Anyone who’s spent any time in a sleepy UK suburb will be familiar with the concept of a bungalow. These simple, one-storey homes commonly house elderly or retired couples, individuals or families and usually come with a decent patch of outdoor space. The biggest selling point to potential buyers will often be the lack of stairs—ideal if you’re getting on a bit or have any kind of mobility issue. The fact that bungalows tend to be situated in quiet suburban streets rather than dense inner-city areas also increases their appeal to a certain demographic. Some bungalows come with a small built-in loft space, but often all key living area will be laid out at ground-floor level—including the bedroom. This can be off-putting to those who feel more secure sleeping on a higher storey, but the benefits of these simple homes will often outweigh this drawback. Although this type of abode may feel like a national institution for anyone whose grandparents had one, they actually originated in South Asia and before spreading the world over.
The first bungalows on UK soil were prefabricated single-storey dwellings used as seaside holiday homes. Between World Wars I and II, this new type of dwelling exploded onto the architectural scene nationwide, particularly in coastal resorts and quiet suburban areas. Although the fad died down and the term ‘bungalow’ become highly unfashionable, there remain many of these homes in the UK today. They tend to be simply designed, in contrast to the ornate and elegant houses of previous centuries, and are often constructed with an exposed brick finish. Some popular international bungalow styles are American craftsman, ranch or Mediterranean style, with ‘chalet bungalows’ featuring a second-storey loft sometimes converted to a bedroom. The types and styles of bungalows vary hugely from one country to another, so do your research and consult a professional if you’re considering investing in one.
In the UK, the term bungalow is invariably used to describe homes built on only one storey, while the same rule does not always apply internationally. But if we go by the British definition, the most notable advantage to buying a bungalow is the lack of stairs. This of course is only an issue if you have reduced mobility or are wheelchair bound, but remains an appealing feature to those seeking a long-term retirement home. Another plus when opting for a bungalow is that they tend to be built in quiet, suburban streets with a generous front and back garden. Because they’re not often located in bustling urban areas, they hold a real appeal for those seeking the quiet life. In terms of disadvantages, one-storey homes are not the most economical use of your land. You’ll end up with a far greater living area if you opt for multiple storeys, which is why bungalows are seldom sought out by large families. Another drawback is that you’ll have less light and relatively unimpressive views from your ground-floor windows, although this can be offset with a well-tended garden. You’ll also need to consider whether you’d be comfortable sleeping at ground level, both in terms of personal preference and neighbourhood security.
The cost of building or buying a single-storey home will vary hugely depending on location and your requirements. These days, you’d be hard pushed to get your hands on a bungalow for less than £200,000, but if you do your research you never know. If you’re wanting to build your own, the amount you’ll need to fork out will be affected first and foremost by the cost of the land you’re building on, as well as the materials and labour used. As a very general rule, new homes can be built for anywhere between £160 and £250 per square foot, but you’ll need to consult a professional architect to get some up-to-minute figures and guidance about the right type of home for you. In the meantime, take a look through homify’s online magazine for copious visual inspiration!