Boy asleep in bungalow dormerFrère Jacques,
Frère Jacques,

This childhood ditty expresses the origin of the architectural term, dormer- late 16th century (denoting the window of a dormitory or bedroom): from Old French dormeor ‘dormitory’, from dormir ‘to sleep’.

Let’s talk about this architectural, bungalow feature that is as charming as the little song. Perched atop a sloping roof, a dormer has 2 parts. The first part is a vertical window, usually sash or casement, bringing light & air into the room. The second is a roof which may be gabled, hipped, eyebrow or shed.

Typically, the type of roofing material on the larger, main roof is duplicated on the smaller dormer roof. Dormers are generally finished with the same architectural elements as the rest of the roof line.

Like chimneys, the base of the dormer penetrates the main roof. Flashing is a flat, thin piece of metal (most popularly steel) that is used in the construction of the roof to help waterproof any intersections or protrusions, such as a chimney or a dormer. It helps to direct water away from the seams & joints, & down, off the roof, preventing it from entering the structure. Unfortunately, even with flashing, a roof with a dormer protruding through it is more susceptible to leaking.


Bungalow DormerHIPPED DORMER

On a hipped dormer, the roof slants back as it rises, and this occurs on the front as well as on the sides. This means that the hip roof of the dormer slopes upward on all 3 sides of its structure.

One good thing about this dormer is that it has eaves all around it, so its walls & windows are protected from severe weather conditions. The eaves also provide shade in the summer, a good feature in an upper story, & an energy saving feature.

Another big advantage is its wind resistance. I live in Florida. We love wind resistance!

Hipped dormers, not surprisingly, are often found on houses where the main roof is hipped as well, such as this one.

Gable bungalow dormerGABLE DORMER

A gable is the triangular area of a wall under two intersecting roof pitches. Not surprisingly, a gable dormer is the same triangular peaked shape & its steep sides are very good at shedding water & snow.

It is the type most usually seen on any style of house & are often used on bungalows. They add the greatest amount of headroom & can be used effectively in multiples, marching across a roof. A single gable dormer can hold one or several windows, depending on its size.

A gable dormer can even be a clipped or jerkinhead gable.

Meanwhile, here’s a good example of a gable dormer with multiple windows.



In contrast to a peaked gable, shed dormers are often horizontally proportioned & do not draw attention to themselves like the more showy gable dormers. They are easy to recognize by their single-slope, or monopitch, roofs.

A shed dormer can cover extensive portions of the roof, sometimes almost the full expanse of the house, creating a large, usable space. The larger ones can hold several windows but they can be smaller, holding only a single window.

Visually, a shed former breaks up a tall, sloping roof line, drawing attention to the door & windows. It’s an opportunity to add color on a house with a deep porch which might have windows that are obscured by shade. The highly visible dormer windows of this house clearly display the beautiful palette chosen by the owner of this meticulously restored bungalow in Mexico, Missouri.

Eyebrow bungalow dormerEYEBROW DORMER

This charming detail, not surprisingly, harkens back to the Middle Ages, before glass was used in windows, when metal or wooden posts were used, thus allowing light & air into the space while providing some protection from the elements.

The dormer appears to roll up from the roof, requiring shingles that are flexible such as cedar shingles, slate, clay tiles & even small-diameter split logs.

You see eyebrows not just in dormers, but also over entries where they provide shelter, & above windows on upper stories of buildings.

In the hundreds of miles of bungalow gazing I have done, I have been unable to find & photograph a single eyebrow dormer. Ple-e-e-ase if you have such a photo that you would allow me to use, I would love to hear from you. I am also very curious as to where they might be found in the U.S. They are scarce as hen’s teeth in Tampa Bay.


Row of Chicago bungalow dormersYou gotta love a Chicago bungalow (You can read more about them here.)  & they don’t let us down when it comes to dormers. For the houses there, being built on narrow lots, dormers are the obvious way to add extra space. Many bungalows in Chicago were constructed with them & a number of dormers have been added on over the past 100 years.

