glossary of bungalow interior detailsI always feel right at home when I enter a bungalow. Each feature greeting my eye combines with the others to create a charm that warms my heart & tingles my toes. This article, a Glossary of bungalow interior details explains the many parts of the whole that combine to make me feel this delicious way.

In the Glossary, I have entered all the fireplace terms under Fireplace & all the stair terminology under Stairs. I am not addressing window parts here. To view a window glossary of a walloping 27 terms, visit The Craftsman Blog.

I have numerous images for most terms on my Pinterest page, so, rather than providing images here, I will link to my Pinterest page. I encourage you to view the multiple images there. I also link to a few curated YouTube videos. The very bestest way to learn about bungalows is to read & look. (You are enthusiastically invited to follow my Pinterest & YouTube pages!)

Should you decide to go out for a breath of fresh air, you’ll want to carry with you BUNGALOW DETAILS: EXTERIOR- GLOSSARY.

Please alert me if I have missed defining any features that might be unknown to the novice bungalonian.


Base cabinet
A cabinet that sits on the floor & usually support the countertops. Original base cabinets in bungalow kitchens did not have toe-kicks, but ran flush to the floor.

A wide board that is used for hiding any unevenness in the transition where the wall meets the floor. Bungalow moldings are simple & are characterized by straight lines with flat profiles.

Bungalow baseboards were generally painted, other than in grand homes, where they were coated with a clear finish. In earlier times, moldings were made from one of two materials—wood or molded plaster.

Bay window
A window generally consisting of three wall segments. Two side wall segments are attached to the main wall plane of the home, project outward & adjoin a wall section parallel with the home’s main wall surface. Each wall section contains a window (or windows.)

Paneling that features decorative beading & that is used typically on walls (as wainscoting) & ceilings, or on built-in or free-standing furniture. But what’s a bead? A bead is a rounded shape cut into the square square edge of the board. Beads can be simple round shapes, or more complex patterns.

Bearing Wall
Any wall that carries a structural load.

Board & batten
Board & batten is a type of wainscoting using wide boards (usually about a foot wide) overlayed with narrow wooden strips (the battens-usually about 1-4” wide) in an alternating pattern. Used mostly in bungalow dining rooms, the boards would have been stained & topped with a plate-rail supported by corbels.

Battans were also used without boards in between to dress up a room.

Box beam
Decorative ceiling beams, with no structural purpose. The beams are not solid timbers but rather boards rabbeted together, leaving a hollow space. They were available in many variations- size, intersection plans, wood species & type of finish & finish & details, but most were fairly simple. They could be made on site or, like much other millwork, ordered from a catalogue.

Breakfast nook
A small recessed area in a kitchen with built-in table & benches.

Usually built-in to a dining room or butler’s pantry, this piece of permanent furniture has a base cabinet, generally having drawers & doored shelving & a wall cabinet with glass-doored shelves. These pieces are wonderful for storage, especially in a smaller house with a tiny kitchen. They can be very simple or highly ornate. They are generally co-ordinated with the bookcase dividers. You can see many of them in the link in Built-ins below.

Millwork that is utilized as permanent furniture.

Butler’s pantry
A butler’s pantry is a transitional space between the kitchen & the dining room. It is used for storage & food prep.


Pieces of wood trim surrounding a window or door.

Casement Window
A window that pivots on a side hinge much like a door with a handle to crank the window open.

Chair Rail
Traditionally used to protect the walls from getting damaged by chair backs, a chair rail is a molding that typically goes around the room’s perimeter at the chair back height.

Crown Molding
A decorative molding placed at the joint of a ceiling & wall surface. Check out these videos about the use of them in houses of different styles & periods.

A small, projecting rectangular block molding. As you can see here, their beauty is greatly enhanced by little pigs wearing hats.

Dropped Ceiling
A dropped ceiling is created by constructing a ceiling plane lower than the actual ceiling height. A dropped ceiling is sometimes used to save on saving heating costs in our high ceiling bungalows. They often conceal asbestos-impregnated (or not) “popcorn” or “acoustical tile” ceiling, or sometimes, bad plaster.


