A Craftsman Home Has Character, Style and Lots of History

A craftsman home is a highly sought type of house these days. Lots of people who go house shopping look for a place with character.

Craftsman Homes

Usually, that means something old and a little bit worn around the edges. The kind of place that feels like home before you even move your boxes in. A true and honest craftsman-style home has that exact draw among all the old houses on the street.

It just exudes personality from every nook and cranny, beckoning you to sit awhile on its strong stone steps. So while you’re on the market for a new home, keep your eyes open for those beautiful old homes. Here’s everything you need to know about craftsman-style architecture. Also, you can check other house-style ideas.

What Makes a House a Craftsman House?

What Makes a House a Craftsman House

Most people, when they think of a Craftsman style house, imagine a quaint log cabin. But that’s not exactly the case. The term Craftsman actually refers to a home, regardless of materials, with some key design aspects. These include:

  • A front porch that’s totally covered
  • Tapered columns for supporting the roof
  • Roof eaves that overhang more than standard eaves
  • Large, peaked triangle-shaped roofs (low pitch gable)

What’s the Difference Between Bungalow and Craftsman?

The craftsman-style architecture features all of the elements we’ve already mentioned above. Whereas, a Bungalow style home can definitely include these aspects. However, they are usually are plain in design and always a single-level home. Bungalows sometimes have a basement, but never two stories. 

A Craftsman is often a two-story home but can be a bungalow. So, to sum it up, you can have three types: a bungalow, a Craftsman, and a Craftsman bungalow.

Craftsman History

Craftsman-style homes first began appearing in the late 1800s to early 1900s in several styles with the advent of the Arts and Crafts Movement. They gained popularity like wildfire because people were ready to put mass production behind them in favor of homes with character and durability. Moreover, the arts and crafts style fits the bill perfectly.

At the same time, many wanted to move away from the cluttered look of Victorian architecture. The craftsman movement was fresh and new, and so people took to the craftsman style to fill the void. The simple, clear-cut lines of the home’s exterior walls were a refreshing change from all the Victorian frills.

Unique Craftsman Home

 

These homes earned their name from a craftsman magazine published in 1901 called The Craftsman that featured homes and furniture styles of the day.

The arts and crafts style continued in popularity until the World Wars when modernists took over the trends but even then the craftsman wouldn’t be forgotten, making a comeback in the 1990s.  You probably recognize it more recently from many classic 90’s movies. Creating a home that feels warm and cozy is a goal for all of us, but craftsman-style architecture makes this extra easy.

How to Identify Craftsman Homes

There are four different kinds of craftsman-style homes: Prairie, Mission, Four-Square and Bungalow. The bungalow style is the classic arts and crafts style we all know and love. Usually, they are wood or stone and have broad roofs.

 

Craftsman-style architecture has wide porches, supported by masonry or wood pillars. Indoors, it features many wood elements like built-in cabinets, wood floors and open beams.

Craftsman-style homes also usually boast a grand fireplace which is a major selling point for those who live in areas with harsh winters. Whether the bungalow is big or small, its history and individuality will make it the perfect family home.

How a Craftsman Living Room Looks

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When we said “grand fireplace,” we really meant grand. This stone arts and crafts beauty stretches two stories high, making you look up and really notice all exposed beams and the natural materials that this craftsman-style room embraces.

Making it a Focal Piece

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Many craftsman-style fireplaces are flanked by some kind of built-ins. Bookshelves, cabinets, whatever the case, you can really play up the whole wall and help make your fireplace the center of attention. In craftsman house plans, the fireplace layout is fairly standard for arts and crafts style. Moreover, one of the main stone accents in the house is usually the fireplace. 

Wood Trim and Beams

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Wood trim is a major highlight in a craftsman-style home or craftsman bungalow. So it makes sense that you would take that beautiful arts and crafts woodwork all the way up and cover the ceiling with it. If it’s not already a feature in your home, it should be. Wood is the main natural material that dominates craftsman-style houses.

