There is no doubt what the most popular housing type in America was in the first part of the twentieth century. While traditional house types such as the Georgian Colonial remained fashionable, and even some Victorian designs continued to be built into the 1920s, the bungalow dominated the landscape from California to Florida and Michigan to Texas.
As early as 1904, the bungalow was being touted as the best type of house for the general public. They were the first houses available to the masses, but the bungalow was more than that.
The Arts & Crafts advocates believed that design could change people’s lives. They believed that the design of objects mattered, they believed that the built environment mattered, and they believed that people living in these houses, having these objects, raising their children there would result in a wholesome life, upstanding citizens, and a peaceful and prosperous country.
If that is the case, imagine what a home along the Southern California coastline would be like -- your very own beach bungalow.
(Some of our South Bay clients know the feeling.)
Everyone, even in Kansas, has a secret fantasy of living by the ocean. Partly it’s the thrill of sharing space with something wild and beautiful that can turn potentially destructive, of enjoying a view that constantly changes but can never be spoiled. And partly it’s the city dweller’s fantasy of living close to nature and enjoying a sense of freedom.
In the opening paragraphs of Moby Dick, Herman Melville describes the Sunday crowds in New York who are drawn unthinkingly to the water’s edge, just to gaze over the ocean or admire the ships in harbor. The city has changed in every way since that novel was written, but the South Street Seaport is still thronged on the weekends, and so are many other historic havens.
Homeowners who have taken refuge in a beach bungalow -- whether it is a vacation home or their primary residence -- experience interiors that can be at once, practical and beautiful. The home is fresh, cheerful and relaxed -- and it has the ocean views to prove it.
Other characteristics that may maximize the beach bungalow experience could include features like:
- High performance insulation in walls and roof
- Low-E high efficiency windows and doors
- High efficiency furnaces and fire places
- Venting skylights for passive cooling
- Deciduous landscaping to filter direct sunlight
- Natural fabrics throughout the house
- More ocean views from well-planned upper floor renovations
If the bungalow itself was said to be therapeutic and life enriching, we can only imagine what the beach bungalow has in store for its occupants.