Common modifications

Many bungalows have retained their original character.

Many of the bungalows built around the country are still largely in their original condition, although in many cases dark timber inside has been painted a lighter colour. 

Renovation trends

Modernisation of villas

Villas and transitional villas were often ‘modernised’ in the 1920s by having bungalow features such as bow windows with shingles below incorporated. In some cases, the modifications were so extensive that it can be difficult to determine what was original and what was a modification (Figure 1).

Bungalow renovations

Because there is often insufficient yard space for an extension to the front of the house, coupled with the fact that the bungalow’s distinctive features such as a bow or bay window, leadlight glass, shingles and the substantial porch are all facing the street, front facades of bungalows have generally altered very little. The most typical modification at the front or side of the house was the enclosure of the porch to create a sun room or enclosed entry area. 

Where modifications have been carried out, they have usually been made at the rear of the house. Modifications may include an extension or extensions added or the separate laundry incorporated into the main house structure by means of an addition.

Other modifications include interior alterations such as removing walls between kitchen, dining and living rooms to create open plan spaces, the refurbishment of kitchens and bathrooms including installing new fittings and fixtures, the creation of ‘indoor/outdoor flow’ and increasing the interior light levels.

Occasionally, a bungalow has been modified to provide the owners with more space, by:

  • adding a second floor 
  • in Wellington hillside sections, excavating the basement area to create a garage or additional living space
  • in Auckland, lifting the original house and building a new ground floor underneath.

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Typical modifications

As part of earlier renovations, common bungalow modifications have included:

Garages and carports

For many bungalows, a garage or carport has often been added at the front of the section where space was available, or if there was access to the rear, a garage may have been built behind the house. 

Where a garage or carport has been added at the front, they have often been added in such a way that the garage or carport intrudes into the veranda and blocks daylight and/or ventilation to a room.


In most bungalows, electrical wiring will have been replaced at least once (see electricity and gas). If any original wiring remains, it must be replaced as it is likely to be unsafe.

If a bathroom or kitchen has been upgraded, it is likely that re-plumbing has also been carried out (see plumbing and drainage).