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Craftsman Style


Over the past few weeks we have been posting about the various house styles we’re designing today, in an effort to share a bit about the specific details. Information that we hope will provide a better understanding of what we are looking at when we view your concept photos and digital idea books. With this article we are going to tackle the Craftsman style.

Craftsman Style:

Proud of its handiwork details and with nature as inspiration, Craftsman architecture stands out for its purity of style. Craftsman homes were primarily inspired by the work of two architect brothers, Charles Sumner Greene and Henry Mather Greene — who worked together in Pasadena, California, at the turn of the 20th century. The Greene brothers were influenced by the English Arts and Crafts movement (a reaction against the Industrial Revolution in an effort to promote the work of craftsmen and handmade over machine made products), as well as by Oriental wooden architecture.

There is something distinctively American about this style. Outside there are details galore but inside, there's a simple, wide-open layout that makes the most of typically limited square footage.

Key Features to a Craftsman Home:

A low-pitched, gabled roof: The low-slung rooflines reflect the influence of Oriental architecture on the style. These roofs typically have a wide, unenclosed eave overhangs with decorative supports.

A front porch: It's rare to find a Craftsman bungalow that doesn't have a porch, even if the porch simply covers the entryway.

Tapered columns: This is one of the most distinctive characteristics of Craftsman homes, despite the variation in detailing. Tapered columns, which support the porch roof, are typically short and rest upon massive stone or brick piers that extend to ground level. Not all columns are tapered; another popular variation is the double column usually together on the same stone pier.

A partially paned door: One great authenticity test of Craftsman bungalows is how their doors are styled. Almost all original versions have glass panes in the upper third of the door, separated from the bottom paneled portion by a thick piece of trim.

Multi-pane instead of single-pane windows: The most common configurations are either four-over-one or six-over-one double-hung windows. The windows are often grouped together and cased in wide trim.

Earthy colors: Craftsman homes are often painted in a nature-inspired palette of browns and greens to help the low-profile bungalows blend seamlessly with their surroundings. Despite the mostly muted palettes, one or two contrasting colors are typically used to highlight architectural features like trim or decorative supports.

Single dormers: When Craftsman homes have dormers, they tend to be wider and stand out on their own, unlike the pairs of dormers that typically appear in Cape Cod–style cottages. Single dormers are often wide enough for two to three windows.

Stone details: Craftsman bungalows almost always feature a mix of materials. The siding is typically wooden clapboard and/or shingled siding and board and batten is also common, but porch piers and foundations are often made of stone. Brick, decorative concrete block and stucco are also sometimes used.

Exposed rafter tails and beams under deep roof eaves: This is another one of the more distinctive characteristics of the style; it reflects the influence of the Arts and Crafts movement, which sought to make visible the handiwork and craftsmanship that went into the design.

Knee braces: These triangular supports are a structural alternative to exposed rafter tails and roof beams. Like beams and rafter tails, they are often decorative and can be added underneath any deep roof eave.

Maybe this is an architecture style you want to mimic, or incorporate into your home’s new design. There are ways to incorporate a little of this style into your home without rebuilding your home from scratch, if you want to learn more give us a call!

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