What is a Craftsman House?
Quintessentially American, the Craftsman house style can be seen in many places across America. Although it’s height of popularity was in the 1930s, it is coming back into popularity today. Let’s explore where the style came from, how it evolved, and how you can recognize it.
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.” 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.
This Craftsman house style is iconic, American, practical, and beautiful. Keep this style in mind as it is coming back into popularity across America.