Painted Trim

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Today’s furniture takes up much more living space than the furniture of yesteryear. If you’re finding your craftsman-style spaces looking too dark and heavy, consider painting your trim white. It will give you that sweet farmhouse look that many are so eager to adopt.

Fireplace Mantle

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While you’re painting, you might as well keep on with that paintbrush. Once you’ve finished the arts and crafts trim, you have our permission to paint the fireplace mantle and the built-in bookshelves as well. Any built-ins will automatically look fresher and brighter with a new coat of paint.

Built-Ins

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Sometimes, when built-ins are mismatched, it can be tempting to tear them out altogether. Resist the urge. Many craftsman house plans have very little storage space. So you’ll want all the built-in bookshelves you can get.

Windows

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Windows can be a sore spot for old homeowners. On the one hand, the proper arts and crafts style is expensive and likely to be frugally chosen. On the other, a craftsman-style home isn’t the same without its unique windows. If you’re replacing yours, consider the house plans carefully and assess how your home will look without the extra panes.

Repurpose Decor for a Craftsman House

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One great way to save on window replacements is to thrift your actual windowpanes and have them installed by professionals. Look for those stained glass arts and crafts beauties from other buildings to add a bit of flair to your craftsman-style space.

Craftsman House with Built-in Benches

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Built-in benches were another element of the craftsman movement. Some might see them as inconvenient but when used correctly, they can add depth to a room, not to mention extra seating. If your craftsman-style house doesn’t have them already, consider adding them to your fireplace.

Craftsman Style Living Room

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Is your living room the gathering place for your family? Consider hanging your TV above the fireplace. When framed in all that thick beautiful craftsman-style wood, it will almost look like art instead of entertainment. Also, this fireplace mimics the tapered columns you find on the exterior of craftsman-style homes.

Ceilings

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Let’s not forget about the ceiling. Coffered ceilings and exposed beams became popular during the craftsman movement. If you have a coffered ceiling in your craftsman-style home, consider yourself lucky. You don’t have to do anything else because those lovely arts and crafts style beams will make your space feel so cozy and welcoming whether you have a fireplace or not.

High Ceilings

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Of course, some might want the height in the room rather than low beams. Instead of taking them out completely, paint them white so they’ll blend in against your ceiling. This saves you money and your craftsman-style home’s character. Also, this craftsman architectural style often includes window seats.

Craftsman House with Character

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Speaking of character, many craftsman-style homes have so much that you want to preserve as much of it as possible. This means finding interesting ways to use those nooks and crannies that won’t fit a regular couch. A music corner or a reading nook are just two ways to make that happen.

Add Built-Ins to a Craftsman-Style Home

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One drawback of the houses in the craftsman movement is that the do not give much space to storage. Maybe you’re reading and lamenting the fact that you don’t have any built-ins in your craftsman-style home. There’s nothing that says you can’t add some! A set of arts and crafts style bookshelves or a cabinet inset by the fireplace will do wonders for your living room and not seem out of place.

Shiplap in a Craftsman

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Want to combine your craftsman-style home with farmhouse style? Go ahead and add some shiplap. When you let the grain show through, it will help to blend with the rest of the wood around your home.

Craftsman Kitchen Decor

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A classic craftsman-style kitchen is bound to hold two things: wood flooring and wood cabinetry. Along with all the arts and crafts wood trim, it’s a lot of brown so making contrasting color choices is important to make certain elements, like your countertop and your backsplash, stand out.

Craftsman Home Lighting

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Pay close attention to your lighting in such a warm woody space. Hanging sconces help you get the light where you want it instead of trying to light up the entire room at the same time.

Rustic Beams

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While we’re talking about the ceiling, let’s focus on those gorgeous beams for a minute. When you already have them in your craftsman-style living space, it makes sense to continue them into the kitchen for that rustic arts and crafts look.

Wall Color

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Pining for some color in your traditional craftsman-style kitchen? Take a leap and paint your kitchen walls a contrasting shade. It will definitely bring personality to your space and draw your attention to the craftsman details of the room.

