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Building Styles

Bungalow (1900 - 1945)

Origins --- --- Bungalow Architecture

-- London--- Thunder Bay--- Tweed--- Kitchener-- Ancaster--- Burlington-- Belleville



The Bungalow style is an American invention, popularized in California in the early 20th century. It was brought to Canada in the early 1910s. The Americans got the idea from the British who had copied a version of the banglas style of home, meaning built in the Bengali style. The British built small homes, bungalows, that imitated the style of home they had lived in while in the tropics either with the navy or the East India company. The North American version is very different than the British style.

Craftsman Bungalows - most of those below - were promoted by the Craftsman magazine, published in California. This was a truly American house style, popular with many middle class and wealthy Californians in the early 20th century. Greene and Greene houses were the most well known.

Bungalow Architecture

Bungalows are generally one or one-and-a-half storey homes with broad, low-pitched, roofs that seem to blanket the building. Large porches, overhangs, and verandahs link the bungalow with the usually ample exterior space surrounding the building. Bungalows are almost exclusively residential and are often made of rustic materials such as stone and brick.

The roofs are usually constructed with exposed structural framing. Brackets and braces can be quite ornate, but seldom contain any Classical elements; instead they are more like "Arts and Crafts" designs. In many Bungalows there are sleeping porches or a raised central sleeping area in the middle of the building. Magazines from the first half of the 20th century are filled with Bungalow designs like the ones shown in the photographs below.

Click Hotpoints for descriptions of terms in both text and images.


This classic California style Bungalow in London Ontario is just a gem. The exposed structural roof brackets and two-tiered, low-pitched, roof are indicative of the style. Yellow brick is used throughout Western Ontario in Neo-Classical and Italianate buildings. It looks terrific here with the green and terra-cotta paint colours. The attention to detail and placement of windows is reminiscent of the Arts and Crafts period of British architecture. The long, low profile is reminiscent of Prairie Style architecture in Chicago and northern United States.

Bungalow in London

London Ontario

Thunder Bay

Across Ontario there are many unique variations on the Bungalow style but few are as winning as this one in Thunder Bay. The exterior has charming oriental detailing on the roof and window detailing from the 1930s with multi-panes above large fixed or sash windows.

This house has been included in home shows in the past, and anyone who has visited it can tell you that the interior has the same attention to proportion and brilliant design that is found on the exterior. This house, like many others in the neighborhood, will restore your faith in well-constructed smaller residences.

Bungalow in Thunder Bay

Thunder Bay Ontario


The front porch is a necessary feature on many Ontario Bungalows. This porch emphasizes the long, low, ground-hugging profile.

The lower half of the building is made from local stone, giving it a rustic look. The gabled porch is an extension of the roof, creating an outdoor room that is attached to the interior with the same exposed roof beams that you would find inside. The wood has subtle detailing with sturdy columns and an unadorned fascia.


Bungalow in Tweed

Tweed Ontario


This Bungalow is a little higher than the others with a dormer that makes it a storey and a half. The detailing on this is relatively ornate with paired dentil blocks on the cornice of the porch, "clustered columns" holding up the porch roof and paired braces supporting the overhang. The tympanum in both the porch and the dormer have vertical bar detailing. The dormer has six-over-six sash windows on three sides and wide eaves. The landscaping of the building flows from it emphasizing the grounded and earthy quality of the design.

Bungalow in Kitchener

Kitchener Ontario


This Bungalow in Ancaster appears to be quite small from the front façade. There is a lovely porch with three rustic columns made in the same rough stone that the rest of the house is in. A look at the side of the house, however, shows that there is a great deal of living space.

The roof on this house is not exactly bell-cast in that the sweep from the ridge to the soffit is not curved, but the roofline is still very pleasing, as is the wood detailing on the sides. The sun room - sometimes called a Florida room - on the side is a very elegant residential touch.

Bungalow in Ancaster

Ancaster Ontario


In contrast to the Bungalow above, this one is made entirely of wood. The basic shape is the same, but the porch in this case has four columns with intricate capitals, and the entrance to the porch is from the side.

The roof extends down to the ground level on the back of the house instead of at the front. There is a single dormer instead of a double, and the sun room is somewhat smaller. The chimney and window placement and detailing are much the same as in the example above.

Bungalow in Ancaster

Ancaster Ontario


This seems to have almost the same plan as the bungalow above, but it is constructed of brick with two large brick pillars (one on either side) supporting the porch roof. The dormer is very large, Note that the windows on the dormer as well as on the first floor are Arts and Crafts in style: two large panes below 8 small ones.

Bungalow in Ancaster

Burlington Ontario


This is also an one and a half storey with dormers, but the porch in this case is fully enclosed to make a sun room.

Bungalow in Ancaster

Burlington Ontario


This bungalow is larger than the ones above but still in the craftsman style. The dormer is extended on the second level

Bungalow in Ancaster

Belleville Ontario


This is a very large Craftsman Bungalow in Belleville. It is made with 'clinker bricks', bricks that are irregular in shape and colour. This is a cross over from bungalow to Edwardian.

Bungalow in Ancaster

Belleville Ontario


This is a close up of the 'clinker brick' used on the bungalow above

Bungalow in Ancaster

Burlington Ontario


Bungalow Extra Reading and Films



Blumenson, John. Ontario Architecture A Guide to Styles and Terms. 1978

Cruickshank, Tom, and John de Visser, Old Toronto Houses,Toronto: Firefly Books, 2003.

Harmon, Robert B., The Bungalow Style in domestic architecture,Monticello, Ill. : Vance Bibliographies, 1983

King, Anthony D., The bungalow: the production of a global culture, London ; Boston : Routledge & Kegan Paul, 1984

Murman, Eugene Otto. Typical California Bungalows. Los Angeles : Eugene O. Murmann, 1913

Powell, Jane Svenson, Lida. Bungalow Kitchens . Utah: Gibbs Smith, 2000.

Powell, Jane Svenson, Lida. Bungalow Bathrooms. Utah: Gibbs Smith, 2009.


For information on Neo-Classical architecture in specific areas within Ontario there are some very good books listed under the About page.


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Bracing Three Circle Arch Gable Architrave Column Chimney Bracket Arch Chimney Overhang Roof Overhang Door Surround Muntins Tympanum Dormer Column Chimney Bracket Chimney Dormer Lintel Sill Dormer Column Capital Chimney