Craftsman in the Sand
McIntyre Tile Company

book review: Updating Classic America: Bungalows

M. Caren Connolly and Louis Wasserman, Updating Classic America: Bungalows, Taunton, 2006

Now available in paper, Connolly and Wasserman’s Updating Classic America: Bungalows (originally published hardbound in 2002) provides a practical guidebook for homeowners contemplating bungalow renovations, remodels, and enlargements. This handsome, well illustrated volume, is full of useful bungalow information and perspectives - a bit of history, a stab at defining the always illusive bungalow concept, useful sketches of the basic “elements of style,” both internal and external, and a sidebar glossary of basic architectural and building concepts.

The heart of the book, though, is a primer for updating bungalows to modern needs and sensibilities - keeping the distinctive and comfortable bungalow essence while adapting for space, light, ventilation, efficiency, and today’s kitchen and bath requirements.  One chapter addresses interior remodeling - particularly the opportunities and challenges involved in converting attics into bedrooms, baths, and studies.  Another describes the overhaul (“frog to a prince”) of a ramshackle 1912 Seattle bungalow with just 900 square feet of usable living space into a modern tiled, floored, and wainscoted 3000 square foot gem, with the formerly uninhabitable attic and basement converted into useable space.

Loaded with bright original photographs, briskly written, with plenty of before and after floor plans and sensible advice, Updating Classic America: Bungalows is a valuable addition to the ever-growing bungalow literature.