Fireplace glossaryChimney
The chimney starts at the top of the firebox & forms a tower that extends past the roofline to carry smoke up & away from the house. You can see the chimney on the outside of the house. Here are some extraordinary ones!

A duct for the smoke & waste gases produced by a fire which is lined with a heat & moisture resistant material to protect the chimney structure.

The main component of the fireplace where the fire is built, or an insert is placed. It is lined with heat resistant firebricks.

Located at the fireplace base, it usually extends from inside the firebox anywhere from 16 to 18 inches outside the firebox onto a raised base or it can be flush with the floor, protecting the flooring from heat & embers. It must be made from a non-combustible material.

The decorative ledge placed over the firebox opening.

The area surrounding the firebox’s perimeter, typically ranging from 8 to 12 inches. It protects the home’s interior from the fireplace’s heat & must be non-combustible. The surround provides a wonderful opportunity to employ one of the most iconic Arts & Crafts materials, ceramic tile.

Any electrical, HVAC, or plumbing appliance or article that is attached to the structure. (e.g., sink, tub, water heater, furnace, etc.)

A broad horizontal band of sculpted or painted decoration, especially on a wall near the ceiling or a horizontal paper strip mounted on a wall to give a similar effect. See some lovely examples here.

An inglenook, or chimney corner, is a large recess in the wall featuring a fireplace. This recess which usually houses the flue or chimney, extends wider than a standard chimney & creates a walk-in alcove. See some darling ones here!

The word comes from “ingle”, an old Scots word for a domestic fire and “nook” a spot within a larger space that offers some form of seclusion. They are not common but I managed to find a few on Pinterest for you to see.


Separated glass areas in a window, usually separated by some sort of grid pattern.


As Gustav Stickley wrote a century ago, “no other treatment of the walls gives such a sense of friendliness, mellowness, & permanence as does a generous quantity of woodwork.”

All types of millwork can be viewed in Built-ins.

A strip of wood that is used to cover transitional areas, such as around doors or windows.

Picture rail

A horizontal piece of molding installed just below a ceiling. A hook is latched onto it & then a string is suspended from the hook that holds the picture.

A post or newel that extends to the ceiling height.

Plinth Block
A decorative block of wood often used at the bottom of door casings where the baseboard meets the door.

Pocket Door
A space-saving door style that slides into the wall rather than swinging open into a room or hallway.

From the French word for door, “porte.”

Portieres are curtains between rooms. In homes built before the electricity to run heating & cooling, these curtains allowed rooms to stay toasty from a fire in the fireplace or stove. Many of them are fine pieces of textile.

A shape that is applied to the edge of a piece of wood such as a door or window frame, exterior or interior trim or a window or door jamb.


Smaller, vertical pieces that attach to each stair & support the handrail.

Handrail/stair rail
Sits on top of the balusters and will run the length of the staircase between the newel posts.

The level platform between two sections of stairs.

Newel cap
The decorative top section of a newel post, providing a decorative finish. The ones in bungalows are very simple.

Newel post
Larger vertical support posts, placed at the base, landing & top of staircases. They generally join sections with handrailing & balusters.

The vertical space between one step and another.

How wood flooring reacts to humidity fluctuations & moisture. The less a wood shrinks & expands due to moisture, the greater its stability.

The housings on either side of a flight of stairs, into which the treads & risers are fixed.

The horizontal part of the step that a person walks on.

Transom Window

A window that is placed above a doorway.


Merriam-Webster defines it as “a usually paneled wooden lining of an interior walla lining of an interior wall irrespective of material, and the lower three or four feet of an interior wall when finished differently from the remainder of the wall.”

It originally protected plaster walls from chairs bumping into the wall, & earlier, from riding spurs & scabbards.

So, board & battan is wainscoting, or, boards without the battan, just the plain, bare wall, or a papered wall. (Just make sure your guests check their swords at the door.) Beadboard, when used on walls is wainscoting.

