Bungalows: architecture, inspiration & pictures

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Characteristics of bungalows

Bungalows were originally developed in the Bengal region in South Asia, yet are quite common throughout the world in today’s modern age. However, it should be noted that the word ‘bungalow’ can mean different things in various countries, which results in it also looking differently (and being used for different reasons) elsewhere. 

In South Africa, it generally refers to a small holiday home, log structure or wooden beach hut, although bungalows built with bricks, cement and other materials are not uncommon. It’s a structure that’s normally used for temporary residence, especially in the bush or forest; however, it can also be a permanent residential building. 

Don’t be surprised to discover a bungalow flaunting a thatched roof, as they are quite common, especially in bushveld areas and holiday destinations.

Some different bungalow styles?

Seeing as thatched roofing and timber cladding are usually used for bungalows in South Africa, these structures can have a very rustic or country look about them, yet some modern designs (flaunting concrete walls, roof tiles and metal-frame windows) are not uncommon. 

And seeing as the term ‘bungalow’ usually leads to South Africans imagining holiday homes, most of these structures flaunt a terrace, porch or balcony of some sort, allowing the residents a comfy spot to enjoy the surrounding views, whether it’s of a lush forest, the bushveld, the beach (in which case the structure will be referred to as a beach bungalow) or just a quiet neighbourhood suburb.

Bungalows and two-storey homes

In South Africa these houses are generally aimed at holiday goers. They tend to present very basic layouts and facilities, even though most of them are sufficiently designed for self-catering stays (such as kitchens with adequate cooking space and appliances). However, should one be used as a permanent residence as opposed to a holiday- or weekend home, appropriate amendments and renovations can be implemented, such as increasing indoor legroom, extending the layout of the kitchen, etc.

Bungalows are also quite convenient for the homeowner in the sense that all living areas are laid out on the ground floor. This is also ideal for persons with impaired mobility, the elders or those refined to wheelchairs.  However, a two-storey bungalow is not unheard of in South Africa, especially in areas where prime scenic landscapes are to be enjoyed, such as near the beach. In these cases, either the more private areas of the house (such as the bedrooms and bathrooms) can be located upstairs, or, if adequate space is allowed for, additional living areas (and balconies) can be part and parcel of the upstairs storey. 

But what makes them so appealing? There are numerous advantages that make a lot of homeowners lean more towards bungalows, such as: ·         

-Easy mobility: Since most of them offer all rooms on one floor, mobility is greatly improved when it comes to a bungalow versus a two-storey structure.        

-Charm: There is something appealing about a little wooden cottage with a porch, even though it might not provide a beach or mountain view. The timber design might remind some of vintage architecture, while others can imagine living in a rural location simply due to their bungalow’s design. 

However, some disadvantages are also part of the bungalow package, like:    

Value:  In general, they have a higher cost per square metre than a two-storey home, seeing as, in most cases, rooms are all located on the ground floor, meaning it takes up more land space. The roof then also has to cover more real estate, which can be costly when it comes to replacements or repairs.

Smaller bedrooms: A large living space is the main idea of the typical bungalow, which means other areas need to do with les legroom. But of course this can be rectified with a bigger property and budget.

Costs of building (and buying) bungalows (and other houses)

Numerous building companies in South Africa offer services for those seeking houses, regardless of whether they are made of timber or brick (or another material), or to be used as holiday homes or permanent residences. However, a range of factors can influence the final asking price, such as: · 

-The relevant supplier       

-Choice of building materials (and finishes, especially for interior layouts) ·         

-Size of the structure to be built 

-Location (i.e. is it close to a school or shopping mall, how far away is the nearest highway, etc.)   

Future plans and conditions of the neighbourhood (poor maintenance will result in the area looking neglected, negatively affecting how potential buyers view homes in that area). 

2017 saw an increase when it comes to house-building, as the average building cost of new housing was amplified by 6.9% to an average of R6 614 per square metre. 

When it comes to houses smaller than 80 m², which would typically include bungalows, the average building cost and the year-on-year percentage change per square metre was R4 436 (up by 14.7% from R3 869 in 2015). Houses of 80m² or bigger was R6 683 (increased by 4.7% from R6 383 in 2015); and that of flats and townhouses was R7 659 (up by 6.2% from R7 213 in 2015).

How can Homify help?

Fortunately, Homify offers a vast range of housing options that includes anything from seaside bungalows and country houses to multiple-storey designs in up-class neighbourhoods – literally anything to suit various needs and personal tastes. Have a look at our ever-increasing collection of residential structures, in South Africa and abroad, to find the design and inspiration for your housing needs. 

In addition, we also provide links to professional services such as architects, interior designers, landscape designers and much more to help you fine-tune select areas in and around your house.