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A Look at Craftsman Style Architecture and Why It's So Popular

There are few architectural styles that are more distinctly American than that of Craftsman style homes and bungalows. Since the beginning of the 20th century when Craftsman style homes were introduced, they have been the most popular style of home for working-class homeowners. Let's take a brief look at the history of this unique form of architecture, what makes a Craftsman home a Craftsman home, and why they became so popular.

The History, Arts and Crafts -

Craftsman style homes were a result of the Arts and Crafts movement. In late 19th Century England, the economy was changing because of the industrial revolution. In direct opposition to this, English reformer William Morris created the Arts and Crafts counter movement. William Morris wanted homes to be designed with handcrafted artisanship rather than mass-produced construction. This approach to architecture was one of the largest influences that inspired Gustav Stickley. After his travels in Bangala, India, where he discovered the beautiful simplicity of bungalows, Gustav Stickley began writing about them in his magazine, the Craftsman Magazine. Inside this magazine were blueprints for these small and unique homes. Homeowners would use the blueprints to build and design their own homes, so originally, no two were alike. Originally, Craftsman homes were the homes based off of the blueprints inside Stickley's magazine but over time, the characteristics evolved to form the unique and popular architectural style we know and love today.     

What Features Define Craftsman Style Homes-

When we think of Craftsman style homes, we immediately think of their prominent front porches and low-gabled roof lines. The homes tend to be relatively modest, with triangular pitches and wide, overhanging eaves with exposed rafters. The front porch will often have stout, yet tapered columns and double hanging windows. Traditionally, craftsman homes would have single, protruding dormers and their front door would have three windows. Interior and exterior beams were often left exposed. Because the homes often had fireplaces, Craftsman homes would have large and noticeable chimneys.

A hallmark of Craftsman designs is their approach to functionality while also embracing unique and practical features. The interior of these homes would often boast useful focal points like large fireplaces for family gatherings, nooks, built-in furniture and shelves for storage, built-in lighting, and window seats within the rooms. A well thought out and the open floor plan makes the most use of limited space. Craftsman style homes embrace natural materials such as wood, stained glass and the use of earthy colors. In essence, Craftsman style homes are well-designed with an emphasis on function, charm, and quality.   

Why They Became and Still Are So Popular-

What is not to like about a Craftsman style home or bungalow? They were designed to be full of character, easy to upkeep and to make full use of limited space. In contrast to the elaborate and busy designs of Victorian architecture which was popular around the same time, Craftsman homes were built for "hard-working Americans." Their large front porches and their prominent fireplaces created focal points for family gatherings. There is also something distinctly pleasant about their asymmetrical features and triangular adornments. The architectural style also embraced the power of windows. Craftsman homes tend to use specific window placements to allow maximum natural light into the home while also making noticeable use of stained glass. Because they boast a high-quality craftsmanship and design while being characteristically easy to maintain, they tend to be simple yet elegant. Craftsman homes are the perfect blend of functionality and originality to create the charming style that is still massively popular throughout America over one hundred years after it was introduced.

Craftsman Homes of Today-

Craftsman style homes never went out of style but once again, homeowners are gravitating towards their charm, open floorplans, and large front porches. Interestingly enough, the main features of Craftsman homes, their built-ins, their prominent porches, and unique features are all obtained through millwork. Because of this, quality millwork and materials are also in high-demand. When building or designing a Craftsman home, the emphasis was always on quality materials as well as craftsmanship. For the best quality American-made architectural materials and products, visit us at Worthington Millwork, experts in quality and character.