The Portland bungalow was one of the most popular house designs constructed in Portland Oregon between 1910 and 1930. Inexpensive bungalow house plans were offered by the Sears Roebuck catalog in the early 1900s when the bungalow style was just beginning to catch on in America. In 1910, Henry Wilson, a Los Angeles based architect who called himself “The Bungalow Man,” created a catalog of 112 of the most popular and inexpensive bungalow blueprints from his era for potential homeowners. These practical designs helped drive the bungalow style adoption across the United States.
The typical size of a Portland bungalow is approximately 1,000 -1,500 square feet on the main level with 2-3 bedrooms, 1 bathroom, fireplace and unfinished basement. Most of the bungalow room sizes were smaller than 250 square feet.
Bungalow designs are typically one, to one and a half story, using less expensive building materials and rectangular in shape. You’ll often find a low-pitched gabled or hipped roof, front porch and clapboard siding. The front porch typically has columns and a simple rail. The bungalow design offers an open floor plan with large windows and high ceilings, making it feel light despite being full of natural light from all sides.
Some bungalows that were inhabited by Portland’s upper class residents had marble fireplaces and three or four bedrooms rather than two bedrooms. Many of those houses used the basement for extra living space. This type of bungalow was usually found in more affluent neighborhoods like Portland Heights and Irvington. The bungalows from these areas typically have a high degree of historic integrity.
You will find three predominant bungalow styles in Portland.
The most common style of bungalow is a one-story home with a gable facing the street, which usually has a prominent, off-set porch gable and a basic bungalow interior layout.
Larger than the standard bungalow, the wide-roof/porch bungalow has a porch that runs along the entire front facade and usually a full, two-story house. Frequently the living room extends the full length of the front .
Specific to Portland is a colonial bungalow style with a central porch and two symmetrical windows on either side. More a rain cover than a relaxing porch design.
Today, most of Portland bungalows have been remodeled and updated to accommodate modern lifestyles. Front porches, crown molding and built-ins typically remain as the anchors to the past. Kitchens have been remodeled throughout the years to include appliances. Additional bathrooms are added to the one bathroom layout. New plumbing and fixtures replace old galvanized pipes. Knob and tube wiring, common until the 1930’s, have been replaced with modern romex wiring and electrical panels to prevent fire hazards. Single pane wood windows, unless ornate, are typically upgraded to energy efficient and quiet double or triple pane windows. However, what makes the bungalow home some of the most sought after Portland real estate is the connection to the past found and the simple elegant design.
Portland is a wonderful city for those of you who love bungalows. There are many neighborhoods with large pockets of homes built during the early 20th century. These areas each have their own unique charm, history, and character that make them perfect for homeowners of all ages to live in. They provide a great place to raise a family or retire comfortably. Enjoy your time on the porch swing with friends or walk to the market and chat with long-term neighbors.
We’ll take a look at some of the more bungalow dense Portland neighborhoods below:
Irvington Historic District is a desirable Portland neighborhood for bungalows. This historic area in NE Portland is known for its beautiful turn of the century homes, variety of architecture and mature trees that line the streets. The neighborhood is so well preserved and unique that residents often live in the neighborhood for decades. In addition, it’s conveniently close to shopping and dining options on Broadway Street and easy access to public transportation like TriMet’s MAX Light Rail.
The Laurelhurst neighborhood in Portland is a unique and beautiful community. The rich history of this area dates back to the late 1800s when it was originally part of a farm owned by John Oliver, the founder of Ladd & Co. In 1891, Olivers wife sold him her share in the property which allowed him to subdivide and sell off parcels of land for residential development. This decision has had an immense impact on what we know today as “Laurelhurst.”
The the predominant style of house in the neighborhood is the bungalow. You’ll see towering trees lining curvy streets and spacious yards. In addition to the 31 acre Laurelhust park you’re close to the bustling commercial corridors on Glisan and Burnside that include popular restaurants, coffee shops, boutique shopping and more!
Ladd’s Addition is a unique and historic neighborhood in Southeast Portland, Oregon. The area was named after David Ladd who settled the land in 1851. Originally it was located outside of downtown Portland and had many farms growing fruits and vegetables until it became part of the city limits in 1912. It is Portland’s oldest planned residential development, and one of the oldest on the West Coast. The neighborhood is immediately recognizable for the distinct diagonal street pattern, which is at odds with the rectilinear grid of the surrounding region. A favorite of Portlanders, Ladds Addition has over 500 homes that are primarily bungalows with unique details and community rose gardens.
The Sellwood and Eastmoreland neighborhoods of Portland, Oregon are full of history, charm and bungalows. The homes in these neighborhoods range from 1920s to 1940s with some newer construction thrown in the mix. These two Portland neighborhoods offer a wide variety for home owners who want something different than what is found in other parts of town. Safe community feel close to the Willamette River, golf courses and numerous parks. This is a well preserved area and highly coveted real estate.
Arbor Lodge. Like most of the neighborhoods in North Portland, Arbor Lodge is quiet and modest. The area is full of bungalow homes since the majority of homes were built between 1910 and 1930. Arbor Lodge also features a number of parks, playgrounds, and green spaces which makes it great for families with children.
St Johns. This neighborhood sandwiched between the Willamette and Columbia Rivers can feel like it’s own little town even though it’s only 20 minutes to downtown Portland. It’s an old part of town with many smaller bungalow homes. There are great old homes with value add opportunity in this unique and vibrant community.
If you’re looking for a beautiful, well-built house with character and charm, then it’s worth checking out these wonderful Portland bungalow neighborhoods!
Of course there are numerous other bungalow havens throughout Portland. If you’re looking for bungalow real estate in Portland, contact Josh. He’s the local bungalow specialist and will help you get a better understanding of the bungalow market and what is currently available.
To see all Portland Metro bungalow neighborhoods and current MLS inventory levels on bungalows, click here: