The history of the craftsman style home has a deep rooted presence in the worlds architectural history. Born out of the Arts and Crafts movement in Britain during the 19th century, this style of architecture, landscaping, interior design, applied arts, and decorative arts made its way to the US creating a specific lifestyle and philosophy. The Arts and Crafts movement tried to move away from the very eccentric and dramatic Victorian aesthetic. Instead, this movement opted for simplicity, natural materials, handcrafted design, and originality. The American Arts and Crafts style homes incorporated materials such as locally handcrafted wood, glass, and metal work, creating objects that were simple and elegant as well as full of clean lines and natural materials. Craftsman style homes are relatively easy to pick out from other architectural designs, containing their own style and specific touches that make them stand out from the rest. Here are some specific design elements that Craftsman style home plans usually have:
Low pitched or gabled roof
These low hanging rooflines mirror the influence of Oriental architecture on the style as a whole. The roofing usually has a wide, unenclosed eave which overhangs with decorative supports. This low hung roofing is beneficial to homes settled in warmer climates where snow and ice aren’t likely to accumulate heavily. It does, however, require usual maintenance to ensure leaves or other debris doesn’t build up over time creating an issue.
Front porches are a staple characteristic of Craftsman style homes, and they are rarely seen without one, even if it’s a partial. Usually these porches are protected beneath the main roofing or under a detached extended roof. Porches can be a good investment since they add extra space and curb appeal to any home, giving the owner the option of spending some time outside but still in a secluded and personal space.
One of the more distinctive characteristics of Craftsman style homes are the tapered columns which support the porch roof. Usually these columns are typically short and sit upon large stone or brick piers which extend to the ground level and give a solid look to the home, as if tying it down to the earth and nature. Not all columns are tapered, another deviation is the double column. You can add a touch of Craftsman style to your home by placing columns as porch supports, giving you the look without rebuilding your home.
Partially paned doors
One wouldn’t think that a front door had a large impact on recognizing the style of home, but for Craftsman style homes, there is a rather easy test. The front door of Craftsman style homes have glass panes in the upper third of the door, separating the bottom panel through a thick piece of trim. The windows bring in light, adding brightness to the entrance of the home. The wood of the door also goes back to the earth and hand crafted elements that Craftsman’s are known for. Adding this type of door to your home can give it a Craftsman style feel and incorporate that aesthetic into your pre-existing home.
Earth tones and elements
Due to the Arts and Crafts movement’s focus on earth tones and remaining connected to nature, it would only be fitting to have Craftsman style homes include a nature inspired palette full of browns and greens. This type of color palette allows for the home to blend seamlessly into its surroundings and really remain true to being connected with nature. You can paint the architectural features of the home a contrasting color to add a highlight to your homes best features and really make it pop on your street.
Bungalows almost always feature a combination of materials. Siding is typically wooden clapboard, however shingled siding is also a relatively common option, but porch piers and foundations are usually made of stone. Other materials such as brick, concrete block, and stucco can also be used. Don’t be afraid to mix materials. Your home can contain nods to several different types of homes and buildings. You can mix stone with woods and numerous types of plants to create your own little oasis.
Know the different styles: Bungalows, Prairie Style, Mission Revival, and Four Square
There are many different styles of Craftsman homes. Bungalows are the traditional style and include modest nuances. Bungalows are traditionally made of wood siding and brick or sometimes even stone. Similar to what has previously been mentioned as traditional elements of Craftsman style homes, Bungalows include low gabled roofs, prominent porches, and a distinct feature of double hung windows. These windows contain four or six panels in the upper sash of the window and one pane in the lower sash, giving you a unique and beautiful accent to the home.
- Prairie style features two or more stories with strong horizontal lines and contain a low, flat exterior which usually mimics whatever natural surrounding the home has. This style home is usually seen in the Midwest and the flatness of the home is used as an homage to the flat prairie lands that surround these homes. They contain low, horizontal lines and large open spaces within the home. Rooms within the home are wide and divided by leaded glass panels or low cabinets instead of walls to create a natural and open flow throughout the household. These homes were made to be distinctly different from the very popular Victorian design which included small hallways and relatively cramped spaces.
