Real Estate Perspectives
April 04, 2024 | Suzanne Powers

Milwaukee Architecture: The Bungalow

The Milwaukee Bungalow is an ionic architectural style home found throughout Milwaukee suburbs like Wauwatosa and Shorewood, Wisconsin.

Milwaukee Architecture: The Bungalow

What is one of Milwaukee's signature styles of architecture? The bungalow.

The adorable one and one-half story homes that dot Milwaukee's North Shore and Wauwatosa built between 1902 and 1925 are typical of the Bungalow Style. This popular architectural style originally adopted from India, is also modeled after the Chicago Bungalow. The Bungalow made its first appearance in America around the 1880s up to the late 1940s and can be found today in all parts of the country. Bungalows are particularly popular in New England states, California and the Chicago area. A large portion of the older homes of Milwaukee are bungalows in a similar "Arts and Crafts Style" to those of the Chicago Bungalows. One distinction in Milwaukee is that there is usually a gable perpendicular to the street in the front facade of the home. Bungalow porches may be either open or partially enclosed. Many Milwaukee Bungalows have the same basic floor plan.

Common Bungalow Features:

  • Low-pitch roof lines on a jerkin-head gabled or "hipped" roof
  • Woody interiors, hardwood floors
  • Deep overhanging eaves
  • Exposed rafters or decorative corbels under the eaves
  • Front porch beneath an extension of the main roof
  • 1-2 bedrooms are often found on the Parlor floor, with the others on the second level
  • Natural, artificial or electric fireplaces
  • Ornamental plaster
  • Stained or leaded glass windows in the entry, dining room and cabinet doors
  • Clap board siding with fronts of varying styles; brick, stucco, stone

Bungalows were originally built as single story homes and later were made into two story homes when builders would often add dormers to the roof, allowing room, light, and ventilation for attic bedrooms. Such houses they called 'semi-Bungalows.' As more of these semi-Bungalows were built, compromise was made; the region and the clientele had changed. There's also an odd hybrid labeled 'a duplex bungalow' which consists of a converted attic to finished living space-maximizing the homes square footage possibilities. Most well-known architects of the Bungalow Style are Charles and Henry Greene, 'architects who shed their neo-Colonial and Queen Anne motifs to explore the possibilities of a true craftsman-built home'. In addition, a group of architects called the Chicago School; Tallmadge and Watson and not to mention the famous Frank Lloyd Wright took pride in design of the Midwest Bungalows.



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