People in North America may think that the bungalow originated in the early 1900s, but its history spans a much wider time. "Bungalow" comes from the Hindi word, bangala, meaning "of Bengal." It was once used to refer to a peasant hut that the British used as temporary lodgings in India. Later, the term was applied to the more spacious and aesthetically pleasing homes of British officials. It is from this connotation that the word "bungalow" came to be attached to large homes built during the Arts and Crafts movement. It was also used to denote smaller houses or large cottages.

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Bungalow-style Homes: A Perennial Favorite

The bungalow became popular in the late 1890s and early 1900s due to its low cost of construction and low profile, which was popular with pre-World War I families. The style became so prominent that many cities have a "bungalow belt" in older sections, where these homes were mass-constructed to meet the needs of middle-class families who were moving out of apartments and into their first homes.

The cheap construction costs also made these the preferred design for vacation residences. Bungalows are a popular vacation home today and the term is still considered synonymous with vacation real estate in some parts of the country.

Today, what we know as a bungalow is a single family home. It is usually a single story or has a small upper story built into the sloping roof, known as "one and a half story." The homes tend to be small, especially by today's standards. In America, the bungalow style has been paired with other home styles to produce a number of recognized types, such as the American Craftsman, California, Ultimate, Chicago, Milwaukee and Michigan bungalow styles. While these properties are still recognizable as bungalows, they each have their own distinguishing features.

Bungalows are ideal starter and downsize homes, as they are often comparatively small. Due to their single-story construction, privacy is easy to achieve by strategic planting of shrubs or other concealing vegetation. The smaller footprint of these homes is an advantage for people looking to minimize their overall environmental impact. Bungalows convert well to energy saving technology, such as ENERGY STAR qualified windows, doors and appliances.

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