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Vernacular 1920s Cottage

Submit an Entry: Is your house a Bungalow?

By karenhunt1

Vernacular 1920s Cottage

1920s Cottage, front. Click the photo for a larger view.

Vernacular 1920s Cottage

1920s Cottage, rear. Click the photo for a larger view.

About My Bungalow


This house was built in 1920 or 1922. It has a full basement. It has stucco over wood lathe interior, very simple inside and out. The baseboards are 8" wide.

There was a square brick chimney in the exact center of the home, from the basement up through the roof. There were two holes in it for wood stove pipes, one in the kitchen and one in the living room. There is one huge grate in the living room floor.

The wiring was cloth covered. There are ceramic tubes and conductors in the walls.

There has been a lot of trouble taken to make this house look like it was just built, but you cannot hide its great bones.

Favorite Details


There are traces of a small set of french doors inside the porch, leading me to believe the entryway was a lot more elegant in the past.

The floors are heartwood fir, put together so tight that water will not go in the seams.

The support beams in the basement are rough-hewn timbers, huge and stately.

The living room ceiling stucco is lightly brushed in a beautiful swirled pattern, you can tell it was done with a brush by hand. There are two bedrooms, one full bath, a living room and a kitchen original to the house.

The basement was later partially finished with a studio bedroom and full bath, and upstairs the kitchen was expanded and a pantry room added.

The outside has been covered in siding, haven't looked under it yet. There had been interior remodeling done that removed any possible period trim or details except for glass doorknobs and original locks on interior doors.

There is evidence windows used to be sash with counter weights, sadly have been replaced with modern two layer windows.

I am not sure of the house style, if it is bungalow, cabin, or what. I have some questions from the fact there is a first floor hallway (3 foot by 12 foot) right in the left side middle that shouldn't be there yet is. I know that in the early 1900's, houses did not have wasted space, everything was used. In this house there is that hallway exception that is confusing. It appears original, but can't be. The area would have been used as a stairwell to the basement, or the space added into the other rooms. I am looking for floor plans to this type of home to explain some of my puzzle.

Lessons Learned

  • Track down dampness. If something is leaking, sweating, or condensing, find out where and why. It is imperative to prevent and correct any dampness or deal with rot, mold, insects and rodents.
  • If there is proof of ants or mice, they will return if they've found a way in before.
  • If something electrical seems jury-rigged, have it corrected professionally as soon as possible. Especially in an older home. If you have to work on ANYTHING electrical in an older home, turn off all the electricity, not just the breaker you think is connected to your project. You will always find out the hard way with electricity.

Jackie Craven, About.com Architecture, says:


Interesting mystery! Your home seems to be a vernacular cottage that has taken on some new ideas over the years. It's hard to tell from the photos, but the shape is long and narrow rather like a New Orleans shotgun house or a "railroad-style" home with rooms arranged around a long central hallway. For clues about the original floor plan, try browsing books like 500 Small Houses of the Twenties (shop online). Enjoy the adventure!

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