bungalow neighborhoods, with their sense of place. The Realtor appreciated that she had two people who wanted to look at the 50 Bungalows listed with her agency. As is the case with many Bungalow families, we moved in, refinished the floors, remodeled the bathroom, added a bath, and contemplated moving. Somehow, like many Bungalow families, we have never gotten around to making that move.
Low to the ground and centered, Bungalows tend to weather fashion trends better than other housing types. Never known as status symbols, they are quiet, comfortable, delightful, and enduring. They grow on you and change with you. We really enjoyed telling the stories of the owners of the Bungalows in this book, and we look forward to inspiring people to explore all the opportunities Bungalows offer for creating a house that celebrates individual families while being a wonderful neighbor.