“Why Not Have a Beautiful Home?”

Blowhard, Esq. writes:

I’ve been focusing too much on crappy buildings lately. Let’s pay attention to the positive, shall we? Southern California has plenty of well-kept, modest, charming neighborhoods, if you’re willing to look. All of the following homes are within a few blocks of one another in Tustin, CA.

Built in 1881, this was the southern California retreat of David Hewes, “the maker of San Francisco” who provided the golden spike at Promontory Point. Hewes is buried in Mountain View Cemetery, the final resting place of the wonderful Julia Morgan.

Hewes Mansion

Hewes Mansion, Bay Window

The McCharles House, built in 1885.

McCharles House

A few other Victorians, most were built around the late 1890s, early 1900s.




Flash-forward a couple of decades and the bungalow is the thing.





I was in Orange, CA today, another human-scaled neighborhood in the normally car-dominated megalopolis. Here’s a sampling of what I saw. Like Tustin above, the neighborhood dates from the 1890s to 1920s, so the same mix of Victorian and Craftsman-style bungalow.


Love the sunroom on the right of this one.


Many of the houses have those little historic plaques near the doorway proudly displaying the age. Anything over a 100 years old in this part of the country might as well be medieval.


As I was shooting this one, the owner of the house immediately to the right outside the frame said, “Everyone is always taking pictures of that house.” The lack of trees between the houses makes for a nice line-up.


The arbor gate into a church.


This one looks more modern to me. Still fits in snugly with its surroundings.


Another eye-catching view.


The same architect as the McCharles house above? Or were they merely copying the color scheme? That green and purple-pink does lend an enchanted air.



  • Dover Publications puts out some inexpensive architecture books, mostly reprints of old catalogs. I own a few and they’re great.
  • Actually, who needs books? The Daily Bungalow’s Flickr page is top-notch.
  • Henry L. Wilson, who called himself “The Bungalow Man,” provided the title to this post. One of his catalogs noted, “It is just as easy and just as cheap to build a beautiful, cozy, convenient, artistic home as the other kind. The plan and designer make all the difference. If you do not find a plan that meets with your requirements send ONE DOLLAR and get a copy of our fifth edition cloth bound bungalow book, it contains 127 designs all different to any plan shown in this book.”

About Blowhard, Esq.

Amateur, dilettante, wannabe.
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12 Responses to “Why Not Have a Beautiful Home?”

  1. History Buff says:

    You should check out Wilshire Square, Washington Square, and Floral Park in Santa Ana. Really old historic Arts and Crafts homes in beautiful neighborhoods! I’d love to see an article on those areas!


  2. Beautiful places, thanks for the great snapz.


  3. Fake Herzog says:

    If you are ever in Chicago, I’ll drive you around some great bungalow neighborhoods:


    Of course, we have all sorts of great old housing stock, including painted ladies and classic brownstones. I’m going to have to do a post soon with some great pictures from around my house…


  4. Maule Driver says:

    This seems to raise the question; What is the bridge between “crappy” contemporary commercial architecture and “charming” residential bungalow architecture? That is, why is one done well and one done not so well?


  5. Spike says:

    Maule: I would say scale. The major part of the tackiness of McMansions for me is that they all look like the building equivalent of a 300 pound woman in a dress much too small for her.


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