- Mission Revival style homes were inspired by the adobe structures of the Southwest and are very closely related to the Prairie style. Similar to the Prairie style, the Mission Revival style homes contain features like low, horizontal lines and large open interiors, but the exteriors are where they really differ from other styles. They can be very asymmetrical structures, usually covered in thick stucco with features of stone, brick, or tile. The homes can have large archways, heavy carved wood doors, and red clay roof tiles. Mission homes habitually have interior courtyards, deep-set porches, and extended roofs. This style of home really pays tribute to some Spanish architecture and flair with tile floors, fireplaces, and curved wall edges.
- Four Square is one of the other more notable styles of Craftsman homes. No one is completely sure how the Four Square came to be, although many suspect that after the war, this type of home was created as a response to the baby boom. Families were getting larger and were in need of more space, so builders took the efficient and moderately priced Craftsman Bungalow and added a second story for additional space. These homes, while efficient, lacked much of the historical and architectural elements of traditional Craftsman style homes. Some felt as though Four Square style homes were too boxy and contained little style. The style has endured throughout the years and is considered today to be one of the pillars of American residential architecture.
Craftsman style homes usually contain a very open and flowing floor-plan. They have few hallways, usually with rooms flowing from one into another. A level of detail increases the functionality of the home and contains useful features like built-ins of benches or cabinetry for extra seating and storage. Craftsman style homes also tend to be much more organic due to the use of natural materials. If you are looking to go green with your materials, this style of home could really lend itself to becoming a very environmentally friendly home and a base where you can grow your family and expand your lifestyle into your home to make it work for you.
Many homes have seen beautiful revivals and restorations, and traditional Craftsman-style house plans have been re-created with newer builds and utilized in modern renovations. If your home is in need of a tune-up and you’re thinking about going with the Craftsman look, you can find inspiration in magazines, neighborhoods in your area, on Pinterest or through online articles, like this one.
Now that you know some of the main characteristics of Craftsman-style homes, it’s important to know how you can bring the design into your home. Here are some practical ways you can utilize a Craftsman-style floor plan in your next remodel:
When it comes to established architecture, there are many things that make a certain style recognizable. As we mentioned before, when the Craftsman style was first introduced, it celebrated the Arts and Crafts aesthetic, which favored clean lines and natural materials. Craftsman homes are chock full of character, so if your home is lacking that special something, you can take certain design elements specific to a Craftsman and incorporate them into your contemporary Craftsman home.
- Interior. When the Craftsman style was created, it rejected the popular Victorian design of blocked-off rooms. Instead, Craftsman interiors favored open floor plans for maximum use of space. Some of the more recognized interior design elements in Craftsman-style homes include fireplaces, window seats, breakfast nooks, built-ins, detailed trim and crown molding, and the use of natural materials. Fireplaces and built-ins were known as the trademark features during the Arts and Crafts era. The built-ins created furniture pieces that became part of the structure of the home, which enhanced the overall design and functionality of the space. Fireplaces symbolized strong family units and stood as a prominent feature within Craftsman-style interiors.
- Exterior. Craftsman-style homes have a history of no two homes being alike, yet they have a number of exterior features in common, including low-pitched rooflines, overhanging eaves, covered porches, large pillars, and protruding dormers. Craftsman-style homes also place emphasis on natural materials, so the use of wood, stone, and brick will be quite prevalent.
Mixture of color and textures
In addition to immense features, Craftsman exterior details almost always included a healthy arrangement of color and various textures, including Shaker siding, glass features, natural stone, and brick elements. To create a contemporary Craftsman-style remodel, you can introduce this mixture of color and textures by using modern materials that are durable and low maintenance—so you can get the look without the hassle of upkeep.
The color palettes for Craftsman-style homes are often earthy tones, which reflect the natural environment around them. Some tones can be deep and earthy, while others are soft and subtle. When choosing the exterior color of your Craftsman remodel, stick with a natural and well-balanced color palette.
Rooflines and porch
Some of the more recognizable characteristics of Craftsman homes are low-pitched roofs, deep eaves, and exposed rafter tails. Touches such as decorative brackets can provide a distinct look if completely changing your roofline isn’t feasible or practical.
A front porch is usually a statement on Craftsman homes. With solid porch columns and base supports of stone or brick, the porch takes on its own feeling as an extension of your home. If you already have an existing porch that you’re trying to transform to fit the new Craftsman feel, replace old thin columns with more robust ones that fit the style.
As we’ve discussed here, the style of a Craftsman home has deep historical roots full of character. Due to the continued interest in Craftsman design, you should be able to find multiple ideas and inspirations for your renovation project. If you can’t find anything that meets your aesthetic wants and design plans, think about talking to an architect to see what they would suggest for your project.