The bungalow phenomenon: a modern answer to the shortage below stairs

The servant problem

Several designs for one-storey domestic buildings show the varied interpretations that may be put upon the word “bungalow”, a word that may be made to include anything from a wooden hut in which to play at “roughing it” in the summer holidays to a palatial residence in a tropical land. Whether the dictionary is right with its pronouncement “Bungalow: In India, a house with a thatched roof”, bungalows are frequently regarded as flimsy and undesirable in England through the association of the name with temporary and trivial works.

The fact that a bungalow is often more expensive to build than a two-storey house of equal accommodation comes as a shock to most clients who do not realise that the extra spread of foundations and of floor concrete account for a large portion of the cost of the building. The great practical advantage of a house with only one floor is the avoidance of the stair climbing, which is imposed upon the housewife and her assistants.

The struggle to maintain a civilised standard of cleanliness single-handed in a house designed in days when domestic labour was plentiful often results in the physical breakdown of the mother of the family. Architects are starting to face the design of homes with serious intent to master the problem of their routine of management as well as with the ambition to make a pretty picture with gables and the inglenook, or whatever happens to be the rage.

Bungalow life involves some inconveniences, however, to those used to greater security and privacy in a house with fewer doors and windows on the ground floor.