Two-Tone Cabinets

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If one plain wood shade is getting a bit monotonous for you, feel free to opt for two. Two-toned cabinets have such a nostalgic arts and crafts appeal, you’ll never want to leave your kitchen again. That’s especially true when it’s an open concept space like this.

Patterned Floor

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Sometimes all we need is a subtle flair of personality to bring a space to life. Look to the floor and paint a fun pattern around the perimeter, just because. Bonus points if you stain it into the wood instead.

Adding a Modern Touch

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It’s pretty amazing what a good set of cabinetry hardware can do when you want to blend two styles together. Sleek modern pulls on wood cabinet doors can be just the touch of modern that your craftsman-style kitchen needed to bring it up to date.

White Kitchen

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Is all that wood a little too much for you? That’s okay. It’s your house so paint those cabinets a creamy white that makes you happy. You’ll still keep all the craftsman architectural style, just in a lighter color.

Open Shelving

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While many craftsman-style kitchens are well equipped with cabinet storage, it’s not a crime to add some more open shelving. Since open shelving usually has the purpose of decorating rather than storage, it would be easy to include across a window or in an empty corner.

More Open Shelving

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The option for open shelving is especially helpful in small craftsman-style kitchens. Replacing cabinets with shelves makes the space feel larger and usually doesn’t detract from the general craftsman feel.

Large Craftsman Kitchen

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Big families all require more space. If your family is finding it hard to fit into your kitchen, consider opening it up to your other living areas and adding a large island. Suddenly your craftsman kitchen will be a space where the whole family can enjoy being together.

Craftsman Breakfast Nook

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Another great option for extra seating space is to replace cabinets with a breakfast nook area. You’ll find that it will blend into your craftsman-style kitchen perfectly and provide that necessary coloring and homework zone for dinner prep time.

Vertical Storage

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When you’re wanting more space on a budget, it requires some creative thinking. Like moving your vertical storage space to a wall of cabinets rather than keeping the cabinets above your countertop. You’d be surprised how much lighter it makes your workspace.

Rustic Country Craftsman Kitchen

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Along the same lines, you’re welcome to forego any and all cabinets above the countertop if you wish. It will help you keep your kitchen tools to a minimum while drawing attention to the other features in your craftsman-style kitchen like the arts and crafts windows or the floors.

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Don’t think that just because you live in a craftsman-style house you have to continue with the craftsman style completely. Paint your cabinets, replace doors and lighting, do whatever you need to do to make your craftsman kitchen a space you will truly enjoy.

Bedroom Inspiration Design Ideas

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Consistent with the rest of craftsman homes, even a craftsman-style bedroom is decked in wood trim. You can’t get away from gorgeous woody windows and if you’re lucky, you’ll have some built-ins too. It certainly makes styling more fun.

Space Under the Eaves

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Many times, a craftsman bedroom will be tucked away beneath the eaves of the house. this was very typical of the arts and crafts movement and created pitched ceilings and odd little corners. The only thing to do is embrace the unique space and find a way to use the area you have as best you can.

Opening Up the Ceiling

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If you’re really squished into your little craftsman bedroom, consider opening the ceiling to the roofing beams above. As long as your home’s climate doesn’t get too hot in the summer months, your space should stay comfortable even without the extra padding.

Adding Beams

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If you like the exposed beams look but can’t manage to tear out your insulation altogether, put up some beams of your own. Make sure you match the rest of your craftsman’s wood and no one will ever know they were added later.

Craftsman Home Closets

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Let’s not forget about storage. When you live in an old craftsman, you might need to add a closet to your bedroom and this is where those strange sloped nooks come in handy. Just build your closet into it and you can applaud yourself for using all your bedroom’s square footage. Often in this architectural style, the space by the window can become a window seat, which was often found in houses of the arts and crafts movement.

Fireplace in a Bedroom

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Every so often, a craftsman bedroom comes with a fireplace. If you’re lucky enough to own a craftsman with a bedroom like that, take full advantage and make it the arts and crafts focal point of your space.

Opening Up the Bedrooms

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Like the downstairs rooms sometimes, an authentic craftsman can have small bedrooms that don’t quite fit all our modern-day furniture. Don’t be hesitant to tear into the next-door bedroom for that extra space if need be.

