Craftsman homes remain one of the most popular styles of architecture in the 21st century as many real estate agents can tell you. For a large number of home buyers today, this style evokes a feeling of nostalgia, simplicity, and practicality. You can have all the beauty and charm of the old style coupled with all the functionality and modern conveniences of a brand new home.
History of the Craftsman home
The British Arts and Crafts movement (in the mid 19th century) was a direct reaction of artisans and craftsmen against the Industrial Revolution. These craftsmen opposed the popular 19th century Victorian style homes and furniture that had in-expensive, but mass-produced, details. This new movement began with a new furniture style and spread to the United States.
This new Craftsman style of modern architecture emphasized hand craftsmanship, high quality, and the unique. They stood against the cheap, factory-made architectural styles that had been popular. Each home builder added his own custom details in those early days to a Craftsman home.
Originally inspired by bungalows in Bengal, India, in the 1800s, Gustav Stickley, started the Craftsman movement. He was a furniture maker who began designing simple, high-quality chairs in a Craftsman style. By the turn of the 20th century, his ideas included architecture and custom home building, as well.
In time, he brought Craftsman architecture to the masses during the early 20th century in America through his magazine,The Craftsman. His magazine popularized his house plan designs across the country. He promoted this style of architecture as an affordable way to have a beautiful, modest, simple, low-cost home for the working class. Stickley emphasized function and usefulness over aesthetics.
“It is my own wish, my own final ideal, that the Craftsman house may… be instrumental in helping to establish in America a higher ideal, not only of beautiful architecture, but of home life.”
-From Stickley (quoted by The Stickley Museum):
What is a Craftsman style home?
There are many definitions and varieties today of Craftsman architecture. But there are some common threads that tend to unite this style and create its distinctive charm.
Unique features of a Craftsman home
The outside of a Craftsman style home is often very welcoming with wide porches, angled porch columns, and lots of gables on the roof. This style is known for clean, simple lines. The original homes were made by custom craftsmen who made sure each home had a unique style.
- Often a one and a half story house
- Wide, covered front porch
- Wide overhangs
- Exposed rafter tails
- Visible knee braces
- Handcrafted wood trim details
- Gabled roofs
- Hipped roofs
- A single wide dormer with multiple windows
- Angled or double porch columns
- Double hung windows
- Lots of windows and window groupings to let in natural light
- Wide lintels and decorative brackets
The inside of a Craftsman style home tends to have plenty of custom woodwork, custom molding, and a simple, open design. The designers showcase natural building materials and high-quality wood and construction. They are functional and very livable.
- A large fireplace in the family living area
- Exposed beams or rafters
- Custom built breakfast nooks and window seats
- Small or no hallways
- Handcrafted stone work
- Unique, artistic details
- A small foyer or no foyer
- Wide window sills and trim
- Functional, sturdy, simple hand-built shelves and cabinets
- No wasted space
A Craftsman home is not only Craftsman on the outside, it is just as much Craftsman on the inside, as well.
The 4 main styles of Craftsman Homes
This was the original Craftsman home inspired by houses in India. They have triangular-shaped roof-lines, are relatively small square footage-wise, and have tapering columns on the front porch. They often have decorative glass windows and steeply angled roofs.
Frank Lloyd Wright designed the Prairie style with horizontal lines and flat roofs designed to look like the plains in the midwest, prairies. This style features wood and stone and has walls of large windows to blur the lines between nature and the indoors. It's meant to look like part of the landscape.
These homes have a Southwestern/Mexican influence and often feature stucco exteriors and terra cotta tiled roofs. Some realtors call this type of home "Spanish Revival" or a "Spanish bungalow." Mission Revival homes tend to have many arches and curves with warm, desert colors. Interior courtyards are also very popular.
Larger families needed bigger houses than a bungalow could offer. So builders began adding a second story on the bungalow homes with four rooms on the bottom floor and four on the second story. Hence the name, "Four Square." These homes are simple and functional. Often, they were built quickly to accommodate the Baby Boom generation and didn't have as much detail as the original bungalows did.
There are countless architectural styles to choose from if you want to build a custom home. But even with all these options, many people choose to build a Craftsman style home because of the timeless appeal. The beauty, versatility, practicality, and the simplicity of this incredible style of architecture continue to win hearts in America.
Do you want to build a Craftsman style home in Lexington, SC?
We’d love to talk with you about how we could be part of your design team to build your dream Craftsman custom home and walk through the building process with you from start to finish.
Contact us today and let’s get started!
Our building areas include:
Lexington, Irmo, Ballentine, Chapin, Columbia, Blythewood, Lake Murray, West Columbia, Forest Acres, Pinewood, and more.
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