HOW TO TRANSFORM A TRADITIONAL BUNGALOW
The charm of a bungalow expressed on the exterior is the small, dollhouse proportions. Moderately steep roof pitches are typically interrupted with a dormer or two. A tiny front porch completes the charming look. In a somewhat nauseating word, these bungalows are “Cute”. That doesn’t mean that the interior has to mimic the exterior.
The "Cute" layout of the interior is expressed by small rooms, archways, and rooms that must double as halls due to the lack of square footage. It is perfectly fine to take a departure on the interior to simplify your lifestyle and/or showcase contemporary furnishings.
This bungalow, with the traditional layout unchanged, had a large living room (A) that accommodated furniture where the traffic wasn’t.
The front door (B) entered directly into the living room. Although abrupt, the lack of front entry was workable. The family entry (C), located on the side just off the driveway posed a huge congestion problem. The fact that people entered on the basement stair landing and had three more stairs to get to the kitchen (D) compounded the inconvenience. The kitchen (D) occupied slightly more room than the only bathroom (E), and had virtually no storage. The dining room (F) was almost part of the kitchen, and all traffic poured through these rooms. When the baby arrived, the high chair could only fit in the living room. It was clear that space was tight, and there was no possibility for an addition on either the sides or the front. The homeowners and I discussed lifestyle. Open kitchens are traditionally located at the back of the house, and a front door opening into this very casual area would send an extremely casual statement. They were not only fine with that idea, but embraced it. They have the luxury of a basement family and activity room, which will work for overflow.
Their decorating tastes consisted of high-tech contemporary and their furniture style – Mid-Century Modern. What they were after with their remodeling project was function, function, and a bit more function. We descrambled the family entry (G) space by removing a short wall and widening the stairs to allow two people at once or one person with stuff to pass. Since we removed the kitchen, we could install two full-length windows (H), offering visual freedom in this area.
URGENTLY NEED STORAGE SPACE
By removing the right walls, we rerouted traffic to avoid the new kitchen(I) workspace. Building a closet style pantry (J), enclosing the furnace flue, and lining the interior pantry surfaces with wire shelving created urgently needed storage space. Even the doors have wire shelves, and operated a door activated light switch.
The resulting kitchen layout (I) is actually quite traditional except for an unusual island (K). We used a regular rectangular dining table (L), butted up against a self-supporting 42" high counter (K). The counter can be used as a serving counter or for something decorative with multitudes of candles, and for everyday use, will undoubtedly become the mail drop. Beneath this counter, tall cabinets house small kitchen appliances. The size and location of this unit serves to somewhat shield the dining table from the front door. Although unusual, this dining/counter arrangement is highly functional and space saving. The table can be moved out into the living space when big dinners are planned.
You might be wondering about resale. I feel that, even though non-traditional, many buyers would prefer this highly functional and family friendly layout over the Before. What an ideal starter home or retirement home that is easy to care for.
MARCIA LYON is a professional remodelling designer & freelance writer. Reach her at 416201-8867. E-mail Marcia@creatingspaces.net, or visit www.creatingspaces.net