These delightful drawings are the work of Wonder City Studio, a pair of talented artists who admire & have a profound understanding of old houses & love Chicago. On the left we have an interrupted front gable dormer or a classical pediment. The triangle on top is visually set apart from the area below by the horizontal beam, forming a pediment. The one in the center is a complete mystery to me & I am hoping that my friend Jo-Anne will help me out. The one on the right is a hipped dormer, sitting on a main roof that is also hipped. It is really cool how this bungalow shows so many angles & shapes.

When you look at a Chicago streetscape, you see a neat row of unique homes with dormers of different shapes.

I recommend that you read Jo-Anne’s article WHAT THE HECK  IS A BUNGALOW ANYWAY? so you can get a good idea of what these dormers sit on!

Old typewriter


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Bungalow under the sunEver wonder about awnings for your bungalow? Summer is fast approaching, and with it comes a big electrical bill from the AC running around the clock.

This year, we upgraded one of our AC units to a newer, more efficient model and we’ve added another layer of curtains in the sun facing rooms. Each of these items should help our house stay cooler at a lower cost, but there’s another project I’d like to tackle before the extreme heat: installing awnings over our windows and valances along the east facing front porch. Here in Florida, even the morning sun can be brutal!

You may have wondered why you don’t often see awnings on bungalows. Well, back in the day they were definitely there but the same sun that is overheating and fading you, destroyed them and with the coming of HVAC systems, they fell out of favor. But, as you can see from these images, they are appropriate and attractive and making a comeback as energy costs rise.


This was John D. Rockefeller’s winter home in Ormond Beach, FL. If awnings were good for a Rockefeller, I figure I can’t go too wrong.

Awnings used to be a more common element on old homes before the advent of central heating and air conditioning. However, as old awnings wore out, people became less reliant on passive heating and cooling and didn’t bother to replace them. It’s a shame. I love an old house with striped fabric awnings. It makes for a lively facade, both practical and decorative.

Bungalow awnings in St. Pete

Bungalow St. Petersburg, FL streetscape made even more interesting by awnings.

National Park Service Preservation Briefs provide information on preserving, rehabilitating, and restoring historic buildings. These publications help historic building owners recognize and resolve common problems prior to work, recommending methods and approaches for rehabilitating historic buildings that are consistent with their historic character.

According to the Department of Energy, awnings can reduce heat gain up to 65% in south facing windows and up to 77% on windows facing east. Awnings reduce stress on existing air conditioning systems, and make it possible to install new HVAC systems with smaller capacity, thus saving purchasing and operating costs. Air conditioners need to work less hard, less often. When used with air conditioners, awnings can lower the cost of cooling a building by up to 25%. – NPS Preservation Brief 44

Mission style bungalow with awnings

Mission style bungalow with awnings.


Mission style house with both fabric awnings and permanent overhangs. The spear style awnings are most commonly found on Mission & Mediterranean Revival style homes. 

  • Cost effective way to reduce heat gain
  • Fixed or operable options so you can retract them in a big storm 
  • Reduces fading of furnishings, rugs, wood floors and window treatments
  • Protects windows from the elements
  • Adds to a lively, colorful streetscape
  • Historically made of canvas duck, but now there are fabrics with more longevity
  • In the 1950s metal awnings became popular and can still be found on many older homes


This article was written by Jo-Anne Peck of Preservation Resource, Inc. & Historic Shed. Jo-Anne is a historic preservation professional with a degree in Building Science, a Master’s of Fine Arts in Historic Preservation & a licensed Florida Building Contractor with over 25 years experience in preservation. She has kindly provided these photos & this information based on her vast knowledge of bungalows.

To learn more from Jo-Anne, visit WHAT THE HECK IS A BUNGALOW ANYWAY?

