In Tune With the Times 

A bungalow in Central Gardens.

During the first quarter of the 20th century, America was swept up in a veritable bungalow craze. Advertised as "simple but artistic homes" for people of modest means, bungalows could be built for $500 to $5,000, affordable for a broad segment of the population. This type of single-family house with its own lawn offered style, convenience, and respectability -- the fulfillment of the American dream. Bungalows and the bungalow lifestyle were zealously promoted in The Ladies Home Journal, Gustav Stickley's Craftsman, and Bungalow Magazine. These publications included plans, elevations, details, and advice on appropriate gardens and interior decoration. They also featured poems and songs, including (really, I'm not making this up) "In the Land of the Bungalow" and a waltz, "Bungalow Love-Nest," extolling the pleasures and benefits of life in a bungalow.

Memphis, like many other American towns that boomed in the early 20th century, has acres of bungalows, most of them built to accommodate the burgeoning middle-class population. This stone and stucco house on Linden, in the area once known as the Town of Idlewild, is a bungalow to sing about. At some time it was divided into three apartments, but it has now been sensitively restored as a single-family house. A deep porch with stone piers and a closed stone balustrade provides an outdoor living room that is somewhat screened from view. Unlike many bungalows, this one has a symmetrical facade with the front door in the center and banks of triple windows to either side. The front door has a grid of beveled-glass lights in its upper portion and is original to the house. A broad shed dormer is centered above the door.

The living and dining rooms occupy the entire front of the house. A sense of foyer is created by a columnar screen with box piers that separates the entry area from the dining room. Both rooms have robust box beams on the ceiling. The breakfast room between the dining room and kitchen has a bay window with leaded diamond panes and still has its original built-in cupboard. The original hardware found throughout the first floor, such as sash-lifters, door escutcheons, and bin pulls on the breakfast-room cabinet, is copper -- a quintessential Craftsman material that seldom survives.

The kitchen has been completely remodeled and has all new cabinets and appliances. A laundry room was added off the kitchen. A former bedroom had a wall removed, opening it to the kitchen and creating a den with a new corner fireplace. A broad deck connects an addition similar to the laundry room on the other side of the house, reflecting the symmetry of the front facade and providing space for a full bath with a whirlpool tub, a separate shower, and a linen closet. This new bath adjoins the downstairs master bedroom.

The stair to the second floor is under a broad arch opposite the front door in a cross hall in the middle of the house. The original bathroom, with claw-foot tub and pedestal lavatory, is at the end of the hall.

The second floor has a long hallway with numerous closets and enough room for a study or seating area at one end. The three bedrooms and a full bath are all large and pleasantly bright, but the prime space is definitely the center room with its five dormer windows. Each bedroom has plenty of closet space, not the usual walk-in closets but something more like "wander-around-in" closets with cavernous, irregular spaces formed by the odd nooks and crannies of the attic.

This restored bungalow is a great example of the houses that inspired such a devoted following in the early 20th century and are now enjoying a strong revival.

1959 Linden Avenue

2,700 square feet, 4 bedrooms, 3 baths; $234,900
Agent: Susan Overton, Realtor: The Neilson Group, 818-3230

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