Californian Bungalows in Australia

I’ve mentioned before that many of the homes in my area are Federation style homes. The other architectural style that’s prominent around here, is the Californian Bungalow.

via L J Hooker

The Cal Bung, as it is affectionately called, became popular in Australia in the 1920’s. It was imported from Pasadena, California in 1916 by an Australian Real Estate Agent who assembled it for show in the Sydney suburb of Rosebery. It caught on rapidly and was so popular that not many other styles were built in the 1920’s.

via Real Estate View

It even underwent regional adaptations being built in local red brick in Melbourne, local liver-coloured brick in Sydney and in limestone in South Australia. The Queensland version was elevated and made from timber and galvanised iron roofing.

They were typically of sound and solid construction. They were often built of rustic materials including rough-hewn sandstone, heavy timber and wood shingles. The roofs were low pitched with two or three assymetrical gables with pillars supporting the front verandah. They were generally positioned on a good-sized block with a large backyard and usually had room for a driveway and a garage as cars were becoming more popular during the time of construction.

via Simplified Bee

The attractive brickwork at the front often changed to common brick, which was cheaper, down the sides and to the rear of the house. On the inside, the floor plan was more open than the Victorian and Federation homes which came before.

Colour and decor by Inside Out Colour and Design

They are ripe for renovating, as they are usually close to public transport within a relatively short distance of the capital cities. Families tend to add another level either into the roofline or ontop in the southern states, or build in underneath in the north. The back of the house can fairly easily be extended to take further advantage of the indoor/outdoor living and create open-plan family areas. Usually the many period features such as exposed beams, leadlight windows and ornate ceilings are retained.

Decor by Inside Out Colour and Design

If you would like assistance with renovating your Californian Bungalow, contact us for on on-line or in-person consultation.



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  1. We live in a renovated cal bung in Murrumbeena Melbourne and would like advice on lighting in the original lounge room and dining room. All original features have been retained such as battoned ceilings, picture rails and fireplaces. The rooms aren’t very ornate or large. We want to go traditional but not too traditional as the furniture we buy will have a modern feel without being too modern as we have a modern extension at the back. Any suggestions

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