Paint and Trims

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It’s a general rule in an old house that as long as you’re keeping the unique aspects like old arts and crafts movement window frames, wide trim and squeaky doors, you can do just about whatever you want. So when you want to paint your bedroom a more modern color, you don’t have to worry about it as long as you’re showing off that trim.

Office Bedroom

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Be ready to have a multipurpose craftsman bedroom. If you have a great view from a wall of windows, you won’t find a better place to put your desk or craft table. Don’t be afraid to mix the room’s purposes when you get to overlook a valley or lake.

Craftsman House with Shiplap Bedroom

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Shiplap in the bedroom? You’ve got it. It’s a great way to hide the past mistakes that you’re prone to find in the bedrooms of old homes. Meanwhile, it blends in with the heavy trim like it was meant to be there all along.

Exterior

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One major advantage to older craftsman homes is the landscaping. When the home comes with age, you get the mature trees and large landscaping to go with it. It means an instantly gorgeous house without breaking your back to get there. In many ways, landscaping completes what the arts and crafts movement is all about.

Craftsman House with Large Shrubs

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Bushes are fun landscaping options mainly because certain kinds are so versatile. This is especially true for the ones that you can shape yourself. Let yours grow a little bigger than average to create some privacy on your big craftsman front porch. With the right kinds of bushes, you can enhance the look of the home’s exterior walls.

Keeping Landscaping Simple

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Feel free to keep things simple if you prefer. With one sprawling bush on each side of the porch, you have instant beautiful landscaping and all you have to do is add more mulch in the spring.

Plant a Tree

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Want your beds to make a real statement on the block? Plant a tree by the porch. Not a very large one but something that will help give your view more height and interest.

Ivy on a Craftsman House

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When you have large landscaping beds and not a lot of time to care for them, it’s time to think of a different way to fill them. Ivy will do just that. Such a low ground cover allows for other bushes and trees to stand tall and create effortless beauty. This type of landscaping also highlights the tapered columns on the porch.

Big Beautiful Garden Beds

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Of course when you have the green thumb and love to be out in your garden, by all means, make your beds even bigger! Bright floral beds will give your craftsman a cottage-y feel, not to mention nurture your gardening hobby. It will go right along with the heritage of the arts and crafts movement and help highlight the wood siding.

Natural Landscaping Border

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You might think that little bushes have no place in the yard of your stately craftsman. You can however use them as a neat and tidy border rather than putting up a fence. All the green makes the white tapered columns stand out prominently.

Rose Bushes

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Who doesn’t love a large flourishing rosebush? By filling your flower beds with them, you can get away with tending only roses instead of needing three or four kinds of plants to round it out.

Mixing Up the Plants

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Looking for a contrasting yet complementary kind of landscaping? Try something that’s wavy and feathery. Ornamental grasses, ferns or palms will all add a touch of gracefulness to your broad craftsman porch and thick craftsman beams.

Related: 50 House Colors To Convince You To Paint Yours

Adding Layers to the Landscape

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Don’t forget to add layers for dimension. Even if all your plants are green, choosing them in different heights will give your beds a professional look, even if you have no idea what you’re doing.

Elevated Craftsman Home

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If your house is set high up with a sloping front yard, you will need to think of layers in a literal sense. Creating stair step beds lets you make the most of your square footage plus you won’t have to mow the hill.

Raised Lawn

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However, if you’re not into the stair step idea and would rather have a lawn, consider raising the entire lawn to match the front of your house. It might be a little pricey, but you give yourself a little more privacy in the process.

Maintenance Free Landscaping

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Would you rather forgo your lawn completely? Pave over it all. Leave your landscaping to a few well-placed small flowerbeds and pots and then your kids will have plenty of space to ride their bikes all summer.

Grow Veggies in Your Garden

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Some people prefer to use their yard space more productively. If that’s you, instead of filling your space with frivolous flowers and bushes, build some raised beds for a vegetable garden and use the mulched areas for herbs. You’re neighbors will love you even more if you share.