Wall Cabinet
A wall cabinet is sometimes called an overhead cabinet. Wall cabinets are typically hung on the wall above a base cabinet.

TIP: Check out the glossary for bungalow exteriors here!

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OLD HOUSE RESTORATION VIDEOS- Inside a Historic Bungalow

OLD HOUSE RESTORATION VIDEOS- Inside a Historic Bungalow

Character is defined as all the qualities & features that make a person, groups of people, & places different from all others. In architecture, a character defining feature is any element, including the overall shape of the building, its materials, craftsmanship, decorative details, the interior space & any feature of it, as well as the individual aspects of its site & environment.

These videos focus on the character defining features that are typical inside a historic bungalow. They are the visual clues that the house is a bungalow & they differentiate it from other types of houses. They are the elements of the interior, that make a bungalow, a bungalow.

WHAT THE HECK IS A BUNGALOW, ANYWAY? focuses on exteriors, but in these videos, we are stepping through the door. You will notice that all the features, in & out are are in harmony.


Moldings for an Arts and Crafts Home- Authentic details you need to understand. (12:00)
Brent Hull

Brent Hull, master craftsman, shows us the millwork that gives the bungalow its charm.

Craftsman Style Interiors- Key characteristics (5:19)

A short introduction of the key characteristics of the interiors of the Arts & Craft Style created by Gustave Stickley.

Impeccable 1911 Craftsman + Bonus Space in Pasadena | 126 N Meridith Ave (3:03)
Backbeat Homes – Clarkliving

Inside a historic bungalow in Pasadena. The fir woodwork is gorgeous!

Touring Charming 1914 Craftsman | This House Tours (13:07)
This House

View the details of a beautiful American Craftsman house in Webster Groves, Missouri.

TIP: I have curated a great collection of videos for you that are both entertaining & information. Enjoy!

I would be thrilled to see images of your interiors, so please contact me if you would like to share your pride & joy bungalow with the world!

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STOP!!!!WARNING! This post is only for those of you who want to create an authentic period interior & would like some tips on how to do so. It is not written with the purpose of changing anyone’s mind, tastes, or life decisions.

In DESIGNING Part 1, I talk about my friend who turned her beautiful Arts & Crafts home into a nursery school. She was a wonderful mother with a house full of joyful toddlers who could play freely in their home. I admired her greatly & enjoyed watching her children learn how to move their bodies & interact with the material universe.

My series is written to give anyone a hand with designing anything, be it a home, a party, a special outfit. It is basic art theory that is applicable to anything & everything in life. Art theory is kind of like physics- it is merely an explanation of how we view the material world- lines, colors, shapes, sizes, etc., & how we can make them work together to please us.

It is paramount that your home pleases you. You need to feel that it expresses you & it must be a comforting haven. Me, I like a house that tells a story & I find that decorating with items that might have been chosen by its original owners to please me greatly. If that’s what you like, keep reading. If you would like to choose a different ambience, that’s fine too.


1920s familyMy mother had very definite ideas about interior design. I’m guessing that many of these were learned from her mother who, after growing up on a West Virginia farm, strove to become a woman of culture, refinement & taste .

After a life of milking the cows & slopping the pigs, she left her family at a young age to live in town so she could continue her schooling. Bright & eager, she carefully observed how things were done in her new environment. From the precise placement of silverware to the use correct of candlesticks (no unlit candles allowed!) she absorbed the rules of her new life & passed them onto my mother who taught them to her only daughter. Like my bad knees & an affinity for grammar, I come by my opinions on design honestly.

Here’s Grandma Gordie Elsie in 1922, in her cut silk velvet dress, hair styled in a perfectly Marcelled wave, her daughter, my dear mother, attired in the little silk pongee dress that I still keep in a box & cherish. My uncles, look like solemn, miniature men in their ties & 3-piece suits. The very height of 20’s family chic.


My mother had her own irrepressible style sense from a very young age & passed this on to me. “Your home reflects you- your tastes, your aspirations, your experiences. You can be inspired by the work of others, but don’t try to be others. Be yourself!”

