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california craftsman bungalow belmont heights
The exterior colors of this Craftsman bungalow are drawn from the palette of the Arts and Crafts movement.  The low railings on the porch are made of concrete cast  to appear as if they are tree stumps.  This feature is prevalent in Long Beach bungalows. In this home some windows have been replaced with non-period windows.

Drive along the streets of Belmont Heights and you will see California Craftsman bungalows almost everywhere. The same holds true in the nearby Rose Park neighborhood.   Most of the bungalows were built during the 1920s, the peak of bungalow popularity in the United States.  Some have been well maintained or beautifully restored in the decades since then.  Others, considered to be "fun beach houses" by their owners, have been modified with no thought for architectural preservation. 

The architectural characteristics of the California Craftsman home come from the Arts and Crafts Movement which valued simplicity of design and natural finishes.   While they may not look truly simple to contemporary eyes, the Craftsman home was and is a striking contrast to the highly ornate and decorated Victorian architectural aesthetic which preceded it.

california craftsman home long beach

This Craftsman home on Ocean Boulevard includes key characteristics of that style:
- Brown exterior
- Shingle siding
- Large plate glass windows with smaller windows on each side

Even the porch addition, on right, is in keeping with the original design.  The brown exterior is, however, painted instead of being naturally weathered dark brown.

On Ocean Boulevard, facing the beach, are a few large Craftsman homes.  Much more common, however, are the smaller bungalows that extend back away from the beach for about 2 miles.  They range in size from about 700 sq. ft. to 1500 sq. ft. -- just the right sizes for working class families of the 1920s. 

  

Fire pits and wine refrigerators...
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The Craftsman bungalow was so popular nationwide that companies began to sell house kits through mail order catalogs, among them Sears & Roebuck.  A number of homes in Long Beach have been attributed to Sears, but, in actuality, these "kit bungalows" are more likely from Pacific Ready Cut Homes which was located on Boyle St. in downtown Los Angeles.   The homes were delivered in about 10,000 clearly marked pieces with instructions on how to build the home.  And many of the homes were, in fact, built by the homeowners on small lots.
california craftsman bungalow long beach Salmon was definitely not a color choice typical of Craftsman homes and the iron railings leading to the porch are '60s additions.  But the front porch pillars and the wide window and door frames are standards of the California bungalow.

The interiors of the Long Beach bungalows are more modest than, for example, the grand bungalows found in Pasadena, designed by Greene and Greene.  Almost all are single story.  Few have tile work.  Few have fireplaces.  Few have built-in seating or impressive staircases.  Many, however, have built-in drawers and cupboards in the dining rooms and bedrooms.

In many of the smaller homes, the interior woodwork has been painted white, probably after World War II when the architectural preference was for ranch houses or mid-century modern homes with their stark white interiors and open, light design.









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Paddleboarding near Belmont Shore Cottages in Old Town Seal Beach Condos on the sand in Long Beach
Paddleboarders on the Naples Canal next to Belmont Shore. Cottage-style homes line the streets in Old Town Seal Beach. Walk out the condo door and step right into the sand on the 7 mile long beach.


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