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Origins and Interpretations of the Bungalow Style Home

The term bungalow arose in a region of India known as Bengal, of which most has become the country of Bangladesh. Small dwellings in the area were referred to as bengali, or being of Bengal. These detached houses on small plots of land were usually one story, modest in size and had a full-width front porch, or veranda. British expats working with the East India Company around the early 1700s became familiar with the reference and brought the term back to their native country. The association spread to America with the Arts and Crafts movement and traveled nearly full circle to Australia, where the “California bungalow” style became popular in the early 20th century.


While the term originally implied a single-story modest house, wide and large two-story homes of the bungalow style exist as well. The reference to a modest single-level home tends to be the more accepted connotation and has transcended several styles of architecture in the United States. “Spanish bungalow” in Southern California refers to the thousands of small, single-level stuccoed dwellings common to the region. Some refer to modest Tudor and Colonial Revival houses of the early 20th century as bungalows as well.