The constant lesson, “Be yourself.”

When she was in her 90’s, we spend hours wheeling around Stanford Hospital, Ma hooked up to oxygen & a heart monitor, together, marveling at their spectacular art collection. (After her release from the hospital, we amused ourselves by making scathing comments about the “art’ in the skilled nursing center. We were harsh critics!)

Viewed as a fashionista until the end. Her long nails were always bright red & she never left her apartment without makeup.

And she was always her warm, quirky, uncompromising, opinionated unique self.


1. Less is more- the idea that a restrained hand creates good design. A major Bungalow Don’t is excessive gewgaws. We are not Victorians!

My grandmother’s early life on the farm was delineated by the concept of less. A family tradition still used by my brother & me today is the Southern holiday greeting of, “Christmas gift!” On the farm, each child would receive one gift- a walnut, an orange, a homemade doll & be joyfully grateful.

Arizona desertBy the time my mother was born in 1919, the family was affluent, & my ever-observant grandmother, growing ever more cultured as she attended the theater, visited museums & hob-nobbed with the social elite of her town, had become aware of quality & of the simplicity in good design. A teacher by training & by inclination, she passed these lessons on to my mother. Who passed them on to me.

Re-enforcing these lessons of simplicity, I grew up in the desert of the Southwest with the aesthetics of the Hopi & the Navajo influencing my taste. The desert does not provide anything in abundance & its austere beauty still overwhelms & inspires me. The Craftsman aesthetic melds beautifully with Native American arts & crafts, both using Mother Nature’s gifts in an honest, unadorned manner.

2. Establish your focal point & use every other element to enhance it. Don’t confuse the eye by providing random elements on which to focus. Even with many things to look at, by careful placement, you can guide the eye in the direction you want it to go.

3. No eating in the living room. Oops, that one just slipped in.

4. Lighting is a key element. It directs attention, establishing hierarchies of importance, makes a room functional & establishes mood. Do not create areas of glare. Keep it soft other than where task lighting is required.

One of the most common bungalow interior design mistakes is using lighting fixtures in a modest bungalow that are more suitable in a bungamansion. These pieces will only overwhelm your house, detracting from the lovely features that are there. The Gamble house works because all the pieces enhance one another. The same principle applies in your bungalow.

5. Choose only pieces that you love & treasure. From furniture to textiles to art, better an empty space than the Bungalow Don’t of soulless fillers.

6. The TV does not belong in the living room. However, if you have a small house, you might have no other place for it to sit.

TV over fireplace in Craftsman house- one of the most serious Bungalow interior design mistakes. Should this be the case, please do not place that TV above your fireplace. Your fireplace is a key design feature of your room, your whole house, actually. It is very likely clad in an beautiful ornamental tile & flanked by glass-doored cabinets. Perhaps there are windows with divided lites above these cabinets. These are standout period features & plopping your TV smack in the middle will- I’m going to be harsh here-it will waste them.

I visited some friends in a beautiful Craftsman one Christmas & they had the TV hung over the fireplace blaring out a holiday themed program. I was stunned. The electronic images completely took over the living room & dining room, the Christmas tree & the holiday spirit which I so enjoy in an old house. (This is not that house. This is the Hare House with a Photoshopped Santa just so I could pass the trauma of one of my unfavorite bungalow interior design mistakes on to you. Sorry.)

7. Treasure the architectural features of your house. They are what give it its character & charm.

8. Examples of Extreme Bungalow Please Don’ts-

Painting, removing or otherwise harassing your stained woodwork. My DESIGNING series should help you figure out how to brighten your home without doing this.

Removing walls to change the flow of the house. Example: opening the kitchen to the dining room. The layout of your house is a character-defining feature.

Adding decorative/fake materials to make it fancier. Avoid the bungalow interior design mistakes of thinking that the original features of your dear house could be improved. Putting lipstick on your pig will be more effective.

Any changes you make to a house of any period should go in a backward direction, taking it back to its original design.

