I know I have been a blogging slacker… but the truth is I have been waiting for my new (MUCH faster) computer to arrive so that writing and publishing these things won’t take half a day to do (no joke). Unfortunately my new little baby arrived on Saturday, only to be what Apple refers to as “Dead On Arrival” (DOA). I had to send it back and hopefully will receive a new not dead computer sometime this coming week… fingers crossed.
But – I cannot wait until then to talk about the amazing day I had Sunday at the annual Bungalow Heaven Home Tour in Pasadena.
A little background:
This area got it’s name around the mid 1980’s when residents in the neighborhood started noticing that builders were coming into the community swiping up lots, tearing down the wonderful old bungalows and building apartment complexes. The neighborhood banded together to change the zoning laws to make sure the lots were zoned for single family houses only – driving away the builders. These conscious neighbors recognized how special their classic bungalows were and in 1989 were able to convince the city council to designate the neighborhood a Landmark District – which means that the area has some regulations on what kinds of alterations you can make to your bungalow! Yay for preserving wonderful architecture and a neighborhood of caring, thoughtful home-owners! 1989 was also the first year that the Bungalow Heaven Neighborhood Association started their now annual home tours.
The BHNA house tour consists of 8 houses each year to participate – and they are all basically in walking distance. Visitors can get a ticket and tour these wonderful gems and read about the architects/builders, past owners and restorations.
I was literally in Bungalow HEAVEN.
Because the House Tour has been going on since 1989, many many houses in the neighborhood have participated over the years- as you walk along the streets you often see small green signs in the front yard stating that those owners have participated in the house tour in the past.
What I learned today, is that the style of “bungalow” encompasses more than just what I used to associate with that term – which until yesterday was traditional California Craftsman houses..
“Bungalows” can also be of other styles, like Spanish style houses or English Tudor Revivals:
This wonderful house (above) has similar features to mine 1) elaborate chimney that “rises out of the roof, adjacent to the porch” (and the photo above it even has that S shaped decal on the top portion just like ours!) 2) beamed ceilings in living room, 3) A vintage California tiled fireplace… the house above had a Batchelder tiled surround – mine as we know is a combination of Claycraft and California Art tile. 4) large arch framing the dining from from the living room. 5) Steep pitched roof!
Unfortunately I wasn’t allowed to take photographs of the interiors in any the homes on the tour, but I will say that many of the homeowners had taken the restoration of their bungalows to the next level! Several had period furniture in their living and dining rooms and even restored their kitchens with historically accurate cabinetry and hardware.
One of the houses was a “Living History Home” where actors pretended it was April 25th 1929 (appox. 3 years after the home had been built) and led groups through the house with full costume and scripts play acting what it would have been like back then (lots of “Swell”s and references to Prohibition!).
Yes, that is a Model T Ford in the driveway- manufactured around 1917, the “homeowner” was in the front “tinkering” with his old car. Not exactly historically accurate, but they incorporated it into the play.
The term “Bungalow”, is a tricky term – but from what I gathered from the tour, the following characteristics are generally identifying features to a true bungalow:
1. Either one or one and half stories.
2. Interior built-ins.
3. Built between 1900-1930’s
4. Influenced by the Arts and Crafts movement, but not necessarily in a Craftsman style.
5. Front entrance enters straight into the living room without a foyer.
I am proud to finally discover that our house is a officially a Bungalow!
Along the way between houses I snapped photos of some of the more interesting architectural homes.. here is a little sample of the ones I loved most: