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10 Ways to Add Bungalow Charm Inside and Out

By: Amanda Lecky

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.

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Photo: Design and photography by Bennet, 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.

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

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.

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Photo: Photography by Pierre Galant, Desi, Colorific Architectural Color Co,

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.

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Photo: Photography by Hausman. Design b, Drury Design,

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.

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