The Californian bungalow was a popular house style in the United States from 1910 to 1939 and became popular in Australia from 1913 onwards, coinciding with the rise of the Hollywood film industry, which popularised American clothes, furniture, cars and houses. The original bungalows in the United States were built to meet the needs of the middle classes who were moving from apartments to private houses in great numbers. They were low cost, low profile and modest homes. The growing suburbs of cities like Sydney and Melbourne, with a similar climate to California, required a low cost solution for housing shortages, the Californian bungalow was a perfect fit.
Today a proliferation of Californian bungalows are to be found in many of the older suburbs of Melbourne, such as Moonee Ponds and Bentleigh. They are highly valued and a sympathetic renovation brings them up to date, improving their liveability and desirability as a family home. Balance Architecture + Interior Design recently renovated Californian bungalows in Travancore and Ascot Vale.
When walls were removed in the Travancore home, it opened up the entire rear living space, creating the effect of doubling the size. A new kitchen was installed with granite bench tops and European electrical and plumbing fixtures. The original pantry area was upgraded with granite benches as well as new shelving and preparation areas. The bathroom was renovated into a larger, multifunctional room with separate bath and shower facilities and, along with the Laundry & Powder Room, electrical mesh heating was laid under the tiles. Floor boards were replaced and windows repaired, including double glazing of a lead-light window.
The kitchen renovation in Ascot Vale was designed to be sympatico with the French provincial style, allow more light to the space and enough room for multiple users. The kitchen was moved to the dining area, giving it visual access to the lounge room and pool. A new leadlight window was installed to increase light levels, while providing subtle colour, and sky domes pour daylight into a naturally dark, internal space. Blue Pearl polished granite benchtops reflect the light.