Wrap Around Landscaping

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What good is landscaping if it only makes one side of your house look nice? If your craftsman offers all the opportunities for wrap-around landscaping, take it! Your house will only look better from all angles which is never a bad thing. The added plantings will help highlight the wood siding as well.

Simple and Spacious Landscaping for Craftsman Home

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Newer craftsman homes need to be careful with landscaping. It’s tempting to make your beds according to the size of your bushes now. However, when they grow they will be completely crammed together. Give your plants room to breathe!

Craftsman House Front Door Idea

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Last but certainly not least, think long and hard about your front door. When the rest of your home is old and wizened, it can help freshen the place up to paint your front door a bright fresh color. Something that whispers of your own personality and your family. It’s the perfect welcome on any craftsman front porch.

Craftsman-Style Home Decor Ideas

Now that you know all there is to know about craftsman homes, their history and what makes them special, it might be worth checking out a few examples of actual homes designed to follow the arts and crafts movement.

Charming Minnesota craftsman on a private nature preserve

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This beautiful home was a project by studios Aspect Design Build and Vintage Elements who worked together to create a place that has lots of character and that fits well into its wonderful surroundings. The site is part of a private nature preserve in the Deephaven region of Minnesota and has lots of greenery, big trees and even a beautiful pond stretching around it.

The house has five bedrooms in total and features a dark color palette on the outside which helps in better blend into the landscape. Inside it’s bright and beautiful, featuring a big living area filled with natural light, a large kitchen with access to a screened porch and big windows that invite the beautiful views to become a part of the interior décor.

A Craftsman-Style Mountain Home in North Carolina

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This is a pretty big craftsman-style home that offers a total of 5,130 square feet of living space. What helps it stand out the most however is not its size but the beautiful diversity in its design and the way in which different natural materials and finishes were used together to create an ensemble of volumes and features that work really well together.

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This was a project created by studio Living Stone Design + Build in collaboration with ID.ology Interiors & Design.

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Layered craftsman wood garage stone stepsView in gallery

This is in fact a mountain home. It’s situated in the Pinchot Forest in Asheville, North Carolina and is surrounded by lots of beautiful trees and vegetation which rise tall and create a beautiful backdrop for this already wonderful dream home.

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There’s a lot to love about this place, like the double-height living space with its comfortable lounger and sofa facing a stone fireplace or the amazing chef’s kitchen which is a pleasure to use.

An Updated Craftsman Cottage in Portland

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The renovation of a craftsman-style home can be quite tricky and usually involves preserving some of the original elements and the overall charm of the place while also adding in a few new and more modern elements.

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This craftsman cottage from West Hills, Portland was remodeled by studio Garrison Hulliger Interior Design and can now be characterized as a wonderful and organic blend of contemporary and traditional design elements, as well as natural materials.

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The idea was to try to maintain the character and charm of this place but also to make it look a bit more interesting and to surround it with bold and unique colors. The new bright yellow front door is a perfect reflection of how the old and the new have been combined in an updated arts and crafts movement.

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Layered craftsman wood garage stone stepsView in gallery

Inside the house is still very welcoming but also looks reinvigorated. It’s filled with lots of natural light and has quirky and eye-catching furnishings and decorations sprinkled throughout the entire place.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)FAQ

Do craftsman-style homes have basements?

Not always, but they can. It’s not a determining factor of the style. 

Are craftsman homes good quality?

Absolutely. They’re built to be strong and sturdy with large beams and tapered support posts. 

Why are they called craftsman houses?

There was a craftsman magazine created and published back in the early 1900s by designer Gustav Stickle. It was called “Craftsman” and featured custom-built homes with an artsy, unique vibe that fell in with the arts and crafts movement.

Conclusions

Original craftsman homes can be small but they pack a lot of character and style into their modest size. This is part of the reason they are so popular. Many of the characteristics of the arts and crafts movement are very desirable in today’s housing market. With the renewed focus on quality and artisan-made furniture and woodwork, this architectural style will only become more popular.

US residential home styles vary across the country’s landscape. Here are other types of exterior house styles.