Adding Space to your Bungalow without Killing its Character

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A Home Design Tip to Keep your Historic Bungalow Art Inspiring!

Having met many bungalow homeowners, and painted dozens and dozens of gorgeous Craftsman Bungalows around the country, I am aware of the agony faced by homeowners in needing more space  — but at the same time not wanting to deface the charm and simplicity of their historic bungalow.

I am really lucky to be able to see INSIDE many of the homes I paint, so I decided to start collecting examples of the homeowners who do it right. I thought it could be inspirational for others and give design ideas at the same time.   So below is a classic Craftsman home in Alexandria VA. As you can see from the portrait, they added onto the side and back of the home so as not to detract from the historic character of the home. They wanted to create a large kitchen and family room space, and managed to combine the old world Craftsman charm along with a chic modern look that is both roomy and practical.

These homeowners added on but did not destroy the character of their bungalow

So now you get a chance to peak inside!

The new kitchen addition
The new kitchen addition
Another view of the new additional
Another view of the new additional
The new dining room which was added to the back of the main house.
The new spacious dining room which was added to the back of the main house.

This is the entrance from the main original footprint of the home to the new dining room.  I think the transition of historic old world Craftsman to new is done both elegantly and tastefully.

A very tasteful entrance from the old original footprint of the house to the new
A very tasteful entrance from the old original footprint of the house to the new.
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Antique Craftsman windows give a nice effect

Here you see the craftsman charm with this cozy reading nook. It makes me want to nestle into one of the leather chairs, turn off your smart phone and read a good book!

The kitchen, which was added on as part of the new additonal
A warm cozy reading nook

I recently found an article by Suzanne Tacheny Kubach in Small Home Gazette which sums it up perfectly.

“Therein lies the bungalow owner’s dilemma: how to find the space modern living demands while preserving the soul of an old home. Bungalows are so welcoming because the spaces within them are so well-defined; a characteristic too often lost in modern remodels. Whether the house was designed by Greene and Greene, Wright, Stickley, or Sears, Arts & Crafts homes have three essential ingredients: proportion, details and woodwork. Room sizes are proportional to ceiling heights and transitions between spaces are marked with details such as millwork archways, stained glass windows and doors. Remove those details and the space has a sudden identity crisis. Replace them and the room is alive again. In fact, bringing natural woodwork into a room is one of the easiest ways to bring character back to an old house.

“Easy, but not cheap, which is why such details tend to drop out of contemporary designs for large spaces. In her book The Not So Big House, Sarah Susanka notes that too many homebuilders today trade these details to satisfy our thirst for floor space. She observes that in the competition for bragging rights on square-footage, we trade the character—the soul—of our homes.”

I also ran across a very good book called “Updating Classic American Bungalows” by M. Caren Connolly and Louis Wasserman. This book is filled with beautiful color photos of ideas for preserving your bungalow’s unique style while bringing it into the 21st Century.

This idea book shows how to update bungalows. Many were built in the early 1900s, and they need modern conveniences, without losing their unique charm. Surprisingly, the book reports many homeowners are now constructing new bungalows with the unique features of typical “old style” bungalows, plus the latest features that today’s buyers expect.

Wherever possible, the authors explain how to preserve the original bungalow’s advantages. For example, they recommend reusing the original windows after removing, stripping, caulking, painting and reinstalling them with modern weatherstripping.

The book’s focus is on retaining original bungalow advantages while updating the home to today’s standards. Because many bungalows often had dark, dreary interiors (making them feel small) and today’s homes are light and airy, the authors show how to lighten up interiors to make rooms appear larger. Even outdoor decks have been added to create a spacious feel.

I hope you have found this useful!

Leisa