9. Make sure there are areas in which kids do not have to be careful. Bungalows are family homes & there must be room for the kids to play.

10. Don’t try to make your home so perfect looking that it feels like a hotel. I have a 100 year old Chinese cabinet that is way too large for my current house. I styled it & it hits the eye more pleasingly with the added bits & bobs, but truly, the proportion is still awful.

Too bad. I love that cabinet & if someday I end up in a tiny tiny, old lady space & have to sleep standing up in it, I’ll just learn how to snooze on my feet.

Yes, I know that one person’s bungalow interior design mistakes are another one’s beauty, but, please check out what our good buddy Gustav Stickley had to say about it in his magazine, The Craftsman, to understand my stance.



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The Craftsman magazine, interior design for the Craftsman houseGustav Stickley brought Arts & Crafts to America from Europe in the early 1900’s. He carried with him both the aesthetic & the philosophy of the Movement, & then did it his way, inspired by the simplicity of the log cabin. He was considered to be the leading authority on architecture, gardens & interior design for the Craftsman house. Should you wish to learn more about Stickley, check out these videos that I have collected about him & his work.

In addition to making & selling furniture, he created a monthly magazine, The Craftsman, “An illustrated monthly magazine edited & published by Gustav Stickley in the interests of better art, better work & a better & more reasonable way of living.”

The magazine was a beautiful vehicle for spreading the word about the American Arts & Crafts Movement as well as promoting his furniture & his stores. It contains articles about the English founders of the Movement, John Ruskin & William Morris & was a key influence on the culture from 1901-1916 at which point it merged with another publication, Art World.

There is a wonderful article about the magazine & its contributions here. I strongly urge you to read it because it tells the full tale of how forward thinking, profound & inspiring Stickley’s beliefs & work really were. These lessons are applicable today, perhaps even more so than they were 100 years ago.

Irene ShepardMost folks think that the articles in The Craftsman were written by Stickley. Not so. He was a businessman with a large operation to oversee so he employed talented people to create his products & his P.R.

When Stickley founded The Craftsman magazine in 1901, Irene Sargent, an art historian & Syracuse University Professor, wrote nearly all of the first 3 issues & thereafter wrote at least the publication’s lead article as well as serving as managing editor & designing layouts. Her writing & the images she chose, taught the public about the American Arts & Crafts Movement & also its predecessor in Europe & in America.

Between 1901 & 1905, Sargent wrote over 80 articles for The Craftsman, shaping the taste of America. The article below, on interior design for the Craftsman house, is stated as being “Editor’s Notes” in the table of contents for the issue. I am assuming that it was written by her, but it may have been written by Stickley himself. It’s a good introduction to the subject of interior design appropriate to our bungalows. In fact, the article was an introduction to the style for most Americans, being part of the first ever published magazine.



In all that concerns household furnishings & decoration, present tendencies are toward a simplicity unknown in the past. The form of any object is made to express the structural idea directly, frankly, often almost ‘with baldness. The materials employed are chosen no longer solely for their intrinsic ‘value, but with a great consideration for their potential beauty. The qualities thus apprehended are traced to their source & then carefully developed by the skill of the craftsman.

In the eighteenth century, the French cabinet makers created charming objects suited to the palaces & castles of the old nobility. They reveled in richness of material: in woods brought from countries & colonies difficult of access; in costly gilding & other applied ornament; in fanciful painting which exquisite delicacy of handling alone saved from triviality & insignificance.

But to-day, with the idea of development everywhere dominant,—in the sciences, in educational methods, in all that furthers human intercourse, comfort & progress—we find the mood of the century impressed upon the material & necessary objects by which we are surrounded. Even our beds, tables & chairs, if planned & executed according to the newer & sounder ideas of household art, offer us a lesson taught by their form, substance & finish. We are no longer tortured by exaggerated lines the reasons for which are past divining. We have not to deal with falsifying veneers, or with disfiguring so-called ornament. We are not necessarily confronted by substances precious because of their traditional use, their rarity, &the difficulty attending their attainment.

