I was organizing some old family photographs the other day when I discovered something curious. While drifting back in time, I became conscious of a repeating image lurking behind the smiling faces of my tiny Mother and tinier aunts and uncles. There, in nearly every photograph, stood my architectural heritage. Silent and strong, the humble American bungalow graced the backdrop of every generation of our family over the past century. It’s no accident then that I’m crazy about beautiful old houses. You might say I’m under a spell of sorts.
Enter the bungalow. Humble, yet poised, the bungalow debuted on the American architectural scene at the end of the industrial revolution at a time when Americans were falling out of love with fussy Victorians. Which is fitting given the straightforward nature of my immigrant ancestors.
This new style of house enjoyed immense popularity through the 1920’s though the late 1930’s as an affordable dwelling for families of modest means. For about $1000, the flowing floor plan paired with tasteful artistic appointments meant the typical American household could enjoy an attractive modern home of sturdy construction.
The Arts & Crafts movement came slightly later, and quickly married style to the solid structural elements fundamental to the American #bungalow design. With a low profile and prominent horizontal accents, the bungalow sports one to one and a half stories beneath a low-pitched hip roof that spreads comfortably into a wide overhang. Beautifully exposed rafter tails, beams and brackets beneath gables, and square columns; the bungalow bestows a sense of welcome congeniality. As tiny as a portico or as wide as the house, the front porch defies pretense by opening directly into the living room. Some regard the front porch as the true hallmark of this breed. It was certainly intended as an extension of outdoor living. And that’s exactly how I remember it.
The wide, ascending brickwork alongside the front steps of my Grandmother’s house provided a miniature stage for our childhood performances. We performed flips and aerials off the edge while Grandma pieced together puzzles at her outdoor table. Neighbors wandered over after dinner to share iced tea and gossip on the front porch as we played one last game of tag in the front yard before the evening light disappeared.
The warm glow of golden oak floors and generously proportioned millwork brings quality and light to this 5-7-room abode. And somehow the modest size has never felt crowded to me. With at least one bedroom on the main floor, our parents and grandparents enjoyed a measure of privacy. While upstairs in our slanted bedrooms, we whispered and giggled undisturbed far into the wee hours of morning.
Spellbound, I live and love in my own American bungalow thousands of miles away from those imprinted in my childhood memories. So far away, and yet these familiar bones I call home let me know at the end of each day that I am exactly where I belong.
If your searching American bungalows for sale in #Charlotte neighborhoods…