Bungalow Style: Creating Classic Interiors in Your Arts and Crafts Home

Treena Crochet
Bungalow Style: Creating Classic Interiors in Your Arts and Crafts Home
The Taunton Press, 2005
192 pages, color photography Hardcover
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bungalowstyleIN THIS HANDSOME and relatively inexpensive overview of living spaces afforded by bungalows in the Craftsman, Prairie and Mission styles, interior designer and style historian Treena Crochet makes the case for the bungalow as a practical, comfortable and beautiful house form that can be as satisfying today as it was a century ago.

Surveying bungalows that are classic and contemporary, original and renovated, large and small, Crochet reminds us that bungalows combined an efficient use of space with interior detailing that made that space appealing to the senses. As readers of American Bungalow can certainly attest, the combination was a success then and is proving its enduring value now.

“The Bungalow represented one of the most efficiently designed housing types,” she writes, incorporating many space-saving devices such as built-in chests, bookcases, and window seats that “streamlined the home’s interior while providing efficient function. …

“The value of built-in furniture has only increased as time has passed [as] our 21st-century lifestyles require more and more storage and open space. The thoughtful incorporation of built-ins makes these homes even more desirable in the housing market today.”

She demonstrates that the design solutions that originally made small bungalows livable were upscaled for larger Arts and Crafts-styled dwellings, and homeowners seeking to enlarge small bungalows without ruining them can do so by emulating those solutions. Done faithfully, remodels and expansions can add space and increase functionality while retaining, even revitalizing, a bungalow’s classic appeal.

Moreover, as a recent cover story in the Wall Street Journal’s SmartMoney magazine amply demonstrated, the design innovations pioneered by bungalow builders — “small little extras” like built-in storage, window seats, porches, pocket doors, art-glass windows and custom trim—are becoming the hallmarks of new middle-class luxury homes being built by owners who are recoiling from (and in some cases even abandoning) supersized McMansions.” (See “The New Middle-Class Luxury Home,” by Anne Kadet, SmartMoney, May 2005, pp. 61-70.)

Crochet works through her arguments and demonstrations in an orderly fashion. After an opening chapter on the main bungalow styles, she addresses, in order, woodwork (doors, windows, trim, stairs and built-in furniture); interior details (wall treatments, Arts and Crafts colors, ceilings and floors); and finding and creating space in kitchens and bathrooms for expansion and for more storage and special uses. In her concluding chapter, “Today’s Classic Interior,” she lays out approaches to modernizing lighting and climate control and devotes several pages to the “heart and soul” of a bungalow home: the fireplace.

Photographer Randy O’Rourke teamed up with Crochet to provide most of the images that illustrate specific details and their relationships to the larger interiors of which they’re a part. A resources section at the end of the book includes “architects, interior designers, craftsmen” on one page and “suppliers” on the other; the suppliers list would be more useful if it included an indication of what items each supplier provides, but links to Web sites are included.

Overall, Bungalow Style confirms that yet another author has discovered that smaller-is-beautiful bungalows were great houses then and perhaps even more so today.

John Luke

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