American Arts & Crafts chairWe are, first of all, met by plain shapes which not only declare, but emphasize their purpose. Our eyes rest on materials which, gathered from the forests, along the streams, & from other sources familiar to us, are, for that reason, interesting & eloquent. We may, in the arms of our reading-chair, or in the desk before which we pass our working-day, study the sinking undulations in the grain of oak, ash, elm, or other of our native woods, & in so doing, learn the worth of patient, well-directed & skilled labor; of that labor which educates; that is: leads out & develops the hidden Values & qualities of things too often neglected because they are frequently seen.


Stickley, the father of the America Arts & Crafts Movement, lovingly interpreted our country’s aesthetic in his newly invented medium of the time, the Craftsman style. Should you wish to know more about him, I heartily suggest that you watch the wonderful documentary, Gustav Stickley: American Craftsman.

TIP: Move right along onto Part 1 of this series on interior design for the Craftsman house.



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Bare bungalow interiorHere you stand, in your new, empty house. Perhaps you were fortunate to buy a house that needed little restoration, or perhaps you’ve been working for months to rescue it from a tragic combination of remuddling & neglect. And now the paint is dry, the floors are gleaming & the windows slide up & down.

Either way, it’s a blank slate. How do you even begin to fill it, making these echoing spaces a welcoming, rejuvenating home that serves your needs & pleases your eye? And fits your budget.

This series of articles will walk you through the process. Each article builds upon the ones previous, so start here, & read sequentially.

The choices can seem overwhelming so where do you start? You may have received mountains of advice from various sources- family, online, the “experts”  on HGTV & find much of it to be contrary & some of it downright nonsensical.

But, hey! This your house- your retreat, your communication & above all, it must serve your needs well. So, your first task is to determine your own needs.


Beautiful bungalow interiorMost of my friends are very house proud- artists, interior designers, architects, bent on creating magazine-worthy homes & they have the skills to accomplish this.

However, one of the most beautiful Arts & Crafts houses I have ever seen was the spacious home of a large family. Built in the early teens by a man who owned a lumberyard, it was a glorious display of woods from all over the world. Every room was clad in a  complementary mixture of species of the American forest- oak, maple, walnut, cherry, Douglas fir, redwood, chestnut.

A magnificent staircase of a multitude of woods greeted you upon entry.

Throughout the house there were softly gleaming floors, wainscoting, box beam ceilings, wide window & door trim, box beam ceilings.

Truly one of the finest houses I had ever had the pleasure to view, it was regarded by the homeowner simply as a home in which to rear her family. The perfect setting for the most collectable Arts & Crafts furniture, textiles & lighting, it resembled a daycare rather than the A&C showplace it could have been because that was the ambiance that best served this warm, happy, child-centered family.


Your first step is to determine your own needs & the needs of your family. (Mine are in parentheses below each question. I have included them not to influence you, but to serve as a reference when I making choices in putting rooms together in future articles.) These needs can be complex. Fortunately the layouts of bungalows, with their distinct, separate private & public spaces, can accommodate these needs. Some things you should consider are:

