What is a Craftsman Style House?
A Craftsman style house, also known as the American Craftsman or Arts and Crafts style, is an architectural design that emerged in the late 19th century and early 20th centuries. It originated as a response to the elaborate and ornate designs and house architecture of the Victorian era and emphasized simplicity, functionality, and handcrafted elements.
Craftsman style houses are characterized by their low-pitched, gabled roofs with wide overhanging eaves supported by decorative brackets. The roofs often feature exposed rafters. The exteriors are typically clad in natural materials such as wood siding, stone, or brick. The houses often have front porches with tapered columns or pedestals, and sometimes include a low stone wall or railings.
One of the key features of Craftsman style houses is their emphasis on handcrafted details and natural materials. This is evident in the use of woodworking elements such as exposed beams, built-in cabinetry, and decorative trim. Interiors often feature open floor plans, large fireplaces, and an abundance of windows to bring in natural light.
Craftsman style houses also promote a connection to nature. They often incorporate elements such as large windows, skylights, and covered outdoor spaces that blur the line between indoor and outdoor living. The interior color schemes are typically earthy and subdued, with an emphasis on natural wood tones.
The Craftsman style became popular in the United States during the early 20th century, particularly in California where it was influenced by the Arts and Crafts movement in England. It was championed by architects such as Gustav Stickley and Greene and Greene, who promoted the idea of well-crafted, affordable homes that celebrated skilled craftsmanship.
Craftsman style houses are still admired and sought after today for their timeless design, functional layout, and attention to detail. They continue to be a significant architectural style in residential construction, offering a warm and inviting aesthetic with a focus on quality craftsmanship.
How did Craftsman homes get their name?
Craftsman homes got their name from the popular magazine “The Craftsman,” which was published by Gustav Stickley, a prominent figure in the Arts and Crafts movement. Stickley, along with other influential architects and designers, promoted the Craftsman style as a response to the ornate and mass-produced designs of the Victorian era.
In the early 20th century, Stickley’s magazine played a crucial role in popularizing the Craftsman style and spreading its ideas. “The Craftsman” magazine featured articles on architecture, interior design, and various aspects of the Arts and Crafts movement. It showcased Craftsman-style homes designed by Stickley and other architects, as well as provided plans and instructions for building and furnishing Craftsman-inspired houses.
The magazine emphasized the idea of craftsmanship, highlighting the value of handcrafted elements and promoting a return to simplicity, honesty, and quality in design. Stickley believed that well-crafted homes and furnishings could improve the lives of ordinary people, and he sought to create a movement that celebrated skilled craftsmanship and the handmade.
As the popularity of the Craftsman style grew, the term “Craftsman” became synonymous with this architectural design. The name “Craftsman” was widely used to describe the style, reflecting its association with the principles and ideals advocated by Gustav Stickley and other proponents of the Arts and Crafts movement. Over time, the term “Craftsman” became established as a recognized architectural style that continues to be used today to describe homes built in this distinctive design.
Origins of the Craftsman House
The Craftsman house style was inspired by the American arts and crafts movement in the very late 19th century. The arts and crafts style could be seen in interior design, architecture, and other decorative arts. It’s wild popularity in southern California gave it the nickname “California Bungalow.” As indicated above, the style was perpetuated across the rest of the United States mostly by furniture maker Gustav Stickley, creator of The Craftsman magazine.
Prolific architect brothers, Charles and Henry Greene, adopted the style and are largely responsible for spreading its popularity across California. They were inspired by the British arts and crafts movement, as well as Oriental wood architecture.
Characteristics of the Craftsman House
Craftsman style, whether in architecture or otherwise, encourages the use of local materials. This is common in the arts and crafts inspired styles. They use simple forms, a stark contrast to the gothic revival, Victorian, and other elaborate home styles that were popular at the time.
A Craftsman house will have a low pitched gabled roof with long eaves. In line with the arts and crafts style, wooden beams and rafters will often be left exposed. Under the long eaves there will typically be a big front porch lined by heavy, large columns. Materials include wood, as well as stucco or stone for decorative elements. Typically, one will see dormers and double-hung windows.
The interior of the home, like the outside, will typically have lots of exposed woodwork that adds to the house’s charm. The layout is simple and often open plan. Craftsman houses will have elements built in to the walls, such as shelving and nooks and window seats. Typically there will be a large fireplace as the centerpiece of the living space. Like the outside of the home, there will be an abundance of natural materials, usually in earth tone colors.
While these homes originally were only one or one and a half stories, they have evolved to meet the needs of modern American families and are nearly always 2 stories now. While these homes were wildly popular across America in the early 1900s, they faded out of style for a few decades. Lately, they are coming back into popularity with a few more modern updates.
What types of area rugs will work best in an American Craftsman Architecture House Style?
When it comes to selecting area rugs for an American Craftsman house, it’s important to consider the overall design principles of the style, which emphasize simplicity, craftsmanship, and natural elements. Naturally, this quintessential American architecture style would work best with hand crafted period antique area rugs made in America, there are other types of area rugs that could look great as well.
Here are some types of area rugs that would complement the American Craftsman house architecture style:
- Wool Rugs: Wool rugs are a great choice for Craftsman homes as they provide a warm and cozy feel. Look for rugs made of high-quality wool with rich textures and earthy colors. Hand-knotted or handmade area rugs can also add a touch of craftsmanship that aligns with the Craftsman aesthetic.
- Persian/Oriental Rugs: Persian rugs or Oriental rugs in general can bring a sense of elegance and timeless beauty to a Craftsman home. Look for area rug styles with intricate patterns and deep colors that complement the earthy tones often found in Craftsman interiors. Choose area rugs that feature a well-balanced design with a focus on craftsmanship.
- Geometric Rugs: Craftsman style often incorporates geometric patterns, and incorporating area rugs with geometric designs can enhance the overall home decor aesthetic. You want to look for geometric rugs with simple yet bold geometric patterns, such as squares, rectangles, or diamonds. These can add visual interest and complement the clean lines of the architecture.
- Natural Fiber Rugs: Rugs woven with natural martials can bring an organic and textured element to Craftsman interiors. These area rugs often have a more casual and relaxed feel, which can work well in spaces like living rooms or bedrooms. They also complement the emphasis on natural materials and earthy tones in Craftsman design.
- Arts and Crafts Inspired Rugs: Consider area rugs that draw inspiration from the Arts and Crafts movement, which influenced the Craftsman style. The arts and crafts rugs, like those area rugs by William Morris or the iconic Charles Francis Annesley Voysey rugs, often feature botanical motifs, stylized designs, or artful details that reflect the craftsmanship and artistic elements of the era.
When choosing an area rug for a Craftsman house, it’s essential to consider the size, color palette, and overall design scheme of the space. Aim for a rug that complements the existing furnishings and area rugs that tie the room together while respecting the style’s emphasis on simplicity, craftsmanship and natural materials.
This Craftsman house style is iconic, American, practical, and beautiful. Keep this style in mind as it is coming back into popularity across America.