Just what is a Bungalow?

Posted by Kris Lindahl on Tuesday, October 20th, 2015 at 8:41am.


Why some architectural styles from the past have endured and others fell out of favor is anyone’s guess, but the bungalow is one that has remained in demand for more than a century. Minneapolis is home to thousands of bungalow homes, spread throughout most of its neighborhoods.

Our clients that are looking at vintage homes often ask us about the differences in the various architectural home styles found in Minneapolis so we thought we’d start clearing up some of the confusion. Since bungalows are so prolific here, we’ll begin with them.


The bungalow originated in India in the middle of the nineteenth century. In fact, the word bungalow means, roughly, “bangla” in Hindustani and was used to describe an Asian architectural style.

The style first appeared in the United States in the latter part of the 1800s on Cape Cod. The original U.S. bungalow was atypical of what would follow, with its two stories and large floor plan. The style took off however, and became the dominant home style in 1905 and it retained its popularity for the following 25 years.


The original bungalow was a one-story home, the dominant feature of which was a large porch with wide eaves to shade the occupants from the heat. Interior features include built-in shelves, cabinets and seating.

Although certain design elements of the bungalow evolved with the Arts and Crafts movement (which incorporated handcrafted items), the “bones” of the style remained whether the home was a Craftsman bungalow or a kit home. These include:

  • One and a half stories
  • An open floor plan
  • Low, pitched roof
  • Stone, wood or stucco exterior siding
  • Horizontal proportions
  • Wide eaves

Still confused? Take a drive through Minneapolis’ Longfellow community, a self-proclaimed “Traditional Bungalow Neighborhood.”

Image: "Bungalow" by W.Marsh - Own work. Licensed under CC BY-SA 3.0 via Commons  

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