San Francisco has her compact Victorians, New York her stooped brownstones, but in Atlanta you're most likely to find something with a porch and bracketed eaves lining our leafy streets. If there's one housing type that defines intown Atlanta's neighborhoods like no other, it's the humble bungalow. Maybe you're still going, "Bunga-what?" ... but don't fret. Here's the condensed version of what you need to know regarding one of Atlanta's favorite houses.
The term "bungalow" can be used to reference different kinds of houses around the world (the term actually originated in India), but in Atlanta it means a specific kind of single-family home. They're easy to spot: usually one or one 1/2 stories, with overhanging eaves, tapered or squat columns on the front porch, exposed rafters, and low rooflines. They had their heyday from the 1910s to 1940, during which time the population of Atlanta doubled. Couple that growth with the South's affinity for homes with yardage and it's no wonder these charming structures cover the city like pollen in April.
So what's it like to live in one of these buildings? Like any older structure, you're taking the good with the bad; individual experiences may vary.
Let's start with the positives: As any person who's lived in the South knows, a front porch can become an extension of a home's interior when the weather's right. And it's hard to deny the cutesy grandma's house character of bungalows ... but let's be honest — not everyone necessarily liked their grandma. Even though plenty of bungalows were actually kit-order homes, they were built with materials you don't usually find in newer construction, like solid wood doors, real plaster walls and all manner of pretty Arts and Crafts-style tile and woodwork.
So what could go wrong? Like anything 70-plus years old, you're talking some serious maintenance when it comes to period bungalows. Paint peels, pipes break, and so forth. Plus, people lived differently back then, so the flow isn't always appealing; open floorplans were a foreign concept at that point, though bungalows tended to be airier than their Victorian counterparts. Even if you're getting a yard, don't expect too much: The typical lot size isn't going to impress if you're used to suburban standards.
If it's a bungalow you crave, be sure to check out these Atlanta neighborhoods (below). And please, current bungalow owners, share your experiences with this housing type — good and bad — in the comments. We're just curious.
— By Curbed Atlanta contributor Jonathan Carnright