The Craftsman Tradition: Houses that Feel Like Home
In a world full of fast food and cookie cutter prefab construction, it’s easy to think that the only way to have something special is to pour your life’s savings into cathedral-ceilinged great rooms and a lot of expensive flourishes. While those things can work for some, they’re not for everyone. If those grandiose spaces leave you cold and you’re looking for something a little cozier, the warmth of a Craftsman style home might be just what you crave.
What Makes It Craftsman?
Craftsman homes are the product of a movement that began in Great Britain around 1880. The Arts and Crafts movement rejected the ornate embellishments of the Victorian Era as well as the mass-produced trappings of the industrial revolution. The Arts and Crafts Movement created an atmosphere that promoted usefulness in design without sacrificing character. The use of natural materials and an emphasis on handcrafted details brought an intimacy that was lacking in both the Victorian and Industrial movements and brought the influence of creative individuals forward.
In American architecture, we see that instead of highly embellished super-sized homes, the Craftsman movement produced a generation of low roofed bungalows, sized for easy maintenance and affordability. These homes were often built by their owners and pride in the craftsmanship of such homes has heralded the movement.
The Craftsman Exterior
The curb appeal of a craftsman style home is one of sincere welcome. Covered porches and tapered square wooden columns are hallmarks of the craftsman exterior. Natural stone or brick underpinnings connect the craftsman home to the earth while cottage garden type landscaping and additional potted plantings may complete its attachment to its surroundings.
Details like board and batten shutters, gable brackets and corbels, take the craftsman influence skyward. Cedar shakes may be prominent on the exterior of a craftsman home. They create texture and interest and continue the use of warm, natural materials that make even larger homes inviting.
Inside Form Follows Function
Craftsman design continues the use of board and batten detail inside. Many homes feature panel doors and wainscoting throughout. Rather than covering ceilings with plaster a craftsman home may feature ceilings paneled in wood or with prominent exposed wooden beams. The paint scheme of a craftsman home is fairly neutral while wood trims and furnishings features warm, rich finishes. Ample windows allow light to play throughout a craftsman home and add a sense of space even in rooms that may be a bit on the smaller side. Deeply trimmed windows and built in features like window seats and bookcases create places for the necessary items of life and personal treasures alike.
The atmosphere of a craftsman home is warm, and inviting yet not too soft. The simple lines of mission style furniture claim a solid place in the craftsman style home. These pieces offer simple forms with strong vertical and horizontal lines, as well as a simple sturdiness that whispers of easy grace and integrity. Many Craftsman style homes include a fireplace, the hearth representing the heart of the home, framed by a stolid mantel where family photos and seasonal decor are sure to find a perfect home.
Loving Craftsman Without Leaving Home
So maybe you’ve fallen in love with the craftsman esthetic, but your current home is done in a different style and you’re not interested in moving any time soon. Don’t let that stop you from enjoying the warmth and solid tradition you want. You don’t need a huge budget to bring that special craftsman feel to your own home.
Handcrafted Details Outside
It’s easy to add warmth to the exterior of your home without breaking the bank. One of the best easy-care additions you can use on the exterior of your home is the addition of cedar details.
A section of cedar shakes can bring the handcrafted look to the façade of a flat-sided home. Create character at the roofline with the addition of decorative cedar gable brackets and cedar corbels. Gable brackets mount in the angle below the peak of your home’s roof while corbels ad a regularly spaced accent along the eve where the roof and exterior wall meet.
The textural elements of your cedar-work adds interest without a huge commitment to change or expense. You can purchase both premade with a simply routed shape to suit your taste. Paint them to match, or enjoy the beauty of natural wood. Cedar is naturally resistant to the elements and with a little protective sealant the addition of cedar to your home can be worry-free.
Craftsman Details In Your Living Space
It’s a simple matter to wrap yourself in the warmth of a craftsman home without breaking out a sledge hammer. While a pass-through, built-in bookshelves and an open floor-plan may help to make an easy transition to craftsman, you can add details to any home that give it the custom feel of a craftsman home.
A Little Trim and Some Paint Make all the Difference
Adding simple trim with clean lines to window and door openings changes the look of a room with minimal expense. Repaint that contrast wall and reclaim the calm of a neutral paint scheme. If you’re brave, and feel a little crafty yourself, adding Wainscoting to a dining room or hallway can be a great way to add the handcrafted feel to an existing room. Depending on your skill level, you can opt for pre-cut boards packaged just for the job or you can take a little shortcut and purchase pre-made panels that achieve the same look. Top your wainscot paneling with a simple trim and paint or stain it for a finished product that adds value and warmth to your home.
Bring craftsman to the floor by getting rid of the carpet. Opt for the warmth and easy care of engineered flooring with the look of classic hardwood. Choose a grain and finish to match the trim you put on the windows and you’ll pull together a craftsman look in no time.
Furniture and Storage Choices Bring Craftsman Home
Ditch the glass coffee table and opt for the clean lines of a mission style table in oak or cherry. Grow up a little and replace the queen sized bean bag. Treat the family room right. Instead, settle down on a simply upholstered sofa. Deep cushions covered in an easy care, cruelty-free leather let you nest after a long day. Add a hand crocheted throw blanket for snuggling and a wicker basket to catch your iPad and remote control and feel the calm in your new space.
Matt Buquoi works at FlowerWindowBoxes.com, a company that offers premium-quality, no-rot flower window boxes and outdoor planters at affordable prices.