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OLD HOUSE RESTORATION VIDEOS- Bungalow Character Defining Features

OLD HOUSE RESTORATION VIDEOS- Bungalow Character Defining Features

These videos show & tell the story of bungalow character defining features, the architectural bits & pieces that separate a bungalow from other houses. They are the features that you expect to see on a bungalow that has been well-cared for, or authentically restored. They are a good guide in planning & performing your own restoration.

The term bungalow refers to the general shape of a building, not its style. In fact, one of the best things about them is that they were built in a variety of styles. This is why you can drive down the street of a bungalow neighborhood & each house is charmingly unique, inspired by a different style from Swiss Chalet to Victorian to Japanesque to Tudor.

I chose this format of conveying this information because it allows you to walk around & through a bungalow, rather than seeing bits of it out of context. I have chosen these particular ones because they contain great information that will help you know a bungalow when you see one, & will hopefully answer the question, “Is my house a bungalow?”

Enjoy the videos!

THE VIDEOS- Bungalow Character Defining Features

Brent trots us through a brief look at the history of the Arts & Crafts Movement, but spends most of his time discussing bungalow defining features. He shows us some bee-you-ti-ful examples of bungalows.

A fascinating, in depth look at the Arts & Crafts Movement.

The marketing of the bungalow. An amusing story of how the style made a lotta $$$ for a lotta folks.

The history & details of the adorable style.

If you want to read more about these dear houses, visit my article here.


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Bungalow Terrace plaqueINSCRIPTION:
“Bungalow Terrace [in Hyde Park, Tampa, Florida] was developed by Alfred Swann and Eugene Holtsinger [major developers in South Tampa] on what was Morrison Grove in 1913. The Bungalow Style home was modeled after the bungalows in California because of the low cost, adaptability, craftsmanship and low maintenance.

The first home was built in 1913 at a cost of $4,500 including the land. In 1916, a Pergola (bougainvillea) was built that extended from the south end to the north end of the terrace. The pergola was ten feet high and extended 345 feet with sitting benches and individual covered archways to each bungalow. In 1924, due to severe rot and deterioration the pergola was removed. Known for its many resident writers through the year including the best-selling author, Alec Waugh, this development consists of 19 homes which share a common sidewalk.”


So, here I am on a balmy winter day, getting ready to enter Hyde Park’s Bungalow Terrace.

My first adventure into a bungalow court was visiting an interior designer, specializing in Arts & Crafts, in L.A. Her little house was a mini-me of my bungalow, inside & out. It was fascinating. I was never able to learn who the architect of my house, was, nor for the court. I’m still kinda upset by it.

Bungalow courts originated in Pasadena California, & their intelligent, aesthetic & practical design motivated Pasadena’s City Council to require that all multi-family units be built around a landscaped courtyard. Great idea! And an idea easy to import to Florida, another state enjoying massive growth & needing housing. A brilliant model, developers today would be wise to mimic it to solve today’s housing shortage & to satisfy people’s need for green space & for community.

This court is in South Tampa, Florida in the neighborhood of Hyde Park. It covers a whole suburban block. Platted in 1916, the first residents began moving in in 1920. The variety of architecture featured is totally charming.


Here’s an airplane bungalow gem on our tour of Bungalow Terrace, in Hyde Park, Tampa Florida. You can see the care that went into designing this court by the use of multiple materials- stout red brick columns, use of both shingles & lap siding, paired outriggers, and multiple window styles.

Though the first ones in the court were built in 1913, the records show that this one was not built until 1939.

Bungalow Terrace, Hyde Park

I have a huge weakness for unusual columns, particularly when paired with such a large overhang. I do love chunky ones, but I especially like it that the developer of this bungalow court in Tampa, Florida took a few minutes to say, “Let’s not make little houses that look all the same,” half a century before Pete Seeger sang about suburban houses made of tick-tacky.

House in Bungalow Terrace

This cute little airplane bungalow, features a sleeping porch with a 360 degree panoramic view, shingle siding (unfortunately painted) & limerock columns & a big honkin’ stone chimney!

