Craftsman homes are one of the most popular styles in America — you’ve probably walked past plenty and not known what they were. These charming designs include functional features designed for the hardworking family. Natural tones and materials are popular choices for them.
The Craftsman home was popular throughout America and Europe, with a few different styles to complement various areas. Inspirations from Asia to Spain found their way into the Craftsman home. It remains a favorite choice of many, for its simplicity and functionality.
In today’s post, we’ll go over the Craftsman house characteristics, the history of the design and the different Craftsman-style house plans that are out there.
What Does the Interior of a Craftsman Home Look Like?
Inside of a Craftsman home, you’re sure to find a cozy, charming interior. These are comfortable spaces that will make you feel at home. They are warm and inviting, the perfect place to prop your feet up by the fireplace and read a book or spend quality time with family and friends. Their features are purposeful and built into a modestly-sized space.
- Fireplace: One of the first things you’ll notice in a Craftsman house interior is a large, captivating fireplace. This warm addition serves as an eye-catching centerpiece in the middle of the room. It is comforting, aesthetic and functional, as an enjoyable way to heat your home. Many choose to accentuate the fireplace with artwork or a TV mounted above it. Some bedrooms even get a fireplace as well.
- Built-in features: You’ll find the Craftsman charm in every inch of the home, especially since it makes use of smaller spaces with built-in features, like nooks and window seats. The breakfast nook is a popular addition to the kitchen, while a small reading corner can make use of window benches. Other built-in options include cabinets and shelving. These homes tend to have a little less storage space, so they make up for it by incorporating storage into the fixtures.
- Floor plan: The Craftsman floor plan is open, allowing for easy access and lines of sight throughout the house. The kitchen tends to be a hub and is easily accessible from most of the other rooms. You’ll find out why in the section on the history of the Craftsman home. The open floor plan can help the house feel more spacious.
- Slanted ceilings and dormers: When it’s time to head to bed, you may find yourself in a bedroom with slanted ceilings and less square footage. For some, this is a unique, cozy feature that is good for a bedroom, where you like to feel privacy. Others may find it tight quarters. Dormers are also common, which can cut into the spaciousness of a room. These Craftsman bedrooms can be snug, but if you need something that feels roomier, you can find a plan with flat ceilings or avoid dormers.
- Natural building materials: As for the materials of the home, you’ll see plenty of natural substances. Rich woodwork, handcrafted stone and mixed metals wouldn’t be uncommon. Hardwood floors, cabinetry and various structures make for a warm, classy space. Many ceilings feature exposed beams and wood trim, while stone fireplaces bring a beautiful, natural feel to the living room.
- Colors: Because of these design materials, interior colors typically include pale, neutral tones, which allow the woodwork to shine. Bolder colors may become distracting and overshadow the natural beauty, but they can work well as accents.
What Are the Exterior Characteristics of a Craftsman Home?
The exterior of a Craftsman-style home can be just as charming as the inside. From the curb, it is often quite flat, with a horizontal effect.
These homes typically have a low-pitched roof, in a hip or triangular style, with eaves extending past the roof edges. The rafters and the triangles that support the eaves are likely to be exposed underneath, as well. Many features offer a very transparent design, celebrating the simple, clean infrastructure.
As for the windows, many Craftsman homes use dormers. Traditionally, they used a single, centered dormer with several windows, but now a variety of configurations are available. Windows may be double hanging, with separate panes of glass on the top and bottom portions.
The doors typically have partial panes under the upper third and are enclosed in a covered front porch. On the outside of the porch, tapered pillars are common, often with a broad base that grows smaller toward the top.
The exterior colors often complement the surrounding landscape. Natural colors that are muted and earthy are common, including greens, browns and tans. Depending on the nearby scenery, these can vary, of course. A house surrounded by lush greenery will need different colors than one with a rock garden. Some options for exterior materials include:
- Wood, including cedar shakes and shiplap
Again, some areas tend to gravitate toward different materials based on availability and environment.
What Is the History of the Craftsman House?
Back in the 19th century, the Victorian style was still in full swing throughout Britain. Victorian homes celebrated extravagance and excess. With styles like the Queen Anne and Gothic Revival, Victorian houses enjoyed complex architecture and designs built with a variety of materials. They were constructed during Queen Victoria’s reign and pushed along by the Industrial Revolution, which made manufactured supplies easier to come by.
The Arts and Crafts movement came to fruition at the start of the 20th century. It represented humble, honest craftsmanship and rejected much of the Victorian style, including mass-produced features that came along with the industrial revolution. Hand-crafted structures were more appreciated, as a symbol of genuine work. The movement also rejected overly ornate or artificial designs.
Arts and Crafts praised function over form, maintaining that the use of the item — in this case, the home — is more important than the decoration. The rise of the working class created an admonishment of impractical designs. Houses were crafted with this principle in mind throughout Britain, featuring attractive, proportional forms and natural materials. Several villages in the country are known for buildings that used the architecture of the Arts and Crafts movement.
As for America, it is no surprise that a style based on honest work and simplicity took off. There are a couple of routes that helped bring the Craftsman home to the Western hemisphere. The broader Arts and Crafts movement went on display during an exhibition in Boston. This exhibition included over 400 pieces of art and was intended to bring the movement to America.
