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The Californian Bungalow

12 February 2016
By KM

 “There’s no place like home” Dorothy was right, there’s nothing like it.

My fondest childhood memories were forged growing up in a beautiful solid brick Californian Bungalow in Camberwell. This home with its homely earthy character and its distinctive heavily built pylon shaped veranda posts hosted many family Christmases and gatherings.

The house sat at the front of a large expansive block giving way to a an informal back yard, big enough to entertain our large extended family and our very big German shepherd ‘Rex’  

Bungalows built in the early 20th century came in a variety of exterior looks. From Hollywood Spanish, Georgian Revival, Old English and of course the most popular of them all; the Californian.

The word bungalow is derived from ‘Bangla’, which means a Bengali House. It’s a term brought via the British Raj in India where deep shady veranda’s and a cool gin and tonic were the order of the day.

As its names suggests, the Californian bungalow originated in California and the first of its kind was imported from Pasadena California in 1916 by an Australian Real Estate Agent who had it erected in the Sydney suburb of Rosebery for show.

And so began Australia’s love affair with this solid and unassuming house. It became one of the most popular house styles of the 1920’s and represented a modern lifestyle.  With its ‘Craftsman’ design, use of natural materials and lack of frills, it was a solid, respectable and affordable house ideally suited for the Australian culture.

Built for the warmer climate of California, houses were built low, with shallow pitched roofs of terracotta or slate, the veranda tucked under the main roof.

The floor plan of our Californian Bungalow was more open than the earlier Victorian and Federation homes. The dining and lounge rooms were separated by a short entry hallway, and each room featured beautiful timber framed dividing doors.

The hero of the dining room was a beautiful bay casement window with Art Deco leadlight and a built in timber window seat. Growing up, I was lucky enough to have parents who enforced the act of eating at the dinner table.  It was a brief moment where conversations and stories of the day’s events were shared over the evening meal.

The lounge was partially panelled in dark timber with a plate shelf above the fireplace where mum kept her collection of large conch shells from Mauritius. Down the central hallway past the bedrooms, were the bathroom and kitchen. To the dismay of my mother, the laundry was outside, situated next to the back porch.

Today the ‘Cal Bung’ as it is affectionately called can be found in the thousands across Melbourne and Supa Group has renovated and extended hundreds of these homes. Generally situated on large blocks and originally designed for modern and informal living, it is ideal for extending and renovating. The simplistic floor plan allows for easy modernisation whilst maintaining aspects of its original charm. 

  • “The quality of tradesmen Supa Group employ are very good. Our original home was built by a volume builder and doesn't compare to the workmanship displayed by Supa Groups tradesmen.”

    Steve and Anna of Pascoe Vale South
  • “The works commenced in November and as promised the second storey was at lock up well before Christmas.”

    John and Grazie of Box Hill North
  • “Our previous experience of builders has not been great, however we immediately experience a far more professional, friendly and reliable approach.”

    David and Kathryn of Wantirna
  • “A big Thank You for a smooth project throughout all its stages, which did not interfere with our busy household of seven.”

    Naso and Eva of Bulleen
  • “Thank you for working with us over the last year to make our dream of renovating our much loved home a reality.”

    Mark and Catherine of Hampton
  • “Wez and I were very touched by the kind thoughts and flowers we received for our family loss, we warmly thank you so very much...and this is Supa Group!!!”

    Wez and Pina of Rowville
  • “You get results that make you smile every time you come home and open the front door. You get a home that brings you joy.”

    Steve and Jenny of Watsonia
  • “The Design process was like no other we have experienced. We were excited from day one and we are still smiling from ear to ear.”

    Kleanthis and Emma of Oakleigh East
  • “Our building supervisor Braidon Marshall was absolutely fantastic. He was friendly, approachable and accessible when we had a few issues out of hours. We sprung a leak on one rather rainy night, and he came to the rescue after his birthday dinner no less!”

    Danny and Melissa of Coburg
  • “The pleasant demeanor, accommodation of questions and assistance through the process has provide us with a feeling of a priority client. ”

    Peter and Louise of Alphington
  • “What was really impressive was that the building works were completed in an incredible 6 weeks!!!!”

    Chris and Michelle of Camberwell
  • “I highly recommend anyone to consider Supa Group for an extension on their home. I am absolutely delighted we chose Supa Group to make our dreams come true!”

    Tony and Claire
  • “We are very happy in our new home and we would like to thank all the staff at supagroup.”

    Dale and Cristina, Port Melbourne
  • “Supa Group has done a great job capturing our vision with the original ideas and plans we had in mind and the result is better than we would have expected.”

    Con and Daniella, East Keilor
  • “From initial plans right through to the end Supagroup have been polite, professional and super efficient and well organised. Thanks to everyone at Supagroup for helping realise my dreams.”

    Claudia, West Footscray
  • “We have no hesitation in recommending Supa Group and we have already started in our Church community, neighbourhood and Tin's work place.”

    David and Tina, Gladstone Park
  • “We would not hesitate to recommend Supa Group to any family or friends who may consider a house extension.”

    George & Elizabeth, Maidstone
  • “The end result has exceeded my expectations. Not only is the end result stunning but also the manner in which it was achieved was exemplary. I would have no hesitation in recommending Supa Group to others considering extending their homes.. ”

    Jane, Blackburn
  • “...we were looking for a no fuss solution, which would require as little input from us as possible. We certainly found that with the Supa Group. We found you professional and timely right throughout the building phase.”

    Peter and Rose, Taylors Lakes
  • “My family and I would like to thank you for your excellent quality of work done on our second level extension. It's been an exciting six months watching our house turn into the home we were hoping for.”

    Tom and Vicky, Mill Park
  • “We have found the whole experience of a new extension something interesting and exciting and are delighted to recommend Supagroup to our friends and neighbours.”

    Tim and Kathy, Beaconsfield
  • “Every day we look around and are amazed at what has been achieved. ...our journey with Supa Group has been amazing to say the least. ”

    Damian and Anthea
  • “We would not hesitate in recommending Supa Group to others that are thinking of renovating or extending.”

    Maria and Vince