Yellow craftsman style home.

Everything You Ever Wondered About The Craftsman Style House

Hanna Kielar3-Minute Read
August 30, 2021

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When you think of architectural styles of homes, the Craftsman style likely pops quickly into your head. It’s right up there with other classic home styles, such as Cape Cods, Mid-Century Moderns and Colonials.

But what gives a Craftsman house its distinct features? Let’s find out more.

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The Unmistakable Look Of A Craftsman Home

You can probably identify a Craftsman style house the minute you drive up, says Justin M. Riordan, founder of Spade and Archer Design Agency. The most common characteristics of a Craftsman style house include:

  • A covered front porch
  • Tapered columns that support the roof and are typically more sturdy at the bottom, becoming smaller at the top
  • Deep overhanging roof eaves
  • Exposed rafter tails, which are the beams that stick out of the house and 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
  • Washed-out earth tones, with a color palette tending toward browns and greens – colors that look like they might have been pulled from natural dyes
  • Multi-pane windows, cased in wide trim
  • Partially paned doors, typically the upper third of the door

And most Craftsman houses share typical internal features as well, adds Timothy Bakke, publishing director at The Plan Collection LLC:

  • Built-in cabinetry and shelves
  • Unique custom-made features like window seats
  • Handcrafted stone and woodwork
  • Natural materials such as wood, stone and brick throughout
  • A grand fireplace, often a central feature of the living room
  • A practical, open floor plan with few hallways and small rooms that facilitate access from the kitchen to the rest of the house

Crafting The History Of The Craftsman House

The history of Craftsman style houses is a bit muddled, as history often is. They emerged at the turn of the 20th century, and with their clean, simple lines, they are considered an offshoot of British Arts and Crafts architecture, says Yuka Kato of home remodeling site

The look was embraced as the antithesis of the stuffiness of Victorians which reigned at the time. “The elements of Arts and Crafts were first made popular as a revolt against the industrial revolution and signaled a renaissance in handmade furniture and architecture,” Riordan says.

The style appears to have been popularized on both coasts around the same time.

In upstate New York, Gustav Stickley, a well-known furniture maker, took his popular furniture style and expanded it into home styles. He founded “The Craftsman” magazine, distributing it far and wide, to sell affordable patterns directly to consumers.

At around the same time, the style popped up in Pasadena in southern California, created by two architect brothers – Charles and Henry Greene – who were inspired by both English reactionary architecture and Oriental wood architecture, says Kato.

The popularity of Craftsman homes widened throughout the United States, thanks to pattern books sold directly to families by other builders and through periodicals like “House Beautiful” and “Ladies Home Journal,” Riordan notes. While originally, the term “Craftsman” meant a home built from a plan in Stickley’s magazine, now it has expanded to indicate any home built in the Arts and Crafts style.

The style has become widespread nationwide, Bakke says, although they are perhaps most common in their two birthplaces: upstate New York and Southern California, as well as the Midwest.

A Craftsman Home For Every Taste

There are four different distinct types of the Craftsman house, although all will have similar decorative details and an open floor plan, Kato says. They come in all sizes and price points, making them a great choice for anyone from a first-time home buyer to someone looking to move up.

The four main styles are:

  • Bungalow: This is the traditional style of Craftsman and the one we all picture in our minds when we think of a Craftsman home, Riordan notes.
  • Prairie Style: Frank Lloyd Wright is the father of the Prairie Style, which is a sub-category. These homes are low slung with strong horizontal lines and are most commonly found in the Midwest, says Kato.
  • Mission Revival: While these mimic many of the lines of the Prairie Style Craftsman, their exterior is typically covered in stucco. “They seriously look just like the old missions of the west,” Riordan says.
  • Four Square: This is the working man’s version of the Craftsman, says Riordan. “They are named such because the two-story box was comprised of four rooms on the first floor, and four rooms on the second with an internal staircase.”

Whichever style you prefer, Craftsman style homes have stood the test of time for their distinctive good looks and character.

Interested in a Craftsman house? Try the Rocket Mortgage mortgage calculator to find out what price point you can comfortably afford.

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Hanna Kielar

Hanna Kielar is an Associate Section Editor for Rocket Mortgage focused on personal finance, recruiting and personal loans. She has a B.A. in Professional Writing from Michigan State University.