Craftsman Style Houses - Explained

Decoration and Design
Additions and Remodels
Architecture
By Contractors.com Team July 19, 2021

Craftsman homes are a great example of a historic trend that has endured the test of time. You’ve likely seen many examples of craftsman houses without even realizing what category of architecture they belong to, as they have become quite ubiquitous. These homes have some common traits that set them apart from the cookie-cutter Victorian houses that dot the landscape of suburbia. Indeed, Craftsman homes were born at the turn of the 20th century as a direct rejection of the mass-produced nature of the Victorian style. 

The Craftsman house was supposed to reintroduce individuality, honesty, and authenticity to the American home in the wake of the industrial revolution. Its proponents believed that industrialization had reduced the value of handmade human labor. So, the supporters of the Craftsman style sought to restore the value of a laborer’s hard day’s work by emphasizing handcrafted high-quality goods in their design style

Even though this is now a trend that is well over a century old, Craftsman homes remain highly desirable, and modern craftsman homes are regularly constructed to this day. The Craftsman style isn’t just limited to homes though, and also spans to interior design, landscaping, and the arts. 

Roots of Craftsman Style

It may surprise you to know that America’s Craftsman movement was inspired by events overseas. 

The British Arts and Crafts Movement

Britain was the first country to industrialize, and it was, therefore, the first place where the major cultural shifts of industrialization were experienced. British artisans and builders eventually came to reject the excessive opulence of industrial design and ornamentation and called for a return to nature and simplicity. This rejection of industrial revolution design trends eventually spawned the British Arts and Crafts movement, which worked to reintroduce handcrafted and personalized interior design, art, and textiles. In its essence, the Arts and Crafts movement was about putting quality over quantity. Later on, this movement became a direct inspiration for the American Craftsman style.   

Nationwide Popularity 

Craftsmen design originally took hold in California and the Midwest with the construction of small and mid-sized homes intended to house working-class families. These were meant to provide modest, simple, and high-quality housing for working-class families that was easy to maintain. 

But the Craftsman style’s rise to nationwide popularity came later in the 20th century in large part thanks to the work of Gustav Stickley. Stickley was a furniture designer and the founder of The Craftsman, a monthly magazine which he used to promote and popularize the style.  

How to Recognize Craftsman Style

There are some tell-tale signs that tell you that you are looking at a Craftsman house. Each Craftsman house may have a slightly different take on these general rules, but most examples of this style will follow them. 

Prominent Exterior Features 

Craftsman houses are distinguished by their low-pitched roofs with protruding single or double gables. This also means that they have overhanging eaves, which allow for the average Craftsman house to have bigger, wider porches than most homes. The typical Craftsman home will also have exposed tapered columns as part of its porch setup. A distinctive design feature of Craftsman houses is that details such as exposed beams, rafters, and brackets are handcrafted, and are free of ornamentation. These are typically left exposed to complete the Craftsman house’s rustic aesthetic. 

Craftsman Exteriors to Be Inspired By for Your Next Remodel

Craftsman Exteriors to Be Inspired By for Your Next Remodel

Interior Features

As with their exteriors, Craftsman-style homes are made solidly on the inside as well and are filled with strong natural materials that are stylish and long-lasting. A Craftsman house’s interior is designed to be a homey place that is cozy and warm. It won’t have any of the ornamentation or finery of a Victorian house, because all those bells and whistles are just unnecessary. Craftsman homes do not sport open-floor plan layouts but tend to favor distinct delineations between each space. As a result, each part of the house is its own zone and separate from other parts of the home. You’ll find no shortage of wood on the inside of a Craftsman house. 

Attractive Craftsman Living and Dining Rooms That Combine Practicality and Comfort

Attractive Craftsman Living and Dining Rooms That Combine Practicality and Comfort

Bungalows 

Many bungalows are Craftsman-style houses, but not all Craftsman homes are bungalows. Nevertheless, if you do see a bungalow, there’s a good chance that it’s an example of Craftsman design. These are the smallest examples of Craftsman homes you will see and are usually one-story or one-and-a-half-story homes that have sloping roofs and wide porches. 

Siding and Colors 

The Craftsman style is all about a return to nature and earthiness. That’s especially true when you see the exterior design of a Craftsman house, which is typically dominated by wood siding that features earthy colors. Classic colors for a Craftsman home are various shades of brown and green, alongside other dark and earthy colors. However, Craftsman houses today can come in many different colors and won’t necessarily be restricted to just one set of hues.  

How to Design Your House in The Craftsman Style 

Of course, the main way to get a craftsman house is to buy one or to have one built for you. But if you don’t have any plan to do either of these things in the near future, there are ways to give your home a more Craftsman-like aesthetic. 

Bright Craftsman Exterior Designs and Architecture

Bright Craftsman Exterior Designs and Architecture

Buy Handmade 

The most affordable way to bring some Craftsman design into your home is to buy from craftsmen. By which of course we mean, buy from local artisans in your area that make handmade furniture, decor, and fixtures. A big mission of the 1900s Craftsman movement was to save the value of labor from being lost in the cacophony of industrial machines. The best way you can embody that spirit is to buy from and support local craftsmen. 

Handmade pieces typically take a lot more time and money to be made, and the Craftsmen style values that kind of hard work, especially if it’s made out of wood. So consider getting a high-quality wooden couch from your local furniture producer, or some new custom-made oak cabinets for your kitchen. These kinds of high-quality wood pieces are centerpieces of any Craftsman interior. 

Craftsman Kitchen Interior Designs and Styles

Craftsman Kitchen Interior Designs and Styles

Keep The Design Simple

The key to a Craftsman design is simplicity, and that means you should avoid anything too showy or intricate. That means you should shy away from Victorian-style embellishments on the inside and outside of your home. Your decorations should mainly come from the exposed details, such as wood rafters, brackets, columns, and the like. 

These wooden features help to emphasize that your home is more connected with the natural world by showcasing big, sturdy natural materials such as wood and stone. Instead of verticality, your home’s design should emphasize horizontal lines, with roofs that extend far past the home’s walls. 

Quality Family Time In the Coziest Craftsman Living Room

Quality Family Time In the Coziest Craftsman Living Room

Bring In the Wood and Stone

The traditional exterior uniform of any Craftsman house is wood cladding, usually in the form of cedar Shaker shingles. This can be accented with natural materials such as sandstone or stucco and can be translated into the interior design of the home as well with prominent wood pillars and exposed rafters. 

Paint on Some Earthy Colors

Dark green and brown hues were once the standard colors for Craftsman home exteriors, so you can’t go wrong with these classics. However, part of the reason the Craftsman style is still so popular today is that it has evolved with the changing times. So while you’re perfectly free to stick to these shades, there’s no reason not to try out new design elements. A Craftsman house today can be any color that comes to mind, but generally goes well with blues, reds, yellows, and more earthy color schemes. 

Choosing the Colors of Your Craftsman Interior and Exterior

Choosing the Colors of Your Craftsman Interior and Exterior

Written by
Contractors.com Team

Written by Contractors.com Team