Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Learning To Love My Flat Roof Bungalow

I never expected to love my home as much as I do. 

When I first saw the photos on the Kijiji rental listing I thought how ugly.  If it hadn't have been for my husband talking me into "just taking a look" we wouldn't be living here today.

She was a somewhat dowdy flat roofed 1954 bungalow.  I always pictured myself living in a charming Victorian.


But over time this place has grown on me.

I mean, what's not to love about these trees?
They are so beautiful in the summer.  They provide amazing privacy and soften the hard lines of the modern architecture.

Notice the classic mid-century detailing such as the wide eaves on the porch supported by narrow steel columns, the stacked brickwork and the corner windows. Do you see how the building seems to hug the ground and how it draws the eye out rather than up?  Strong horizontal lines are a trademark of modern design.  The deck/ fence was added circa 1985.  I think they did a bang up job.  It could have gone so badly, but this one really enhances the overall design and stays true to the home's modern aesthetic.

This beauty has been a rental for many years and is badly in need of some cosmetic work.  Not unlike your spinster aunt who could actually look quite attractive with an eyebrow pluck and updated wardrobe (a la Susan Boyle).  ; )

There are many things to love about my home: the trees, the huge lot, the container gardens, the deck . . . did I mention the huge backyard?

Recently, however, I am coming to appreciate the architecture itself.  If I really use my imagination, I can picture the home as it looked when it was first built . . . & the family who lived here (I think they loved to entertain) . . . I'm glimpsing the vision of the original designer and builder. . . it must have been so cutting edge in 1954!  The blueprint was no doubt inspired by the work of the iconic Frank Loyd Wright, who designed such homes as the Affleck House in Bloomfield Hills, Michigan.  Here is a picture:

And here is the rear view of our home.

 A little exercise in geometry, anyone?

This is my inspiration image.  (I always have an inspiration image(s) for every makeover project I undertake.)  Midnight blue front door, here we come!

I was so pleased to find this image online -- I see so many similarities to our home.  Grander, to be sure, but notice the roof lines, paint colors and materials ulilized.

This whole mid century architecture thing has sent me on a bit of a learning expedition.  In my travels I Googled everything from bungalow to brutalism.  I keyed in the words "flat roof bungalow" and guess what?  There is even a Flicker stream dedicated to the flat roof bungalow.  It really is amazing.  You should check it out.  There are some beautiful homes to view.

Living in a mid century modern house has certainly pushed me in a different design direction than I anticipated. My previous home was decorated in a cottage/ country style.  Now I notice myself mixing more modern pieces into my home's decor and I am certainly embracing a more minimalist aesthetic all around.

Here is another shot of our backyard.  (Do you love my new IKEA table?)

So there's a quick tour of my 1954 flat roofed bungalow, diamond in the rough.  We are making it into a happy family home once again. 

In the next week or two this angular old gal will be getting a few updates.  A lick of paint, some modern house numbers and a shiny new mailbox.  Oh, and a blue front door!  Maybe we'll do something about that distracting cable too. ; )  Well, hope you enjoyed the tour (and the brief history lesson.)  Come back in a few weeks to see the updates!


  1. Your house looks amazing, Christy! The flat roof definitely suits the overall design of the house. Well, aside from the aesthetic value, flat roofs have a lot of advantages. One is it reduces dead space, as opposed to the sloping roofs. And it also keeps the interiors of the house warm, as it absorbs the sun’s heat and transfers it inside.

    -Elizabeth Hoffnung

    1. Wow, I wasn't even aware of the heat retaining value of flat roofs -- one more reason to love them! Thanks, Elizabeth!

  2. You must be in luck when you acquired that impressive flat roof bungalow! Aside from the advantages that Elizabeth mentioned, you were right in your assessment that your home was considered cutting-edge during its time. Early modernists of the 20th century abandoned all kinds of roofs except for flat ones since they considered them as art. Nice, huh?

    Penelope Dingee

  3. You did a lovely initial work on the house, Christy! Your bungalow is one of the many that reflect the design and creativity during the Arts and Crafts movement. Bungalows were crafted to capture the homey feeling of the land around it. Those trees and your use of natural color such as indigo reinforced that land-earth relationship. What a lovely home for you and your family!

    Tiffany Larsen

    1. Thank you, Tiffany! I agree, the home does blend in very well with the surrounding landscape. We live very close to the river and a large equine centre, so a natural approach to design just feels right. Thanks again for your lovely comments.

  4. You have something special here, Christy. Attractive layout with the accompanying photos and I like the popular posts on the side. I will be sure to check in again.

  5. hi..Im college student, thanks for sharing :)

  6. I really appreciate the kind of topics you post here. Thanks for sharing us a great information that is actually helpful. Good day! ATRIUM WINDOWS