More specifically, for the Craftsman style, a furniture designer named Gustav Stickley is often credited with its introduction to the western hemisphere. He created a magazine called “The Craftsman” in New York, offering blueprints and plans for a variety of home designs. Names like Harvey Ellis and Greene and Greene adorned the pages. His idea was to bring this approach to the masses, and he originated the Craftsman style.
A large part of the push for functional homes for families was the decline of servants. As the Old World ideologies faded away and class distinctions were less prevalent, inferior servants’ quarters fell out of the traditional model of the home. The housewife became a more critical part of day-to-day life. She would clean the house, prepare the meals and take care of the kids. A home that allowed her to see the kids from the kitchen was a great benefit. Also, the kitchen became more of a hub — a cozy hearth for the whole family — so things like breakfast nooks became popular in kitchens as areas for everyone to gather while food was prepared.
Why Has the Craftsman Home Remained Popular?
These homes are still popular for a variety of reasons, including their charm and their functionality. People appreciate the down-to-earth approach of a house that successfully addresses their needs. The built-in storage and convenient floor plans make it perfect for busy parents, and the homey feel makes it an excellent place for gathering. It’s easy to imagine opening holiday presents in the family room or seeing a child grow up in this kind of home. Their smaller size makes them more affordable and easy to care for as well.
The Craftsman house includes timeless designs that haven’t gone out of style. A well-built Craftsman home will look beautiful for ages. Its simplicity helps with that goal. Simple lines, even proportions and the celebration of natural materials are all attractive elements that don’t look outdated in the least.
These homes are also built to last. Sturdy, straightforward design plans and eco-friendly building materials allow for a reliable space that is sure to weather the elements and stick around. They may also use less energy to keep your home warm since the materials tend to be items like stone and wood.
Craftsman homes are also versatile. They’ve been built with the help of influences from Japan, India and Spain, and modern Craftsman house plans can incorporate gardens or attached garages, among a variety of contemporary amenities. A homeowner isn’t limited to the original Craftsman house plans of yesteryear. Modern additions can work well if you keep in mind what makes a Craftsman house a Craftsman. Removing the cozy atmosphere or the beautiful natural materials could make it lose some of its charms, but keeping in line with the tenets of the Craftsman style can allow you to make a variety of modifications that fit your needs.
Many renowned architects worked with this style, contributing to its popularity. Some of the most famous architects of Craftsman homes include Greene and Greene, Frank Lloyd Wright and Bernard Maybeck. Greene and Greene added several Craftsman homes to Pasadena and other parts of California, while Frank Lloyd Wright developed the Prairie School style over in the midwest. Many parts of the Chicagoland areas feature these designs. It didn’t end there, though. The Craftsman home found its way all across the continent and into many other countries.
What Are the Different Craftsman Styles?
While some of the previously mentioned features characterize the Craftsman style, there are several subcategories, each with their distinct influences and traits.
- Bungalow: The bungalow is the traditional idea of a Craftsman home, which seems a little counterintuitive because the inspiration actually derives from India. Originally from the Bengal region, bungalows were designed to have broad, open veranda-style porches. They often featured one-story designs or incorporated dormer windows and sloped roofs into the upper floor. In terms of a Craftsman home, you can easily see where these concepts have transferred over. These bungalows have a unique facade on the outside, with broad, open porches and tapered pillars. Bungalows tend to be private since they are so low to the ground, and even a little bit of shrubbery can hide it from view. Bungalows are a common style of home, likely due to how spacious and straightforward they are.
- Prairie School: As the name would suggest, the Prairie School style is frequently in the midwest. It may have been designed to be reminiscent of the neverending, treeless landscapes of the area. With the flat roofs and horizontal lines of the Craftsman design, this style certainly fits the bill. Not exclusive to residential use, institutions such as schools often used the Prairie School style. Frank Lloyd Wright was a famous advocate of this style, appreciating the natural feel, as though the homes were “married to the ground.” Organic architecture was one of Wright’s design philosophies that emphasized the harmony between a structure and its environment, something that was evident in the Prairie School style.
- Mission Revival: Mission revival homes were popular around California, where they drew inspiration from 19th-century Spanish missions. In addition to residential applications, these Spanish Colonial buildings were popular on commercial and institutional uses, like schools, post offices or railroad stations. Stucco and adobe brick came back as elements from the original style. Other features include large, enclosed courtyards and wide arches. Thankfully, modern building practices enabled these designs to stand up for longer than their deteriorating inspirational sources.
- Foursquare: The name Foursquare tells us a lot about the layout of a house — the home contains four large, square-shaped rooms per floor. Often there are two floors, with the possibility of an additional half level or dormers in the roof. The box-like design is a great way to use every square inch, offering more efficient use of space than the bungalows. These are more common in urban areas, as neighborhood density becomes a concern.
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You can search for homes by popularity, features and architectural style, including the Craftsman. With this style, you can enjoy the simplicity and modest size of a functional home without the hassle of designing it. If you think a homey, comfortable and natural tone is the right fit for your new home, check out our collection of Craftsman homes today.