You might think there’s a contrast between the historic style of your home and the way we live today and wonder how to decorate your bungalow. Not to worry, we have more in common with the homebuyers of 100 years ago than we think!
First, a bit of history on your bungalow:
Architects like Charles and Henry Greene and Frank Lloyd Wright conceived and built grand bungalows around the turn of the 20th century, and more modest bungalow-style cottages began springing up in warm climates as vacation homes. But it was Gustav Stickley in 1906 who suggested that these dwellings were the perfect year-round dwelling for middle-class American families and began selling bungalow kits from his magazine. Many other mills and builders soon followed suit, causing a bungalow boom from 1907-1925.
Gustav Stickley’s The Craftsman magazine was the voice of the Arts and Crafts movement in America. This movement was a backlash to the industrialization of manufacturing, which favored volume over quality, removed the human touch in our home goods, and distanced us from nature. The movement also stood in contrast to the heavy ornamentation of the Victorian era and favored simplicity and quality materials over intricate designs and layers of decoration.
So how does one decorate and furnish a bungalow for modern life, while keeping true to its style? Just keep in mind the three founding principles behind your home:
- Harmony with nature: this style was meant to harmonize with the surroundings. Look for inspiration in your local wild areas. Do the towering evergreens make your heart sing? Then bring that deep green right onto your walls and upholstery. Do the red rocks bring you joy? Paint your walls a rusty hue. These palettes mix beautifully, it’s its Mother Nature who has brought the colors together herself.
- Craftsmanship: As much as possible, use handcrafted natural materials and furnishings in your home. This is a beautiful way that the ethos of the 1920s Arts and Crafts movement echoes today’s focus on sustainability and natural and organic living. Solid hardwood furniture, natural wool rugs and woven draperies not only create a grounded classic look, but they last for the many lifetimes that your home already has. This is sustainability at its truest, when the things you buy today will never see a landfill. And wonderfully, all these classic materials have fantastic contemporary artisans updating the look for today’s style.
- Bungalow style: These homes were meant for informal living, not for pretentious and grand style. So make it work for you and exactly the way your family lives. Do you enjoy television in your living room? Hang it above that fireplace and tuck the components into the built-ins. Want to talk to the kids while you cook? Removing the single wall between kitchen and dining instantly updates to a modern floor plan with minimal renovation.
Make it yours and enjoy!