Craftsman style developed in the late 1800s. In 1901 Gustav Stickley, a popular furniture maker, began publishing "The Craftsman." The magazine contained easy-to-build, affordable home plans. Around the same time, two architects in California began designing homes in a similar style. The Craftsman design is considered a response to the more stuffy and manufactured designs of the Victorian style that was common at the time.
The style continued to evolve and spread. Now, you can find four main styles of Craftsman homes, as well as many that blend aspects of these styles. Bungalow homes are the most traditional, while Four Square homes are two stories with four rooms on each floor and a central staircase. Prairie Style was made famous by Frank Lloyd Wright and features low slung homes with coordinated and repeating design elements. You can find Mission Revival homes in the west. They are similar in design to Prairie Style homes, but with stucco exteriors.
The tapered Craftsman columns are very different from the tall, straight columns of colonial and other traditional styles. The columns on a Craftsman-style home are short and squared, resting on a brick or stone support. From the base, they taper to where they meet the porch roof.
The front porch is a hallmark of a Craftsman-style home. Deep and wide, the front porch was used as an extra room during many months of the year. It remained cooler than the rest of the house during the heat of the summer and served as a protected overflow area for family gatherings.
Crafstman design usually requires that the roof of the porch be an extension of the roofline of the home.
The deep overhangs and low slope of the roof make the addition of dormers a popular option in Craftsman-style homes. Roof dormers, whether gabled or shed, allow for extra room on the second floor of the home, which often houses the bedrooms. Craftsman dormers are designed with the same care as the roofline, with matching detail and trim.
Craftsman homes are designed to take advantage of natural light. This means the use of windows is prolific and strategic. Double-hung windows are most common, although fixed and casement windows have their place as well. The home is often designed with window banks or multiple windows alongside each other.
The design of the roofline is one of the easiest ways to recognize a Craftsman-style home. The deep overhang provides a place to showcase the detail and craftsmanship. Knee braces, rafter tails, braces, and beams support the overhang and no effort is made to hide them. Instead, they are often painted in a contrasting color to draw attention to the workmanship. The exposed ends of the rafter tails are often sculpted to further customize the look.
Once you head inside, you will see the generous use of wood throughout a Craftsman-style home. Most rooms feature built-ins or There are frequently built-ins in nearly every room: Bookcases, window seats, and cabinets are built along walls and between rooms.
This identifying feature further highlights the attention to detail in crafting these homes. The work is custom designed for the space, and clearly finished onsite for a flawless fit.
Wood isn't the only material widely used in Craftsman designs. Other elements like stone and brick are popular both inside and outside the homes. The philosophy of Craftsman design indicates that the homes be built with materials native to the area. While most Craftsman homes rely on stone and wood, southwest builds often include adobe, following this original intent.
The fireplace is probably second only to the front porch in features that make a Craftsman home easy to recognize. The living area is typically centered around the stone or brick fireplace. Craftsman homes didn't depend on this stylish feature as a sole source of warmth, so rather than including multiple small fireplaces throughout the home, the care and building attention could be focused on this centerpiece.
Craftsman homes were some of the earliest to utilize an open floor plan. The reason for this is simple: prior to the Craftsman conception, the need to keep the home warm was a major concern. Rooms were small, and each had a fireplace. Craftsman style developed alongside the development of central heat. With this, the need for multiple fireplaces went away. Creating larger, shared areas made the home more usable and wasted less space.
Craftsman-style homes typically have low ceilings, originally to allow for living space on the second floor. Rather than try to hide this, it is often accented with exposed beams. This helps create a cozy environment, much different than the starker airy-ness of the previous era. The exposed beams, left unpainted, contrast nicely with the ceiling while tying together the cabinetry and handcrafted woodwork throughout the home.