The American Craftsman Style

Birmingham FrontThe American Craftsman style is alternately known as the American Arts and Crafts movement and represents a range of movement styles encompassing architectural, interior, landscape and decorative design styles. The philosophy of the design movement begin in the later part of the 19th century and continues today, albeit it has been witness to many revivals and restorations throughout the past until the present time. Craftsman styled homes are some of the most endearing and well loved homes due to their comfortable style and, at times, modest approach to home ownership. Distinctively, American in style, the Craftsman can be simply or elaborately adorned on the exterior façade and, most often, features a wide open layout on the interior with minimal hallways and limited square footage. Craftsman bungalows became the most popular style of small house throughout the country from approximately 1905 – 1920’s and have since grown in popularity, style and square footage. In response to the Industrial Revolution and its effort to promote the machine made over the handmade, the English Arts and Crafts movement was formed. This response was in direct correlation with the decline of the Victorian Era, which produced the “overly decorated” Victorian housing model. The American Arts and Craftsman movement coincided with the British movement in character and theme; a reformation of philosophy, originality and simplicity. The Victorian home was typically a two story home with a back or lower level wing housing the kitchen, pantries and/or servants quarters; however, class shift/structure in America soon led to a redesign in form and function of society and housing needs. The new middle class home would have no need for domestic servants; therefore, the kitchen and other similar functioning rooms were soon integrated into the main living spaces within the home for better flow and easier sight lines into the main living and dining spaces. Today, Craftsman styled homes are reflective works of art designed to incorporate functional living spaces that are warm, welcoming and comfortable within an impressive array of striking and spectacularly bold or simple exteriors.

Primarily inspired by two architect brothers, Charles and Henry Greene, the Pasadena, California duo began constructing Craftsman style homes at the turn of the 20th century using local materials in harmony with nature, fine craftsmanship in lieu of machine made goods and finally, incorporating the dignity of the working man’s desire to own a well built, hand crafted home. Their most famous example to result from this period is The Gamble House, in Pasadena, which is a National Historic Landmark owned by the city and open for public tours. Today a wide variety of homes built in the Craftsman style can be identified as such whether they are categorized as cottages, bungalows, foursquare or prairie house versions.

The following are some of the defining characteristics of Craftsman homes:

Low pitched gabled roofs

Tapered columns

Multi-paned windows

Warm, earth tone colors

Single or multiple dormers

Exposed rafters tucked into deep eaves

Stone detailing

Similarly inspired, American Gables Home Designs is privileged to offer a comprehensive inventory of Craftsman homes designed to creatively craft a lifestyle conducive to the philosophy, simplicity and originality of the Arts and Crafts movement.

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