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What Is a Craftsman Style House?


on January 27, 2023


As you research and explore different types of interior and exterior decor for your home, you’ve likely run across the term “Craftsman” in reference to design. Learn to recognize a craftsman style home, and ways to incorporate craftsman style into your home’s interior or exterior design. Read on to discover more about where the term craftsman home originated, what design elements make for a quintessential craftsman home, and how to make your craftsman style house shine.  

Where Did Craftsman Style Homes Come From?

In response to the art deco, Victorian, and manmade, ornamental architecture that took the main stage in the wake of America’s Industrial Revolution, the Craftsman style movement was born. Inspired in part by the British Arts and Crafts movement which was Inspired by England’s Industrial Revolution, the Craftsman movement emphasized the importance and quality of hand craftsmanship. 

While still offering the detailed work that was popular at the time, craftsman style homes aimed to bring back a less pretentious architectural style that was grounded in inviting warmth. Specifically, the Craftsman movement was a celebration of natural materials and forms, and the beautiful designs that could come from artisan craftsmanship.

Craftsman Bungalow

As this movement grew in popularity, offshoots cropped up in the same spirit, with some unique aspects. For example, the Craftsman Bungalow movement lauded a new era of architecture on the West Coast. Craftsman bungalows were first brought on the scene by Henry and Charles Greene, who took heavy inspiration from Japanese architecture to create a uniquely zen take on the Craftsman style. 

What Does a Craftsman House Look Like?

Whether you’re looking for the most traditional version of a Craftsman home, the bungalow version popularized by the Greene brothers, or the Prairie version led by famous architect Frank Lloyd Wright, there are a few hallmark features that will let you know you’re looking at a tried and true Craftsman Style house. Here are some things to look for that indicate you’re dealing with Craftsman architecture: 

  • Small to medium sized homes. Craftsman homes are designed to accommodate a growing family without becoming extravagantly oversized.
  • Intentionally exposed beams. Perhaps the most telltale sign, exterior design elements of exposed beams and brackets create visual interest on a craftsman facade. 
  • Natural materials. From painted wood paneling to stone columns and foundations, Craftsman homes lean heavily on the beauty of nature and how humans can build stunning homes with those materials. 
  • Large, open porches. Gathering spaces are a common thread throughout interior and exterior design of craftsman homes, and front porches are one of the most quintessential craftsman home traits.
  • Bay or picture windows. Especially on the front facade of a home, these large windows create a sense of natural grandeur without tipping the scale into overly grandiose. They also increase the sense of nature from within the home, matching the natural materials common in design.
  • Detailed design. While craftsman homes are, in their own right, the antithesis of the ornamental structure of Victorian homes, that doesn’t mean they are without their own flourishes. The facades of craftsman homes often feature beautiful and meticulous detail and artisan-designed touches.

Windows and Doors Well-Suited for Craftsman Style Homes

To complement the simple yet decorative detailing and natural materials, it’s important to choose the right windows and doors for your craftsman style home. If you’re not sure where to start, these styles will properly elevate your craftsman home design: 

  • Bay windows. As mentioned above, these are already commonly found in craftsman architecture, so adding a bay window or two to your home can be a natural fit.
  • Picture windows. Similarly, because craftsman homes emphasize natural materials, ensuring you have plenty of natural light in your home is a good idea. Picture windows, with their large, uninterrupted panes of glass, are a great way to achieve this. Picture windows are often flanked by operable counterparts such as casement windows to add airflow and design interest.
  • Fiberglass doors with inlaid panels. The intricacy of the design elements that make a craftsman home truly exceptional lend themselves well to entry doors with inlaid panels. This textural differentiator melds well with the exposed beams, rafters, and brackets on many craftsman home front facades. 
  • Wood window frames. Thanks to the use of natural materials in the whole home build, wood window frames are a great fit for craftsman style houses. 
  • Wood grain finishes on doors. If you’re looking for a natural touch without the upkeep of a full wood door, fiberglass entry doors with wood grain finish are a good alternative. 
  • Transom windows above entry doors. Additionally, incorporating transom windows above your entry door adds another point of visual interest that contrasts well against the angled lines of craftsman facades. 

Are Craftsman Houses Still Popular?

In short, yes. Craftsman houses are still extremely popular. Their popularity prevails for a number of reasons. Especially in the Midwest, craftsman houses are some of the most popular and prevalent design styles for new homes. This architectural style offers a timeless charm and grounded vibe that matches the Midwest lifestyle well. However, it’s not uncommon to find craftsman houses throughout the country as well. 

With interior and exterior design trends continuing to emphasize comfort, warmth, and a sense of belonging, the Craftsman Movement is having a resurgence. Their lack of pretension and approachable design make them perfect matches for the cozy, simplistic design and lifestyle trends of today. 

Choose the Right Windows and Doors for Your Craftsman Home with Pella

Looking for a little help picking the windows and doors that would best suit your craftsman style house? The experts at Pella have your back. Request a consultation today to get started.

Schedule a free consultation to find windows and doors for your home.