Its lot size is 38×63 & the house itself, with 2 bedrooms & 2 baths & the house is 1,360 sq ft. Small but packed with great architectural features!

Go Bucs!

Bungalow Terrace Tampa


Once again, the original developers used some great detail in this smaller (1,236 sq. ft.) airplane bungalow home in Bungalow Terrace in Hyde Park, Tampa, Florida. The bold paint job emphasizes the structural elements of the roof overhang.

Bungalow Terrace rriplex


A bungalow court triplex converted from a single family home, in Bungalow Terrace, Hyde Park, Tampa, Florida.

Built in 1916, like several of the others, it has a pop-up sleeping porch & wonderful stone columns & chimney. Unfortunately, what appears to have originally been an open porch has been closed in.

Once again, the original developers used some great detail in this smaller (1,236 sq. ft.) airplane bungalow home in Bungalow Terrace. The bold paint job emphasizes the structural elements of the roof overhang.

Bungalow Court Hyde Park


This is another of the delightful homes in the Hyde Park Bungalow Terrace neighborhood. The composition of the front facade is wonderfully balanced with multiple front facing gables that pull the eyes from shape to shape & detail to detail.

Developed over several decades, the neighborhood of Hyde Park in which the court is located, was built as an upscale district with a variety of architectural styles. Today it is a beautiful example of how historic preservation can benefit a community, financially, aesthetically & culturally.

Bungalow Terrace Hyde Park Burgert Bros.

Burgert Brothers was Tampa’s leading commercial photographic firm from 1917 to the early 1960s. Established by brothers Al & Jean, the studio focused primarily on photographing the Tampa Bay & surrounding areas. We are indeed fortunate to have the Burgert Brothers’ photographs which tell the tale of Tampa’s development from small town to major city. I made good use of them in the film I produced for my Tampa bungalow neighborhood.

I hope that you have the opportunity to visit this charming community, looking very much like the historic image above, yourself some day.

TIP: To learn more about the value of preservation, visit my page HERE!


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Custom Bungalow shedThere are so many things to deal with when you have a historic bungalow, even after the primary renovations are done. So, it’s quite forgivable if you are tempted to head off to the local shed supplier and stick a pre-made metal shed in the yard just to have a dry place for the lawnmower or the barbeque, or here in Florida, your hurricane shutters. Hm-m-m, I guess in colder climes, it can hold your storm shutters or your screens, depending on the season.  But pre-made sheds that don’t match your bungalow can be an eyesore in an otherwise perfectly renovated or restored property, so don’t be hasty in your purchase.

A properly designed shed that complements your historic bungalow can also enhance your property, both aesthetically & financially. A really cute one can amuse you & make up for the dollhouse that you never had. Nestled in your garden, it can be an elf house that doubles as a utility shed

Green historic shed

A new shed designed to match a historic Craftsman bungalow.

Until I started a shed company with my husband, I can’t say I spent much time thinking about sheds or their design. But while working on a large preservation project, the residents of the newly rehabbed houses started clamoring for sheds that were allowed within the historic district and it came to my attention that living within a historic district created some problems for anyone that wanted storage and didn’t already have an outbuilding (I’d been lucky to have had a historic one-car garage that came with each of the 1920s homes I had owned at that point). Since most stock metal sheds weren’t allowed by the local preservation review boards, residents had to hire a designer, get local preservation approval, then get a contractor to build the shed (including permits since they are required for most sheds here in Florida).  That lead us to starting a whole company dedicated to designing and building historically appropriate sheds and thus changed the direction of my life for a while (but that’s a whole ‘nother story that has mostly ended). 

Along the way I found that it was fairly easy to design a historically appropriate shed for historic homes if you follow a few straightforward design rules. I will attempt to lay them out here in an organized fashion.


