Paperback / softback
October 5, 2006
38 illus.
10.00 Inches (US)
7.00 Inches (US)
1.22 Pounds (US)
$30.00 USD, £22.99 GBP
v2.1 Reference

The Seattle Bungalow

People and Houses, 1900-1940

In the early twentieth century, the appearance of new houses across the United States shifted dramatically. Rejecting the elaborate decoration and complexity of Victorian homes, these new houses featured open, parlorless interiors and a minimalist aesthetic, radiating an aura of warmth, coziness, and naturalness. Nowhere were such residences more evident than in West Coast cities, especially Seattle, where explosive growth generated entire neighborhoods of this new house type--the bungalow. It was the nation's first modern home, and it established the essential characteristics of popular housing for the rest of the twentieth century.

In The Seattle Bungalow, Janet Ore modifies the common notion that architectural change flows only from the design elite--the architects, domestic reformers, and planners who advocate for changes in domestic architecture--and argues that ordinary people played a crucial role in creating the bungalow. Through their growing power as consumers, modest-income families influenced the physical form of early twentieth-century houses and suburban landscapes. Still operating within a nineteenth-century labor and contracting system, small home builders responded to rising consumer demand for new conveniences such as electricity and central heating by simplifying their structures. Ambitious salespeople-real estate agents, plan book purveyors, and builders--created a new market for affordable small houses through astute advertising and financing. And once families acquired their homes, they used them flexibly, adapting their lives to their domestic spaces and refashioning their homes when necessary. From such efforts sprang the Seattle bungalow, an artifact of ordinary people's part in creating modern culture.

About the Author

Janet Ore is assistant professor of history at Colorado State University and has been a contributing writer to Pacific Northwest Quarterly and Perspectives in Vernacular Architecture.


"This book will be an essential resource for historians examining modest housing anywhere in America in this period . . . . Bungalows are still popular today. . . but their current romanticization obscures a much more interesting story of how a building type was developed for and changed by a lower-middle-class clientele. Janet Ore has fortunately brought this history to light."—IA: Journal of the Society for Industrial Architecture

"Ore provides a fine addition. . . . By adopting a broad perspective, The Seattle Bungalow adds to our understanding of the process by which builders and owners expanded the twentieth-century markets for housing."—Winterthur Portfolio

"The Seattle Bungalow presents architectural history from the bottom up. It unravels not only the decisions of designers, builders, and housing entrepreneurs, but also those who lived in such buildings. In Janet Ore's expert hands, the bungalow becomes more than an arts and crafts icon of the simple life. . . . she has demonstrated its significance as symbol, commodity, and place of living."—Western Historical Quarterly

"The Seattle Bungalow makes an important contribution to the study of bungalows and early-twentieth-century architecture."—Technology and Culture

"By stitching together her variously themed chapters with constant reference to one house and one family, she brings an ethnographic approach to the study of the modern built environment. . . Ore's work amplifies on regionally based studies of the bungalow."—BC Studies

"Ore's book is a valuable addition to American cultural history. It is based on imaginative and wide-ranging research, is clearly presented, and is illustrated with a large number of photographs."—Oregon Historical Quarterly

"A valuable retrospective."—Choice

"The Seattle Bungalow is recommended not only for urban historians but also for Seattle and Northwest historians and history buffs… Ore's analysis of the maturation of finance, salesmanship, consumerism, and citizenship in the early 20th century (is) well worth the read."—Columbia

"Certainly every Arts & Crafts enthusiast should have this title on their bookshelf. As should architectural historians, students of material culture, social life and customs."—New York-Pennsylvania Collector


"Janet Ore's subject—-the origins, marketing, development, and legacy of working—class housing in Seattle—-offers an opportunity not only to explore architectural history but to characterize the economic, aesthetic, moral, and social dimensions of such housing."—Dennis Andersenco, author of Distant Corner: Seattle Architects and the Legacy of H. H. Richardson

"A valuable record of the housing boom that transformed the American suburban landscape in the first decades of the twentieth century."—Kingston Heath, Director, Graduate Program in Historic Preservation, University of Oregon

University of Washington Press

9780295986272 : the-seattle-bungalow-ore
Paperback / softback
$30.00 USD