  1. If you have children, how can they have space to be kids & learn to handle their bodies without destroying the environment? (Nope, & I did not invite small children to the Hare house. My beautiful quartersawn oak floors were very thin & delicate as were the leaded glass doors of my built-ins, some of which were at floor level. My Tampa house was sturdier & I was happy to have children of all ages bouncing around in it, & often did!)
  2. How can your home comfort & recharge you? Is your greatest joy found in being in the kitchen preparing gourmet meals? Do you draw inspiration from being surrounded by beautiful objects? Is your house mostly a closet or a sports storage facility that you visit only to sleep & prepare for your next adventure? (My home is my point of orientation to the rest of the world. It must be beautiful & filled with objects that delight me. It must bring comfort & gladness to those who enter. In years past, it needed to provide space for a committee to meet, munch on snacks & plan events & occasionally, mischief. It must teach.)
  3. What furniture & accessories will come with you? Do you like them? Which are your favorites? (To the Hare house, I brought little. I moved from a Mid-Century house & sold my collections. I started from zero. To my Tampa house I lugged rugs & art. My master bedroom came fully intact, confusing those seeing it for the first time, who had come upon it in Jame Powell’s BUNGALOW: THE ULTIMATE ARTS & CRAFTS HOME.)
  4. What is your budget? Buying a house & moving are expensive & restoration costs can be high. You will probably need to create your interior over time so you need to decide on your priorities. (I tend to overspend & do not recommend it to anyone!)
  5. Will you decorate room by room? Will you hit the basics & embellish later? (I furnished both bungalows pretty quickly, but embellished for years. I hated my Tampa living room couch & it took me 5 years to find a set I wanted. (And then my cat peed on it which is why I have no photographs!)
  6. What are your skills? Are you handy with a saw, a hammer, a paintbrush? Do you have a natural aptitude for learning these skills? Are you willing to learn? (No. My skills are in design & I am too fussy to learn construction skills. I am really good at assembling a skilled team & coaxing them through projects, educating them about preservation as we go. I taught my handyman to to restore windows!)
  7. What are your physical capabilities? (Uh….)
  8. How much time do you have to devote to the creation of your home? How much attention? (Like with $$$, I devote way too much time to my house, but, every morning I wake up & fall in love again.)
  9. Who will help & support you? Who will oppose you & how will you deal with that? (I’m a fortunate woman to have had a supportive mother & extra-supportive husband. I have educated my friends in historic preservation & made new ones who are as dedicated as I. I have learned much from them.)
  10. What are your favorite colors? Color theory is discussed here, but I always suggest that you start with what you love. (I love purple & you will see in my color articles that I justify the use of purple in Arts & Crafts decor. I love how tones of purple combine with the natural hues of the Movement & dream of ways to use it. Just picture appliqued irises on a linen pillow!)

The above exercise in designing your bungalow’s interior spaces may take you 10 minutes to do or it may take you 10 hours, but, looking into your own heart before making decisions is the best way to protect that heart.

Bungalow Details in InteriorAfter you have answered these questions, read my article on Jane Powell’s book, BUNGALOW DETAILS: INTERIOR. I highly recommend that you read this book because it will guide & inspire you.

Part 2 in this series will cover some basic design points as applied to the bungalow, taking you from the general, as  described in the Introduction, to the specific. As we move along, I’ll link to other articles to read to embellish the information.

Let’s make your home beautiful!


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Arts & Crafts sayingWhat is interior design? It is a combination of art, science & technology that is employed to enhance the quality of our lives. It is also about understanding how people operate in a space in order to make it functional. In this article, we’re going to look at the elements of basic design for a Craftsman house interior

When you’re talking about interior design in a bungalow, you must add history & philosophy, & you must also consider the science of that time as well as the technology & the materials that were available then. For example, the main parts of a house are built with wood- both structural & decorative. The wood available at that time was from old-growth forests. These were decimated over a century ago.

However, though times have changed, basic design theory has not. Let’s go through the basics, starting with the 8 elements, the word element being defined by Oxford as, “a part or aspect of something abstract, especially one that is essential or characteristic.” Example: “The death had all the elements of a great tabloid story.”

So let’s take a look at the parts/basics/rudiments of creating visual harmony- space, line, form (shape), pattern, light, texture, scale & color- to see how they relate to the Arts & Crafts Movement & how to apply them to your bungalow. Then we’ll trot through the principles of design in which you will combine these elements to create a home that pleases you, suits your needs & is within your budget.


When we’re talking about space in interior design, we’re not referring to Buzz Lightyear, nor Howard Wolowitz, the creepy astronaut from Big Bang theory. Space, as applied to creating visual harmony in interiors is a 3 dimensional concept- simply the length, breadth & height of the room.

There are 2 types of space we must consider in our planning.

Negative Space

Victorian roomNegative space is the area around & between objects, what we usually think of when we say space. It allows our eyes to pause & to see objects individually. With the use of negative space, the eye gets a rest.

