Craftsman Style – Historic, Classic, Stunning
While certainly numerous design styles and aesthetics have come and gone throughout American history, the Craftsman style home design (a.k.a. Arts and Crafts) have a very well-entrenched and highly respected legacy in this country. Characterized by strong, robust lines, an assemblage of different materials and the intimacy of interior spaces that still boasted a very rich and generous feel, Craftsman style homes were at the height of their popularity in the very early years of the twentieth century.
Between 1900 and 1920, this eclectically designed home was all the rage. Perhaps both for its affordability, it’s ease in terms of methods and duration of construction, and its undeniable charm, Craftsman style houses definitely took the country by storm.
Craftsman Style versus Bungalow
Within the Arts and Crafts movement, there were of course offshoots that borrowed from Craftsman design and yet added their own unique spin. One such version: The Bungalow. Very much a close cousin of the Craftsman home, the bungalow had its heyday in California; thus, popularly becoming known as the California Bungalow. Also marked by many of the same features as the Craftsman, the bungalow was a testament to families wanting to bond in more familiar, closer-knit spaces. It was about handcrafted simplicity and beauty—as were basically all of the Craftsman inspired home designs. So whatever guise it came in, whether bungalow, prairie style or even mission—this era of homes had one thing in common: emphasis was placed on the superior quality of craftsmanship.
What Makes Craftsman Style Home Design So Unique?
Many say the mix of materials, some will of course nod to the expansive and ultra-impressive front porches, and still others will say that it is the unique detailing of the Craftsman house plans that truly define the style. One of the major features seen with the emergence of the Craftsman home in the very early 1900s was the roofline, particularly in relation to overall curb appeal. Something as simple as turning the gable, helped give rise to a whole new concept in home design.
So let’s take a look at the key features of Craftsman homes to see why this style was and still is so beloved…
The Roofline: The quintessential Craftsman has a gable end facing the road. Giving the home an instant cozy-makeover, orienting the gable to the front of the house created a unique and more “windowed” perspective. Not to mention, doing it this way also enabled designers to layer materials. For instance, the peak of the gable often popularly featured cedar shakes, while a mix of horizontal siding, along with thick and beefy fascia boards paired perfectly.
Of course, the typical Craftsman plan wasn’t always about that front facing gable. Some boasted long dormers thereby opening up that second floor and making it much more airy. Some also offered cross gables, where a front facing gable intersects with the primary roofline. The point with Craftsman design, was always to try and create a look and feel that bespoke intimacy, character and interest.
That Big Ol’ Front Porch: You think Craftsman, you immediately conjure images of an expansive, bold and truly inviting front porch. From the stone used on the post pillars, to the thick and tapered lines of the posts themselves, there is nothing at all timid about the front porch of a true Craftsman house. This was an extension of the interior living space after all. Keeping in mind that Craftsman floorplans tended toward the smaller side, this outdoor porch space became central to the family’s lifestyle. Today we see numerous echoes of the Craftsman porch style and design, especially when it comes to posts—you might say they are definitely trending.
The Details: When you go smaller, you make sure to play up the details, bring out that distinctive Craftsman character. Both on the exterior and within, Craftsman style homes have some truly unique features that represent the handcrafted nature of the structure. From a wide array of built-ins, to corbels and peak details, to carved and substantial fireplace mantles, the look of a Craftsman is definitely one-of-a-kind.
It’s All About the Wood: In keeping with the theme of coziness and that family feel, Craftsman home design generally is based around wood. Natural and warm finishes, a combination of species and textures, wood is absolutely everywhere in this type of house. Wood floors, cabinetry, built-in bookshelves, moldings, anywhere wood can go, in a Craftsman home, it will go!
While certainly there are many wonderful home styles and design, Craftsman houses stand out not only for their historic beauty, but also for what they represent. These homes began to be built in an era in which people prized true artistry and craftsmanship. And also one in which the concept of family came to represent what was genuinely important in one’s life. At Classic Home Improvements, we love building Craftsman style homes and we would certainly be more than happy to sit down with you and design yours!