Single storey homes and Bungalows

July . 2015

Why is a single storey home not always necessarily a bungalow? Most people would think they are one and the same thing but this is not actually the case. Although the accommodation of many bungalows are set out on just one level and can therefore be correctly described as single storey homes, not all single storey homes are bungalows. It is difficult to precisely define the difference between the two, rather like what makes one property a cottage and another a house; it really comes down to style and design.

The word bungalow originates from India and the term ‘bangalo’ referred to a house built in the Bengal style which were usually small, detached, one storey and often with a wide veranda. Initially a term adopted by British sailors in the 1690’s to describe a hovel, as the British Raj expanded they became ever more extensive and rather grand homes used by officials who by the late 19th and early 20th centuries began replicating them on their return to these shores. Their numbers proliferated in Britain and America in both suburban and rural settings with their style amended to suit the vernacular and in this country were often designed to the Arts and Crafts style in vogue at the time. Bungalows and single storey homes still remain hugely popular today although they only account for around 10% of the UK’s housing stock.

A bungalow is not necessarily limited to being just a single storey high as in the case of chalet bungalows which have a second floor, albeit one that is smaller than the ground floor and built into the eaves. This is a particularly common form of construction in the USA where the various states have their own specialist designs.

Historically in this country, other than those properties belonging to the nobility, most homes were single storey, rather like crofters cottages in the Highlands or Ireland. If you look carefully at some old cottages, you can see that they were built at different stages, sometimes with stone elevations at ground level and a brick faced upper floor. This was because stone used to be widely available and cheap before the industrial revolution saw the advent of the mass production of brick.

Nowadays, single storey homes often tend to be either older buildings such as former agricultural barns that have been converted to domestic use or ultra-modern, contemporary homes built to a style that would not be associated with a bungalow.

Although normally known for selling more traditional country cottages and village houses, Rural View has recently agreed the sale of two single storey homes in the South Wiltshire area. One a former cow barn requiring updating near Sutton Mandeville whilst the other is a superbly presented property in Brixton Deverill that was once part of a range of bull pens. Both properties created terrific interest demonstrating the demand for this type of construction.

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