When you look at Victorian room, you see little negative space. You are assaulted by color on color, pattern on pattern. The Industrial Age made this aesthetic possible with its introduction of mass production. Whereas it may have taken weeks or months to manufacture a single chair by hand, with machines, 100s of chairs could be cranked out in a single day. Ditto for textiles- draperies, rugs, pillows. Add accessory pieces to that & you get a highly ornate room, with no negative space. Even the windows are topped with valences, then heavy ceiling to floor curtains hang down in complex patterns, & are tied back with big, fluffy tassels.

Looking up, the ceiling features a gilded center medallion & multiple moldings. Following downward we may see perhaps 3 more ornate patterns & a fireplace with more curlicue carved moldings before our eyes drop to an oriental rug featuring still more colors & designs. And plopped on the rug is an abundance of furniture, again carved & again gilded.



Enter the Arts & Crafts era, with its protest against the excesses of Victorian design coupled with its elevation of craftsmanship. If you haven’t read the Introduction, take a moment now to do so because in the article there, AN ARGUMENT FOR SIMPLICITY IN HOUSEHOLD FURNISHINGS written in 1901 by one of the foremost influencers of the time, explains the aesthetic beautifully.

The founders of A&C Movement revered nature. When you get that uncomfortable feeling that you need some space, you head outdoors to open vistas & soaring skies- the peace & serenity of negative space. In Arts & Crafts design, each object gets its own space. Perhaps an object is part of a vignette, but individual groupings are displayed respectfully giving each one importance.

Interior of a bungalow

Prior to the Industrial Age other than for the very wealthy, minimalism was a necessity born of scarcity. With the Movement, especially in America with the influence of Stickley, interiors once again became simple & uncluttered. Negative space.

My mother taught me this concept when I was but a wee one. She pointed out to me a piece of jewelry sitting alone in a glass case in a museum. She explained that giving the piece space around it forced you to consider it alone & distinctly communicated its grandeur & high value.

Positive Space

Stickley American Arts & Crafts tablePositive space is the areas defined by objects- architectural details, furniture, textiles, artwork, lighting. The areas are where you want to direct the eye. Which objects you choose & how you place them will determine how the space will feel. Here you can employ all the rest of the elements- form, color, light & texture- to create a mood, tell your story, & enhance the existing features of your bungalow, as well as creating a space that will serve you & your family well.

The well-know statement here by William Morris, “Have nothing in your house that you do not know to be beautiful or believe to be useful,” is a good guide here in creating a visually pleasing positive space. Should you not have the funds to buy beautiful things, please do not be tempted to buy objects to just fill that space. Rattle around in it until you are lucky or clever enough to acquire things that you truly love.

Yin & yang applied to interior design of a bungalowUsing the correct balance of positive & negative space will help you achieve the look that you want. Like the yin & yang of ancient Chinese philosophy, positive & negative spaces are opposite but complement or complete one another & interrelate to form a whole.

An empty room is nonfunctional unless you like to sitting on the floor. It echoes & feels a bit lifeless & depressing. You instinctively want to add something to it!

A cluttered room is often just as nonfunctional. Just watch an episode of Hoarders! It is difficult to keep clean & orderly & your first instinct is to think about getting rid of some of the excess.

Well, it’s my reaction anyway!


Light is a vital aspect of any space. A key characteristic of bungalows is that they tend to be on the dark side. Their shady porches & deep overhangs made them bearable before air-conditioning & their dark wood can feel oppressive prompting people to pull out the paintbrush. (Put it down, please.) Once against, contrast creates interest here & the correct use of color & lighting will make your house more livable & lovely.

If you want to learn more about lighting, please visit my illuminating series of articles that cover this subject.

Even without a spectacular feature by Greene & Greene!

You can read more about Arts& Crafts lighting here.

In Part 3 we’ll take a look at some of the other elements of interior design & consider how they relate to the enhancement & enjoyment of your bungalow!



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