In the transition of the 19th to the 20th century, American families turned their interest to a new style of home; the bungalow. This new style of housing would be smaller than the previously popular living arrangements such as the Victoria style home. The bungalow homes were more uniform with each other, which created a more homogeneous look in neighborhoods. They were also much more affordable home to Americans than previous homes, and promoted efficiency and progressivism. The word bungalow was described by Gwendolyn Wright as “usually referring to a relatively unpretentious small house... the term implies a one-story or story-and-a-half dwelling of between six hundred and eight hundred square feet.” Bedrooms were very small, and the kitchen was usually only big enough for one person to work in at a time.
Edward Bok, the editor of the Ladies‘ Home Journal, promoted a variety of Progressive causes. He used the magazine to publicize the simple bungalow style. He stated that “we need only to be more natural: to get back to our real, inner selves.” He believed the homes at the turn of the century were too cluttered and over-furnished, and many of the homes problems were directly related to nervous breakdowns of women in that time period. Bok thought many women were pressured by social criticism to refrain from simplifying their home, they dreaded the possibility that their rooms would be called “bare.” But more simplicity in the homes would, in turn, also make lives simpler. Families could have fuller lives because they would have more time.
Gustav Stickley was one of the more influential promoters of the bungalow home. Stickley suggested that many social issues and problems could be remedied by the adoption of a more simple home style. Even issues such as divorce rates, lack of servants, crime, and civil disorder. He believed that “the dominant characteristics of the pioneer yet shape what are the salient qualities in American life.” He went on...
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