It seems obvious, but start with thinking about what you want to put in the shed. What are the big items? How much room do you need to maneuver around them? Where can shelves go? Would it be worth having loft storage for items like holiday decorations that you only need to get out once a year rather than making the shed larger?

Think about things you don’t have now, but might put in the shed someday. We had a customer who bought a 16′ kayak after we built her a 14′ long shed – she ended up having to store it outside along the back wall.

Think about possible future uses. Would you want to finish out your shed for a home office or pool house at a later date? Or even turn it into a guest house?

Bigger can be better, but if you build it, you will fill it. And the bigger you go, the more it costs, so you want to be sure you right size it.

Mission style shed design

Shed design to complement a Mission style bungalow.


How much room do you have for the shed? And how much room will be left after you build it? Then think about whether your shed would interfere with future yard plans like the pool or deck you’ve been dreaming about. Next check your local zoning codes to see what any required side and rear yard setbacks would be. Many places will not allow you to place the shed right on your property line, so you may have less space than you think you have. We’ve installed sheds in places where they required as much as 10′ setback from the rear property line!

Next, consider how the shed placement can help your yard layout. Are there desirable views you don’t want to block? Or are there undesirable things your shed can hide if you place it right? How will you landscape around it?  Does the area where you’d like to place it flood or have standing water after it rains? Are there trees in the way (don’t forget to look up at branches as well as the base)? And are there utility wires in the way, above or below ground?

Shed design for Craftsman bungalow


Bungalow shed vent

This shed vent was designed to match the one of the main house.

Since most sheds are just boxes with a roof, I find duplicating the roof details to be the easiest way to make the shed complement the main house. Start with the roof shape. Is it a gable, hipped, jerkinhead or some other shape? Or if your house has a combination of roof shapes, such as a hipped main roof with a gable porch, decide what you find most prominent from the side facing where the shed will be built (often the rear).

The next part of the roof to match is the roof slope. A shallow roofed shed won’t look good next to a Folk Victorian with a steeply pitched roof, even if it is the same roof shape. You don’t have to match it precisely, but there are phone apps that will help you determine your house’s roof pitch to get you in ballpark.

Then study the eave details. Does the house have wide overhanging eaves or narrow? Are there exposed rafters or boxed soffits? Do the tails have a specific design? These are all elements you may want to consider in your new shed.

And lastly, are there brackets or outriggers or other details you’d like to include in the shed design? And if there are roof vents, what shape are they? As sheds aren’t generally climate controlled, this is an important design and functional feature, so you might as well make it look right.

Bungalow shed with jerkinhead roof

A shed designed to match a bungalow with a jerkinhead roof and rounded rafter tails.


What material is on the exterior walls of the house? If it’s siding, what is the profile and exposure? If its stucco, is it smooth or textured? If you can’t match the main house exterior due to costs or availability, are there materials that are complementary? For example, will lap siding look good next to your brick house (the answer is usually yes)?

Hipped roof bugalow shed

A hipped roof shed with boxed eaves and lap siding.

Similarly, plan to match the roofing material of the main house as closely as possible on the shed. Or, if you will be replacing the main house roof soon, choose the future roof so you don’t have to change out the shed at the same time.

Shingles on a bungalow shed

Have fun with the other design elements from the main house as well. If there are shingles on the gable of the house, it can be a great feature on your new shed as well.

Then look at the other details on the house such as windows, doors, and trim. Choose windows of similar design and proportions as the main house, although you can choose a simpler sash pattern if you’d like (for example, 1/1 windows rather than 6/1) since the accessory building can be subordinate in design as well as size to the main house. Just as important, look at the exterior trim on the windows and door and plan to match them in the shed.

Finally, choose paint colors for the shed that are either the same as the house or a complementary pallet. Or, go crazy and use it to try out a color schemes that you are considering for the main house.


Just kidding. You still have to build it. Of course, designing the perfect shed for your bungalow is only step one in the process, but hopefully these tips will help you feel confident that your new shed will indeed be designed to be a perfect companion to your old house. If I get ambitious, I will write up some tips on building the shed so it will last as long as your historic home as well.

