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Californian Bungalow Door Handles

January 29, 2016
Californian Bungalow Door Handles

The Californian Bungalow style of home first began to appear in Australia around 1900 as a low cost, simpler form of housing to suit a rising middle class. The inner city areas of our capital cities are populated by mainly Victorian style houses which were often co joined to each other. As you move to a ring around 6 -8 km from the centre of the city where building began around the 1920’s, Californian Bungalows began to appear in suburbs and most are on the ¼ acre block. Some suburbs are populated primarily with them and despite their low cost origins they have stood the test of time.

The Californian Bungalow Style in Australia

The Californian Bungalow is a style largely imported from the USA and many of the components for them were also imported from there. The Bungalow is characterized by simpler styling to Victorian or Edwardian Houses with cheaper houses built in timber and more expensive ones in red brick. It usually has either a gable running across the block with another front facing gable or a split gable facing the front of the block. They often have a roofed verandah on one side, with large brick columns supporting the posts that support the roof. Windows are often casement style, (outward opening), done with plain glass or diamond leadlight and simple patterned leadlight above. Front doors are often double doors with simple leadlight in the top panels.

The Californian Bungalow was often referred to as a State Bank House, as many of them were financed by various state banks. Customers were given a choice of around 12 different designs and the banks would organise the importing of components and the builders so as to provide lower cost housing. In some suburbs the Californian Bungalow style was adapted for more wealthy clients and double storeys and more decoration were added to the simpler State Bank Houses. With the Californian Bungalow being built on the new suburban ¼ acre block subdivisions a new live style was created with children being able to play in backyards instead of the streets of the Victorian era housing.

Inside the front hallway was often panelled with red pine sheets and strapping that continued onto the ceiling. This continued through to the formal lounge and dining room but seldom into the bedrooms. The hallway often had a shelf running around the wall just above door height, (generally referred to as a “plate rack”) that also continued into the formal rooms. This wood panelling made for fairly dark rooms and was often painted in later years to lighten the rooms.

To go with the dark wood panelling the door and window hardware was in a Florentine Bronze finish which was copper plating on brass or pressed iron with a black patina finish over the top and small highlights of copper showing through. The Ceiling height was 10 foot or 3.05 metres which was lower than the 11 foot, (3.3m) Edwardian ceilings and considerably lower that the Victorian 12 foot, (3.6m).

Door Hardware for Californian Bungalows

The door hardware in Californian Bungalows is much simpler in design than either the Victorian or Edwardian style of Housing. In most cases the finish was a Florentine Bronze finish to match the darker interior. If you are renovating a Californian Bungalow and looking for the right sort of door handles to complement your home, here's our picks:

Typical Californian bungalow handles in a Florentine bronze finish

Bungalow Handles in a Different Finishes for a more modern look

Front Door handles for Californian Bungalow Homes

As with most things to do with the Californian Bungalow, the locks for the front and back doors were imported from America. The big old rim locks that were common on Victorian & Edwardian homes offered very little security. The Yale lock, which was still mounted externally on the back of the door, had a round barrel that came through the front of the door. This lock could be easily opened with a key but needed the door to be pulled in order to close it. Pull handles with round cylinder holes were most often used to suit this new style of lock. Later on better quality mortice locks that were fitted into the edge of the door were fitted for more security and similar handles to the internal passage handles could be fitted with euro cylinder holes cut into them.

Typical Californian Bungalow Entrance Handles to suit Yale style locks in Florentine Bronze

Californian Bungalow Entrance Handles in more modern finishes of Antique Brass. Polished Brass and Chrome

How to buy Door Hardware

Buying door hardware isn't straight forward, so working with a specialist is definitely highly recommended. But it always helps to have an understanding of what you need to get.

If you are buying a standard passage handle set, it will come with a pair of handles and a spindle to connect them. A tube latch needs to be added to this to open & close the door. For a bathroom a privacy snib needs to be added along with a privacy latch. When a privacy snib is used the backplate comes with a round hole that allows a snib for the inside and an emergency release on the outside to be connected to the privacy latch via a small spindle.

If the door handle is to be used for an entry door, then the backplate comes with either a large euro hole to fit a cylinder or a smaller mortice key hole. A mortice lock that fits into the edge of the door needs to be fitted to suit either the euro style key or the mortice style key.

House Of Home would like to thank Steve Chandler from Memory Lane for Period Style Lighting & Hardware for sharing his tips on choosing door hardware for a Californian Bungalow.