Building form

In some bungalows, repiling or other remedial action will be needed to deal with problems such as uneven floors and inadequate earthquake bracing.

By definition, bungalows are single-storey dwellings. They are easily distinguished from villas by their roofs, which have lower pitch and are generally gabled. Other distinctive features include decorated leadlight windows, deep entrance porches, bay or bow windows, and bevelled weatherboard cladding.

Typical bungalow form


Bungalows can be distinguished by their roofs, which typically had a pitch between 15° and 25° (lower than villas) and multiple gables. There were several variations of bungalow roof form, including California bungalows (Figure 3) with front-facing gables, Craftsman bungalows (Figure 4) with side gables extending over the porch, and English, Indian and Australian bungalows (Figure 5) with hipped roofs.

Other defining features of the bungalow roof include wide eaves with exposed rafters; barge boards that extend beyond the gutter; decorative barge ends; gables with contrasting claddings; a ventilation grill or louvre in the gable; and gables with a bell-cast and/or dentils or corbels at the base of the bell.


Bungalow porches were deep and more like an outside room than the verandas on villas. Some bungalows had entry porches for side entrances. 
Porch roofs were incorporated under the house’s main roof (Figures 4 and 5). 

The porch also often had a specific function such as sun porch or sleeping porch.

Early bungalow porches had timber balustrades, but over time they became solid, enclosed, parapet-like walls.


Bungalows typically had at least one bay window facing the street. The form varied. Many had curved or bow windows. Some had square or rectangular bays, or faceted (Figure 7) or corner (Figure 9) bays, or a combination. Oriel windows were also common.

Windows were appropriately proportioned for the bungalow’s low, horizontal lines. Another distinctive feature was the use of elaborate leadlight glazing. See windows for more detail.

Back to top


Bevel-back weatherboards are a common cladding in bungalows, though timber shingles, stucco and brick are also found. 

Corner boards were initially incorporated, but later bungalow corners were mitred to give a continuous corner effect.