In the meantime, you can peruse some designs for bungalow sheds in the Historic Shed Collection – Liberty House Plans or you can get a custom design done at http://historicshed.com.

TIP: Read the post about a shed that we built for Suzanne HERE!

This article was written by Jo-Anne Peck of Preservation Resource, Inc. & Historic Shed. Jo-Anne is a historic preservation professional with a degree in Building Science, a Master’s of Fine Arts in Historic Preservation & a licensed Florida Building Contractor with over 25 years experience in preservation. She has kindly provided these photos & this information based on her vast knowledge of bungalows.



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BungalowA bungalow is the sum of its parts- its shape, its size. its layout, its materials. All these things are called “character defining features” & are the reason why we love bungalows.

I greatly enjoy cruising around, happily snapping pictures of bungalows. Though sharing characteristics, each one is unique unto itself & displays its own personality. My Eagle Rock bungalow & my Tampa bungalow were unalike as 2 bungalows could be, but when you looked at each of them, they were immediately identifiable as bungalows. In fact, they had pretty much identical lay-outs which is why I chose the one in Tampa.

Each month on Facebook, Jo-Anne describes the unique details 8 bungalows. At the end of the month, these bungalow details are immortalized in the blog. We encourage you to use the GLOSSARY to look up any terms with which you might not be familiar.



A double barrel shotgun bungalow. This house was built as a duplex with two long, narrow units, each having a hallway running from front to back. It was later relocated and remodeled as a single-family residence.

Bungalow Characteristics

A set of twins. It’s not uncommon for a builder to use the same set of plans to build homes, sometimes on adjacent lots and sometimes scattered throughout a neighborhood or town (builders certainly still do this today). It’s interesting to see the alterations over time with these two Folk Victorian bungalows. As with a previous image we posted, these homes were relocated in the Ybor City National Historic Landmark District in Tampa.

There is so much to learn by studying historic plan books. The floor plans are so informative, but never have as many bathrooms as everyone seems to want nowadays. And often they are a bit shy of modern closet space preferences.

I find the colorized images are great for getting a sense of period colors, as well as where colors are applied. Here we have a color for the wall shingles, a color for trim, and a different color for the window screens. The green roof is the prominent color in the image, which is not something we see too often in new home construction. My own house, built in 1911 has vivid green metal shingles originally. I was a bit surprised by how bright the green was when we found them under the second story porch.

A delightful doorway with sidelights and transom. Wood window screens with appropriate hardware. These are a few of my favorite things.

This home doesn’t have any half-timbering, but the steep roof pitch and stucco exterior definitely shows its Tudor Revival styling. It’s shielded by a privacy hedge, but there is a nice open terrace in front of this house along with that darling integral arched portico. I am always drawn to this story-book style until I think about having to roof it.

More bungalow eave brackets to love. This is a detail I will definitely use on a design for new construction at some point. Simple, elegant, and less than ordinary.

When your average tapered Craftsman column just isn’t enough, you go bigger!

From Suzanne- My baby brother was a major chunkster & every time I see a house with elephantine columns I see his cheery little self running toward me on his chubby little legs.

A row of bungalows in Ybor City just because I like them. Believe it or not, these homes were all relocated and renovated as part of a highway improvement project in Tampa, FL. 64 historic buildings were relocated out of the way of the proposed highway, most of which were bungalows. At some point I will post a lot of photos of these homes from relocation through renovation.

This article was written by Jo-Anne Peck of Preservation Resource, Inc. & Historic Shed. Jo-Anne is a historic preservation professional with a degree in Building Science, a Master’s of Fine Arts in Historic Preservation & a licensed Florida Building Contractor with over 25 years experience in preservation. She has kindly provided these photos & this information based on her vast knowledge of bungalows.

TIP: Read Jo-Anne’s other articles on bungalow details in our Features section, HERE!



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