The Craftsman style home was a revolution in American architectural design, and houses of this style were built all over the nation between 1905 and 1930. In the late part of the 20th century, the style became popular again, with architects restoring older houses and building new replicas. Like many design elements of the Arts and Crafts period, the Craftsman home is a work of art as well as a functioning dwelling. It has a distinctive style that is instantly recognizable to architecture students, contractors, and aficionados of the Arts and Crafts movement.
Several designers, including Gustav Stickley, Charles Sumner Greene, and Henry Mather Greene, popularized this style of home. All of these men were iconic figures in the Arts and Crafts movement, and the style became a natural extension of the furniture and art they created. The Craftsman has its roots in the bungalow, a low slung, comfortable home that originated in India.
A Craftsman home is is typically one story tall and has a low, gentle sloping roof, although some also have attics and dormers. The house usually has wide eaves above a deep porch, which has distinctive square pillars. The roof rafters are traditionally exposed, while the inside of the home has many built-in cabinets, nooks, seating, and shelving. The interior beams of the house are usually exposed and used as decorative elements as well.
Houses in this style usually have an open floor plan, which facilitates the display of large art pieces as well as big gatherings. In addition, the house plays with negative space to highlight accents of the home, while also using space very efficiently. Most also incorporate Arts and Crafts style light fixtures, which are an integral part of the home design rather than an afterthought. Some also feature stained glass windows to provide a play of light as well as privacy.
A traditionally built Craftsman is modest, and takes advantage of the site it is located on. Usually, the home is positioned to greet the sun and is surrounded by a large garden. In addition, the home uses local materials where possible, and sometimes even materials from the site of the home, such as timber or rock. Natural materials play a big role in the style, with local stone lining fireplaces or local woods being used for decorative accents.
Patterns for Craftsman homes are readily available, with many publishers reprinting original designs from the turn of the 20th century. The style is designed to be a home for life — a solid, beautiful, and simple dwelling that will serve homeowners well.