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What Is a Chalet Bungalow?

A chalet bungalow blends the charm of a Swiss chalet with the practicality of a single-story home, often featuring a sloping roof and upstairs living spaces. This architectural gem provides cozy nooks and spacious rooms, perfect for those seeking a unique dwelling. What might your dream chalet bungalow look like? Imagine the possibilities as we explore further.
Dan Cavallari
Dan Cavallari

A chalet bungalow is a type of bungalow house that has a small living space on a second floor or loft. By definition, a bungalow is generally considered a one-story structure that is detached from other structures. The chalet bungalow is still essentially a bungalow, however, because it matches the other criteria that comprise a bungalow-style house. The chalet bungalow design, like other types of bungalow houses, originates in India where the structure was a commonly built house for the working class. Bungalows are usually one story with a veranda — an open-air covered front porch. Historically, bungalows were thatch-roof structures that were cheaply built and very simple. Today, bungalows use quality building materials but still mimic traditional layouts.

The sloping roof and gables featured on all bungalows are also common on the chalet bungalow. Bungalows can be designed to contain the same amount of living space as other houses, which means the footprint of the bungalow is generally larger than other types of houses. This also means the yard on which a bungalow is built must be larger. The advantages of a bungalow include increased privacy, as properly placed trees and shrubs can obstruct views from the outside. They are also advantageous because all living space is on one floor, which means there are no stairs to climb. The veranda outside the house increases the effective living space during warm weather.

Bungalows were historically small houses with thatched roofs.
Bungalows were historically small houses with thatched roofs.

A chalet bungalow, however, has a second story loft that can be converted into living space. The loft is generally small because it is directly beneath the roof, and in normal bungalows, such space is often small and used mostly for storage. The chalet bungalow utilizes this space for a bedroom or other living space, making the chalet bungalow fundamentally different from a typical bungalow. It is still considered a bungalow by most people because all the main living areas are located on the first floor, though technically it does not meet the criteria of a true bungalow.

A chalet bungalow has a second story loft that can be converted into living space.
A chalet bungalow has a second story loft that can be converted into living space.

Such a design is useful for small families that have young children. The living space upstairs can be used as a bedroom for the children, while the main living area and main bedroom remain downstairs. A bungalow was historically a small dwelling for the poor and working class of India, so the modern versions are often small as well. The loft area then becomes very important to families who need storage space, guest space, or bedroom space.

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Discussion Comments


From reading the description of a chalet bungalow in this article, it seems to me that this house design would work especially well as a vacation home. It's small enough to not be too much of a burden to maintain.

The covered veranda is a great feature for any season. With the loft, it could accommodate a number of guests. It could work in the mountains, the ocean, or along a river in the forest.


I'm not so sure I have seen a chalet bungalow in the area where I live. I wonder what part of the country this house design is found.

This type of house could possibly work for couples with little kids. Would the loft area be closed in and are there stairs or a ladder to get up to the loft? There could be safety issues here if there are young children.

Since these houses are small, they may be affordable. But then again, they have to be built on a fairly large piece of land.


@tomislav - I always thought of chalet as a ski houses, as that is also where I had always seen the word chalet, so I looked into it.

It turns out that a chalet by itself by definition does not have to be a bungalow. But I am going to venture a guess that the reason we always see the word chalet when it comes to skiing is because a chalet is typically found in the mountains, and you need a mountain to ski!


@sinbad - I had thought the same about chalet bungalows, but my vacation experience was in ski resorts.

It slways seemed the cute vacation homes that were on the actual ski trail at the ski resort (so you could start skiing as soon as you walked out of the door of your rental) were always called ski chalets. And since they were right on the ski trail, I assumed they had to be expensive to rent (location, location, location)!

I do not know if they were actually bungalows as well, but I definitely thought the synonym to chalet was resort and expensive.

So I wonder if a chalet has to be a bungalow as the article did mention a bungalow does not have to be a chalet bungalow?


I had always thought of chalet anything as fancy as expensive, but I can tell from this article it was not always this way.

Maybe I thought this because when we had a ton of people going to a vacation destination we always had enough money to rent a chalet bungalow.

I loved the layout with having so many people in one place; you could easily communicate from the loft. Some of the lighter sleepers among us did not like the bungalow for the same ease of communication because they felt they could hear everything and therefore could not sleep!

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    • Bungalows were historically small houses with thatched roofs.
      By: silvergull
      Bungalows were historically small houses with thatched roofs.
    • A chalet bungalow has a second story loft that can be converted into living space.
      By: Adrian Hillman
      A chalet bungalow has a second story loft that can be converted into living space.