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What is a Bungaloft?

Updated on August 10, 2011

Everyone knows what a bungalow is, more or less - a small, simple, box-like single-story house with wide, overhanging rafters, thick masonry columns on the porch, lots of wood and rustic charm. At least, that's a stereotypical example of the style that became popularly known as the Craftsman Bungalow. But recently the term "bungaloft" has been thrown about, and nobody seems to bother with a definition. When I came across the term in real estate listings, I wondered, "What is a bungaloft, exactly?"

Bungaloft Defined

A bungaloft, it turns out, is a modern house style, showing up in the last decade or so (since about 2000). It is esssentially a bungalow with a second story loft. The upper story may be open to below.

The additional level is usually not a full story, but a loft space created by jutting out a section in a steep bungalow-style roof. The second story is not usually very high, with the staircase leading up to it having only about five steps.

It's far less common to see bungalofts in which the upper story fully spans most of the length and width of the house like a normal upper level.

"Bungaloft" sometimes refers specifically to a one-story bungalow that has been converted to two stories; other times, it's a remodeling of a non-bungalow home. A bungaloft may be a standalone house or attached, townhouse-style, to other units, as in a condominium complex.

"Bungaloft" also might refer to a style of interior d├ęcor, describing a warehouse-style living space in which an older bungalow-style home is remodeled and converted into an open, loft-type space with fewer wall-divided rooms.

Bungalofts seem to be most common on the U.S. West Coast and in Canada - Ontario, in particular.

Bungaloft Features

Bungalofts may be the stuff of luxury, costing as much as $900,000 with fine, sleek hardwood details and a wealth of square footage. Or, more commonly, they are smaller, affordable houses that create more space by extending forward or upward and/or removing walls.

A typical bungaloft - if there is such a thing - will have hardwood floors and plenty of wooden details such as wainscotting and cabinetry. From the outside, some bungalofts more closely resemble ranch homes than bungalows, while others look like especially full-bodied bungalows.

There is also a difference between the rooms in a bungalow versus a bungaloft. In a Craftsman bungalow, the main bedroom tends to be on the main (well, the only) floor and the rooms are regular, walled-in spaces. In a bungaloft, the loft area may be used as a master suite, guest sleeping space, child's bedroom, bonus room, or even a hobby room and the feel of the rooms is more spacious.

The Difference is the Loft

As with most house styles, the new bungaloft style is characterized by a variety of features and variations, with one common theme - a loft. The use of the extra space, how that space is accomplished, the cost involved, the scale of the project, the age of the house - new or old - all depend on location and ownership.


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