When it comes to a classic, we all have things that come to mind – a classic car, classical music and classical architecture. But to go beyond a particular trait, a design or concept becomes a classic because it is well loved and remembered fondly for generations. The Craftsman house style is a great American classic, and it borrows strongly from architectural styles that go back to the Greek and Roman classical era. Many of the features of a Craftsman house work well with today’s transitional and modern design – in fact, the Craftsman was probably the first rendition of modern design during the late 1800’s and early 1900’s. Though there are literally several dozen common traits of the Craftsman style, in this post, we’ll take a good look at three features Craftsman style homes feature in their design that meld well with modern tastes.
1.) Open Floor Plan
One of the areas where Craftsman homes changed drastically from the Victorian style was an open floor plan. As modern HVAC mechanical systems became more and more developed, the compartmentalization design of Victorian homes began to give way to a floor plan that provided more flexibility in how the space was used as well as opening up the floor plan to give an impression of larger rooms and more extensive space. One common interior treatment involved dividing the living room from the dining room with posts placed on top of half-wall bookshelves. The shelves often featured glass and wood doors with beautiful stained or leaded glass work, another common design feature of Craftsman homes.
2.) A Serious Front Porch
Another nearly universal feature of the Craftsman movement was a solid front porch. Though they vary somewhat in style, there are typically two standard treatments. In the first one, the roof would continue a downward slant from the peak to the front of the porch, where it was braced up by a strong, solid beam from one side of the house to the other. The beam, in turn, was held up by tapered wooden pillars which, in turn, were held up by very sturdy brick, stucco or stone pillars that would go all the way to the foundation. The second style would usually incorporate the same type of two-part pillars, but the roof for the porch would come out at a different angle, with the end of the gable visible at the front of the house. This type of porch may be narrower than the full width of the house, but would still take up a significant portion of the front appearance. In either type of porch, rafter tails and beams were often left exposed as part of the strong structure of the house, while the door would often feature a geometric stained glass lite in the top third of the door with a heavy piece of trim directly beneath it.
3.) Beautiful Woodwork and Trim
If a Victorian home was the over-decorated, difficult to paint and hard to maintain extreme of architecture, the Craftsman style was a strong refusal of that appearance, bringing in a much simpler style and clean lines. Woodwork in traditional Craftsman homes has often been left unstained or unpainted, to allow the natural beauty of the wood to shine through. It would also feature strong lines in the home’s trim work around doorways, windows and at the ceiling and floor molding.
A Craftsman house has many other amazing features as well, and has stood the test of time to become one of America’s best-loved classics. Whether you have a Craftsman to restore to its former glory or need a home designed based on Craftsman architecture, please feel free to contact us for assistance. At Prime Draft, we’re always happy to help bring your favorite classic architecture into your home.