10 Ways to Add Bungalow Charm Inside and Out

There are few architectural styles as irresistible as the all-American bungalow. Long on curb appeal outside and fine detailing inside, it’s an easy-to-adapt aesthetic with a few tricks of color and scale. Here’s how to get the look in your own home, whatever its style.

By: Amanda Lecky

Photo By: Design and photography by Bennet, Inc, www.bfmarch.com

Photo By: Photography by Wonderkamera. Des, Regan Baker Design, Inc., reganbakerdesign.com

Photo By: Photography by Pierre Galant, pierregalantphotography.com Desi, Colorific Architectural Color Co, colorific.biz

Photo By: Photography by Hausman. Design b, Drury Design, www.drurydesigns.com

Photo By: Photography by David Duncan Livi, Leslie Harris-Keane Interior Des, leslieharriskeane.com

Photo By: Photography and design: Jody Bro, Jody Brown Architecture, pllc., jodybrownarchitecture.com

Photo By: Photography by Onyx and Ash, onyxandash.com. Design by Kelly , Kelly Scanlon Designs, kellyscanlondesigns.com

Photo By: Photography by Lori Andrews. Des, BID, Stephanie Charest Interior Desig, scinteriordesign.com.

Photo By: Photography by Greg Page. Design, Next Level Renovation, nextlevelbuilders.com

Photo By: Warren Jagger Photography Inc

Welcome Home

One of the secrets of the Craftsman-style bungalow is its simplicity: The shapes are solid, and form follows function, from the sheltering front porches to the hefty columns. But the detailing is always rich—a tradition that the team at Bennett Frank McCarthy Architects respected in their renovation of an existing home in a traditional neighborhood well known for its collection of homes of this style. Small elements like the varied widths of the styles in the railings and gable-end detailing, the bands of red trim on the porch columns, and a patterned band in the slate roofing add character in keeping with the heritage of the architecture.

Small But Sophisticated

Bungalows may be petite in proportion, but they’re big on detail as Regan Baker’s design for this circa-1920 bungalow in Carmel, California shows. “A small renovation led to a complete home makeover,” says Baker, who incorporated new driftwood oak floors, board and batten walls, Ann Sacks tile, and an overall neutral palette into the look of this new bungalow home.

Perfect Palette

Color consultant Christina Harris worked with the owners of this 1911 Craftsman bungalow in Altadena, California to choose paint colors that would pay homage to the home€™s architecture and history while still feeling modern enough for a young family with two small boys. Many aspects of Craftsman homes feel timeless, like the Shaker style cabinetry and clean lines, says Harris. Wall colors can be anything from neutrals, to deep jewel tones, to brighter and more modern colors. Adding crisp, bright white trim, makes the feel completely contemporary.

Kitchen Character

Attention to detail elevates even the most traditional kitchen design. Here, designer Diana Burton of Drury Design incorporated beaded inset cabinetry, an arched valance, contrasting finishes, and a striking metal range hood to create a unique look. Dark wood floors help make the room feel warm and inviting and glossy white subway tiles add subtle shine.

Easy Update

When designer Leslie Harris-Keane€™s clients asked for a cozy, comfortable and kid-friendly update for their 1930s Craftsman home, she suggested simple changes to give a more modern vibe while maintaining original character. The fireplace and original built-ins are so special, we knew we wanted to make them the focal point of the room,€ Leslie says. €œFrom there, we chose a blue area rug as a jumping off point. We loved the richness of the blue and the playful, yet traditional pattern. The tailored sofa is covered in a stain-resistant indoor-outdoor fabric -- a must for people with kids!

New Traditions

It may look like a classic Craftsman bungalow, but this house wasn’t built in the 1920s—it’s only two years old. Architect Jody Brown designed it for a young professional couple with a growing family, adapting the traditional style to a modern lifestyle. One thing there was no need to change? The appeal of the classic Craftsman front porch, an inviting element that adds instant curb appeal and outdoor living space.

Family Friendly

When a family of five migrated to Marin County from San Francisco, they found the perfect home in a 1920s bungalow. Designer Kelly Scanlon updated the interiors, allowing the architecture to inspire the design, which relies on a warm color palette, touchable textures, and an overall simplicity in perfect keeping with the home’s heritage.

Finding Focus

Again, the fireplace plays a major role in this updated Craftsman home. The fireplace is the main focal point of this room and is a key feature in defining the space as Craftsman,€ says designer Stephanie Charest. Accordingly, she made choices with an eye to playing up that focal point. The wood stain of the fireplace millwork focuses the eye and picks up on the color of the hardwood floors, but is a nice contrast to the white trim and baseboards throughout the house. The floating shelving adds interest and keep the space current and gives it a more open feeling rather than traditional built-ins. We kept the wall paint in the earth tones to keep with the Craftsman scheme but decided on modern, clean lines for the furniture and incorporated brighter pops of color in the accessories. The trim detail on the beams and columns adds interest to the space and repeats the theme, she says.

Old Meets New

The renovation of a small kitchen in an Arts & Crafts-style house came with a challenge: Making the most of the tight quarters and giving it an updated feel—without sacrificing its architectural character. Nathan Shanklin of Next Level Renovation turned to space-saving appliances, smart storage solutions, and a simple work triangle to solve the efficiency issue. “The use of historic millwork and casework details, soapstone, period tile, lighting, and hardware maintain the home’s Arts & Crafts heritage while the colorful backsplash insert and stainless steel appliances acknowledge the present day," he says.

Suite Retreat

Brewster Thornton Group Architects designed this Arts-and-Crafts-inspired bungalow to showcase the client’s collection of unique furniture, pottery, and artworks. “Staying true to that architectural movement, the design created intimate spaces that feel open, light and airy with vaulted ceilings and large windows. Artistic details throughout the home reflect creativity and fine craftsmanship—-the hallmarks of the movement. Imaginative touches, such as wood carvings in the master bedroom, add a delicate sense of place and celebrate the owners’ style and taste,” say the architects.