So: what is a Bungalow? It’s a word most people have heard, though not everyone knows exactly what it means. And even for those who are fairly familiar with it, it’s worth taking a closer look. In its simplest terms, a Bungalow is a Detached home that consists of just one storey (sometimes one and a half). The living areas are all on one level, which has plenty advantages (as we’ll discuss).
The Bungalow, as we know it here in Canada, can be traced back to the early twentieth-century in the United States of America. This style of home became increasingly popular in California, and spread from there across the USA and even further, across the border to Canada. With a rapidly-expanding middle class, more and more people could afford a Detached property for themselves, and Bungalows were very much in style.
You can trace them back even further, though. The word for Bungalow actually comes from Bengali, and it entered the English language just over three centuries ago. Prior to the independence of India, Pakistan, and Bangladesh, when the British Empire still counted these territories among their colonies, British sailors picked up the word BanglaGhor, which translates from Bengali roughly to “Bengal-style house.” Officers returning to Great Britain brought the word with them, and over the years, it evolved to become one of the most widespread styles of home in Canada (they remain quite popular in Bangladesh, too).
Detached Homes naturally offer more privacy than other styles (multiplexes, townhouses, condominiums, etc.), and this is one part of their appeal. Another is the simple fact of their layout and design: having all of the living areas (living room, kitchen, bathroom, bedrooms) on one, single storey, they do not require the use of stairs as much as a two-storey or townhouse would. This makes them quite valuable for anyone with mobility issues. Of course, most bungalows in Canada include a basement, and there are things like Bungalofts (more on that shortly), but Bungalows, in short, require much less climbing up and down of stairs than other options.
Despite being a subset of Detached Homes itself, there are actually even more variations and styles of Bungalows. We won’t necessarily focus on these here – though we will be highlighting both Bungalofts and Raised Bungalows. If you have a specific vision for your dream home, or are curious about the properties of any given listing, though, of course we’ll be happy to elaborate. But for now, just to give you an idea of varieties of Bungalows…
There are Chalet Bungalows, which have a small loft either above the garage or the main living room (more on Bungalofts shortly); Ranch Bungalows, which feature all of the living spaces on one side, and ‘public’ (or ‘entertaining’ areas and garage access) on the other; and even Overwater Bungalows: bungalows built on sturdy stilts to stand above a body of water. Needless to say (hopefully), you’ll be able to find examples of the first two here in Kitchener-Waterloo, but not so much the latter (the Caribbean would be your best bet; much warmer waters than the Grand River, though we still think it’s grand.).
Raised Bungalows and Bungalofts
The Bungaloft is a novel idea: what if you took the conveniences that a Bungalow offers (able to live on one floor primarily; privacy), but added a bit more living space? Bungalofts are often referred to as 1.5 storeys, as opposed to one storey. They feature an additional room, whether above the main part of the house, or even the garage.
You can typically identify a Bungaloft by an extra set of windows above the main floor; they’re a great idea for anyone looking for a bit more space, whether an additional inhabitant, versatile entertaining space, or a guest room. Bungalofts will cost more than a comparable Bungalow.
The other common variation of the Bungalow is the Raised Bungalows. As the name implies, these are built so that the main floor is partially above ground. The main benefit of this layout is that it enables the basement to have larger windows, and therefore, more sunlight. Raised Bungalows feature basements that feel less like basements, essentially. Unlike Bungalofts, Raised Bungalows won’t necessarily cost more than comparable Bungalows.