In Search of Character: Craftsman Style

Because I had some time away from the house while we went to Disney, and because I had a chance to really think about the direction I was going I decided to start a new series called In Search of Character.  After all, that’s what we all are searching for, in our houses, men, and even children.  No one ever says, “I want the most boring house, one that is totally devoid of character.”  I’m going to kick off this series with Craftsman Style because that is the style of my home.

Each week I will feature a different architectural style with ideas about how to bring the character found in older homes with this style into a modern day home.  Just my opinion, but it seems that many builders in the last several years have merged characteristics of many styles of homes into one neighborhood so that something from the neighborhood appeals to everyone. The bad thing about that is the character we all love when we drive through those vintage neighborhoods with clear architectural style is lost.  Remember, those old houses were once new houses too.  Their character was there from the start.  So lets take a little journey together to figure out how we can put all of that great character into our homes right now.

These are typical examples of a Craftsman style bungalow home (also known as an Arts and Crafts).

Earthy Colors and Materials

Source: Better Homes and Gardens

The tapered columns, front porch, attention to detail near the roof, woodwork on the front door, and pitch of the roof are all characteristic of the style.  Here is another example.

Craftsman-Style Garage Doors

Source:  Better Homes and Gardens

craftsman house gallery | ... Gallery, Corner Lot, Northwest, Craftsman House Plans & Home Designs

Source:  Architectural Designs Inc.

Plan W16887WG: 3 Bedroom House Plan With Swing Porch - instead of a lanai, make it a back porch and extend it to the end of the house. No stairs to basement - make that area mud room/utility room/pantry with access from garage and back yard. Remove pantry from kitchen - create more counter space and a large corner window. Move sink to wall by swing porch, move fridge to wall where new utility room is, move stove to island.

Source: Architectural Designs Inc.

This next one is a picture of my “Craftsman”.  I put this in quotation marks because although some characteristics are present in my house, the attention to detail is not there.  This house plan could be built with three different elevations.  One was craftsman, the next contemporary, and the final one traditional.  I wanted a front porch which was missing from the other two elevations.  To bring true Craftsman style I should change the garage door, add some woodwork detail near the roof line, and change the front door to a more Craftsman version.

House Exterior

Moving on to the inside, Craftsman homes are all about the woodwork.  Gustave Stickley made the movement popular through the publication of his magazine The Craftsman in which he promoted a more simple version of a home.  The inside of a Craftsman style home is characterized by open floor plans, wide cased openings, woodwork, leaded glass, and built-ins.  Let’s take a little looky at some of the eye candy of a Craftsman home.

Similar colors - floor, walls, etc. and half plantation shutters in background :: bungalow interiors, decor and design, craftsman built-in shelving, sunroom, home office

Source: Houzz

craftsman style home interiors | HOME DECOR and DESIGN: ANSWERS TO COLOR QUESTIONS: CRAFTSMAN HOME ...

Source: Your Nest Design

Magnificent Craftsman Style Interiors to Improve Room Coziness: Contemporary Craftsman Style Interiors Powder Room With Glass Tile Backsplash And White Porcelain Sink And Toilet Woodframe Window

Source: Pinterest

Craftsman Bungalow Interiors | Craftsman Interior

Source: Keesee Inc.

Wainscoting + beadboard ceiling... If you click on this picture it will take you to a website with a bunch of different pictures of this home. I need it.

Source: Rehkamp Larson Architects

I love the board and batten used so much in Craftsman style homes.  There is a move toward white when it comes to woodwork and it is definitely my preference.  Right now my builder grade windows do not have any molding around them.  I am going to add Craftsman style molding painted in white to reinforce the Arts and Crafts style.  I would love to add some tapered pillars with a possible bookcase somewhere in the home.  Right now our dining room, living, and kitchen are wide open with no barriers at all.  It does make it harder to separate the rooms.

We plan on opening up the wall to the 4th bedroom from the foyer with a wide cased opening.  Perhaps I can do some pillars in that spot, or, at least I could trim it out with craftsman molding and some board and batten.  Basically, I can add in the character of an older Craftsman home, but it will require lots of woodwork.  I’m okay with that.  I think I need to become fast friends with a really great cabinet maker and just tackle one room at a time.  Staying true to the Craftsman style throughout the home, I think, will give it great appeal and make it the character rich home I am craving.  Next week I’ll focus  on the Colonial Style.  Check back for some great ideas on how to take a Colonial to the next level.


  1. Ronnie Gunn Tucker

    November 2, 2014 at 7:48 am

    Love Craftsman. So homey and unstuffy.
    Good stuff you’re doing here! : )

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