Craftsman Style

The Craftsman house style developed famously for its egalitarian design form and middle-class background ideas. It existed and remained the antithesis of notable Victorian design, and for more minor, one-family needs were more economical and modest than the ornate homes of the previous era. More extensions of the style currently exist all over the country, though. Mostly in the Midwest, the legendary architect Mr. Frank Lloyd Wright was a notable adopter of the Craftsman house technique. He customized the middle-class Craftsman appearance into highly elevated Prairie-style homes from his architectural base in Chicago and the New York City suburbs.

Craftsman Style

Once a month starting in 1904, The Craftsman featured a home plan based on the Arts and Crafts philosophy, usually featuring deep, overhanging eaves, large groupings of casement windows, open floor plans, and abundant natural materials like wood and stone. Craftsman style became widely popular during the early twentieth century, giving Americans of relatively modest means access to high-quality architecture and design for the first time.

Like the work of Frank Lloyd Wright and the Pasadena architects Greene & Greene (who catered to a more affluent clientele), Craftsman homes were meant to be built with local materials and sited with sensitivity to the surrounding landscape so that they appeared almost to have grown organically out of it. Principles of Craftsman design were widely popularized, even finding their way into lower-income housing in the form of Sears “kit” homes.

Inside the Craftsman home, form followed function, structural elements and lighting were exploited for their decorative value, and built-in cabinetry, benches, and bookcases added beauty and utility to the living areas. Full, wide sleeping porches and rustic fireplaces are central features of these homes. The fireplace is often built of stone and flanked by built-in bookcases to create an “inglenook.”

William Morris inspired Stickley’s furniture designs, but their honest, somewhat utilitarian aesthetic is distinctly American. Usually made of quarter-sawn oak in rectilinear shapes, Craftsman-style furniture ranges from sturdy, slatted “Mission”-style desks to bed frames with long, elegantly tapered bedposts. Armchairs and rockers are upholstered in natural, simple materials like canvas and leather. Like English Arts and Crafts furniture, Craftsman pieces are often constructed with Traditional cabinetry techniques like mortise-and-tenon joinery and hammered-metal hinges and handles.

But Craftsman interiors do not necessarily have to consist of de rigor early twentieth-century antiques. Any wooden furniture with good craftsmanship and clean, simple lines will work with this style — mainly if the natural beauty of the wood is the main attraction. Accessories are essential to evoke the period and lighten the dark wood tones predominating in Craftsman homes. Against the background of simple white walls, hardwood floors, oak-beamed plaster ceilings, and built-in cabinetry, use stained glass accents, Tiffany lamps, and the glint of metal in the form of pewter accents or brass candlesticks to add sparkle. 

With accessories, the honesty and warmth of the Craftsman basics can be customized to your taste, whether that runs to more contemporary elements like sisal floor mats, period pieces like Lalique glass or pre-Raphaelite art, or ethnic accents like Mexican textiles and pottery. Proportion and scale, along with the interplay between linear movement and the spacious qualities of light, create an integral function in creating balance and harmony within the room.

In interior design, styles and aesthetics are born, transformed, and sometimes merged to create new and fresh aesthetics. Among the style blends is the ever-popular contemporary Craftsman design style, marrying timeless Craftsman features with modern contemporary sensibilities.

Having survived for so long, this design aesthetic is no longer just a trend but a staple in the toolbox of every designer, developer, and homeowner with experience in home design. 

However, identifying and leveraging this style can be challenging.

To purchase the book:

Go to…..Search for ‘66 Styles for Interior Design’….Volume 1 A-C

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