Craftsman style home exterior.

A Complete Guide To The Craftsman-Style House

Hanna Kielar4-Minute Read
UPDATED: March 28, 2023

The Craftsman house was a popular home style in the early 20th century. And still today, it is regarded as a timeless architectural home design, along with other styles such as Cape Cods, midcentury moderns and colonials. But what is it about the Craftsman house that differs from its counterparts? This comprehensive guide will take a deeper dive into the rich history and unique characteristics of the Craftsman-style home.

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What Is A Craftsman House?

The Craftsman house is a common American home built in a popular house style inspired by the Arts and Crafts movement. This movement emerged during the late Victorian period in England and advocated for handcraftsmanship and decorative design, which the rise of industrialization seemed to devalue.

For this reason, Craftsman-style homes are made with natural materials and colors, with a focus on simplicity and functionality. They are built with attention to details of artisanal craftsmanship and traditional space plans.

History Of The Craftsman House

Craftsman homes emerged at the turn of the 20th century, and with their clean, simple lines, they’re considered an offshoot of British Arts and Crafts architecture, says Yuka Kato of home remodeling site

The handmade look of the Craftsman home acted as the antithesis of the popular Victorian style homes of the time, which held ornament and decoration in high esteem.

Gustav Stickley, an American furniture designer, played a significant role in making the home style popular across the United States. Stickley created “The Craftsman” magazine in October 1901, educating the public about the American Arts and Crafts aesthetic. By doing so, he helped make mainstream styles and designs that embodied such an aesthetic. In fact, the term “Craftsman” first referred to a home built from a plan in Stickley’s magazine. Today, however, it can refer to any home built in the Arts and Crafts style.

Two architect brothers — Charles and Henry Greene of Pasadena, California — also helped to popularize the California bungalow style of Craftsman home. The brothers were inspired by both English reactionary architecture and Oriental wood architecture, says Kato.

Exterior Characteristics Of A Craftsman-Style House

The exterior details of a home are often the first to be observed. You can probably identify a Craftsman-style house the minute you drive up, says Justin M. Riordan, founder of Spade and Archer Design Agency.

On the outside of a Craftsman-style house, one can usually expect to find:

  • A covered or screened-in front porch
  • A low-pitched gable roof
  • Tapered columns that support the roof and are typically sturdier at the bottom, becoming smaller at the top
  • Deep, overhanging roof eaves
  • Exposed rafter tails, also known as the beams sticking out of the house which can be seen under the eaves
  • Visible knee braces, the exposed triangle that supports a deep roof eave from underneath
  • Single dormers, centered and very large, often with multiple windows
  • Multi-paned windows, cased in wide trim
  • Partially paned doors, typically the upper third of the door
  • Washed-out earth tones, with a natural color palette of browns and greens

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Interior Characteristics Of A Craftsman-Style House

Inside a Craftsman-style home, you’ll likely find:

  • Built-in cabinets and shelves
  • Hand-crafted stone and woodwork
  • Natural materials such as stone, wood, and brick
  • Unique custom-made features like window seats
  • A practical open floor plan with few hallways and small rooms that grant access from the kitchen to the rest of the home
  • A grand fireplace, often a highlight of the living room

Different Types Of Craftsman Homes

There are four different types of the Craftsman house. While each type shares a similar design and floor plan, there are also distinct architectural differences that set them apart. Here’s a brief profile of each type of craftsman home.


The bungalow is the traditional style of Craftsman, usually marked by its smaller size (no larger than one and a half stories), gabled roof and covered front porch. The term “bungalow” itself originates from the Bengali region of India and can be translated to mean “house in the Bengal style.”

The craftsman bungalow style home is usually more affordable, ideal for small families, easy to maintain, sustainable, and historic and artistic in its elements. Such characteristics make it an attractive choice for home buyers looking for a smaller home that still draws attention.

Prairie Style

The prairie-style Craftsman home was birthed in Chicago in the early 20th century by the architect Frank Lloyd Wright. It is often considered to be a subcategory of the Craftsman home. This home style is characterized by its open floor plan, use of organic materials, connectedness between interior and exterior spaces, wide and central chimneys and hipped roofs. Devoid of Victorian influence, the prairie-style home is modern in appearance and simple in design.

Mission Revival

The mission revival Craftsman-style home takes inspiration from the prairie-style Craftsman while also having its own Spanish influences. This low-profile style of home often features wide, open verandas with interior courtyards, stucco-covered exteriors, a terracotta roof and paver tiles.

Four Square

The four square style of Craftsman home earns its name by each corner of the home having four rooms, and there being four rooms per floor. After World War I, builders added a second story onto the existing Craftsman home to meet the housing needs of growing families.

Craftsman House FAQs

Here are the answers to some frequently asked questions about craftsman-style homes.

Where are Craftsman homes popular?

Craftsman homes can be found across the nation. But they’re most popular in their two birthplaces: upstate New York and southern California, as well as the Midwest, says Timothy Bakke, publishing director at The Plan Collection LLC.

How can I modernize my Craftsman home?

In a traditional Craftsman home, you may find features like an outdated kitchen, hardwood floors or built-in shelving. To modernize your Craftsman home, you might consider some swaps such as a center kitchen island, refinished hardwood floors or stainless-steel appliances.

How do I find Craftsman-style homes for sale?

To find Craftsman-style homes for sale in your area, you can enlist the help of a local real estate agent or use an online real estate company’s multiple listing service (MLS).

The Bottom Line

Craftsman-style homes are an excellent match for prospective home buyers who have an appreciation for a cozy space that prioritizes natural beauty and craftsmanship. If you’re ready to find the perfect home for you, match with a Verified Partner Agent today through Rocket Homes.

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Hanna Kielar

Hanna Kielar is a Section Editor for Rocket Auto℠, RocketHQ℠, and Rocket Loans® with a focus on personal finance, automotive, and personal loans. She has a B.A. in Professional Writing from Michigan State University.