7 Key Elements of a Craftsman Home

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The words “Craftsman Style,” “Craftsman Inspired” or even “Arts and Crafts Style” get thrown around a lot in home building and décor magazines. But what elements make a home a true Craftsman? Let’s look at seven key elements of Craftsman and the overarching Arts and Crafts Style homes.

Natural Materials
Craftsman homes are typically built of real wood, stone and brick. Composite board and decking are great eco-friendly products, but they would only be utilized on homes that are new builds or hybrid restoration projects.

Built-In Furniture and Light Fixtures
Built-ins were the hallmark feature of the Arts and Crafts era. Built-in cabinets allowed the furnishings to be part of the architecture, ensuring design unity and economic use of space. Even the light fixtures are often part of the design. The fixtures often were made of natural materials too: gold, bronze, or copper metals incorporated into wall sconces, chandeliers, latches for built-ins, and window closures.

A fireplace was the symbol of family in the Arts and Crafts movement, so most homes feature a dominant fireplace in the living room and a large exterior chimney. The surrounds were often made from porcelain tiles, handmade and hand dyed in colors reminiscent of nature and botanicals.

Most homes in the Craftsman style have porches with thick square or round columns and stone porch supports. These porches are wide and meant as an additional outdoor living space. Some porches on the back were enclosed with screens to make an evening sleeping porch for when it was too hot to sleep indoors in the summer.

Low-Pitched Roofs
The homes typically have a low roof with wide eaves and triangular brackets. The rooflines are harmonious and reminiscent of nature, evoking hills and mountain summits.

Exposed Beams
The beams on the porch and inside the house are often exposed. It is not true to the period if they have carving and heavy ornamentation. Craftsman style emphasises clean lines and rich stains to highlight the natural character of the wood.

Open Floor Plan
The Arts and Crafts Movement rejected the small, boxy rooms like those in Victorian houses. An expansive mindset with a nod to the movement of life is evident, echoing the environment around us that naturally flows from season to season and climate to climate. Room divisions are achieved only by built-ins and beam placement, but sightlines from one room to another remain clear.

There are some amazing examples of true Craftsman style. The Gamble House is one of the preeminent expressions of craftsmanship and attention to the detail demanded by the period. This 8,200-square-foot Arts and Crafts icon is in Pasadena, California and was built in 1908 by Charles and Henry Greene. Every aspect, from the house itself to the interior furnishings, was crafted with obsessive attention to detail. Take a look for yourself, it’s a beautiful home to fuel dreams of Arts and Crafts style!