12 Books on Historic Bungalows: Planbooks and Catalogs

Find Plans for Bungalow Houses, Learn from History

What is a Bungalow? Based on a simple homes from India, the practical bungalow style took America by storm in the early 1900s. The style spread quickly via mail order house plans. Today, you can purchase reproductions of the original bungalow plan catalogs. Listed here are a few of the best, plus books on the history of bungalow architecture and building plans for contemporary bungalows. For historic mail order house plans you can download for free, see our index of bungalow floor plans.

America in the 1920s was roaring. The working class was growing, and small Cottages, Bungalows and Colonials were being built for new homeowners. Here is a short book of American history, before the Great Depression. With an introduction by Daniel D. Reiff, this Dover Publication is from 2011.

The authors have gathered an impressive selection of Sear's mail order homes. Presented here are reproductions of plans for approximately 450 models sold between 1908 and 1940. Included are descriptions, illustrations and prices. By Katherine Cole Stevenson, H. Ward Jandl.

This Dover Architecture reproduction gives the reader an idea of bungalows built at the turn of the century—that is, in 1910. Subtitled Floor Plans and Photos of 112 Houses 1910, Henry L. Wilson's paperback is a short (160 pages) dream of a book.

A vintage house plan collection from Sears Roebuck and Co. showing interiors and fixtures in great detail.

Winning entries from a major nationwide competition, with floor plans and costs. Styles range from a tile-roofed hacienda to a thatch-roofed English cottage. By Rogers & Manson.

You can get a glimpse of the original 1908 edition online for free. Or you can allow Architectural historian Tony P. Wrenn introduce you to the style, and then put this 2007 reprint on your bookshelf.

Reprint of a 1923 architect's catalog, with home plans and details for homes ranging from bungalows and cottages to formal dwellings. By Gordon-Van Tine Co.

Presents 500 small-home designs of the 1920s as they appeared in a major architectural publication of 1923. Many are designed by leading domestic architects of the period. By Henry Atterbury Smith.

Reproduction architects' catalog with detailed descriptions of special features, dimensions, and costs. By Henry L. Wilson.

Author Joseph C. Bigott has put into historical context the existence of the small house style. Using Chicago as an example, Professor Bigott describes the industrial revolution in human terms—the domestic lives of immigrants to America, 1869-1929. From the Chicago Architecture and Urbanism series, this University of Chicago Press 2001 publication is more history than house plans, but, as we always say, architecture is history.

This 2006 University of Washington Press text is NOT a picture book of house plans, but the author will help you understand who lived within the walls of the first bungalows in America.

"As a historian of 20th century U.S. and vernacular architectural history," writes author Janet Ore, "I study the ways that the built environment and landscapes reveal the past. My book, The Seattle Bungalow: People and Houses 1900-1940, showed how ordinary people's expanded ability to consume influenced early twentieth-century neighborhood architecture."

Source: Janet Ore BIO, Colorado State University [accessed February 28, 2015]

At only 112 pages, this DoverPublications 2008 Reprint may have plans you've already seen before. Nevertheless, it's nice to remember that at the turn of the century the American Northwest was rapidly expanding with the arrival of working class men and women. Residential architecture is a map to where people live in the US.