Craftsman Style Homes

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Craftsman House

Craftsman-style homes were built during the Arts and Crafts Movement of 1890-1920. From California homes with broad eaves and a Japanese influence to Midwest bungalows in Frank Lloyd Wright’s Prairie style, these homes celebrate honest, handcrafted work and natural materials.

Orderly horizontal forms; brick fireplaces; extensive use of wood, clay, and metal (especially wrought iron and copper); stained glass in geometric or stylized natural designs; and organic motifs like gingko and oak leaves and acorns are characteristic of the style. Broad openings between rooms create the semblance of an open floor plan.

• Walls & ceilings. Wainscoting is a key feature: Use stained oak panels that rise two-thirds of the wall height, and cap with a narrow display shelf. Divide the ceiling into sections with deep, coffered moldings. Door and window moldings should be wide but simple, with little profile other than gently rounded edges. Hang pendant lights with squared-off glass shades from the ceiling.

• Floors. In public rooms (the living room, dining room, and entry) install stained-wood planks, if possible with an inlaid or stenciled border around the perimeter. For porches, baths, and kitchens, choose small hexagonal or square tiles; these also may have a contrasting tile border. Add comfort underfoot with thick wool area rugs in vibrant colors-rusty reds, deep greens, tans, and golds-and perhaps a naturalistic trailing-vine pattern.

• Surfaces. Choose a natural material, relying on wood grains and natural markings for texture. Select a paint palette of rich earth tones in brown, rust, teal, putty, and dark green, or go lighter with buff or pale squash. Include stained glass, even if only propped against a standard window.

• Furniture. Gustaf Stickley designed the quintessential furniture of the period, and today’s versions are direct offshoots. Usually made of oak, Stickley-inspired furniture features sturdy frames with straight lines, square legs, straightforward metal hardware (iron or copper) and horizontal details. Large pillows add comfort to the uncompromising form.

• Fabrics. Mix hand-woven linens and durable cotton printed in stylized natural or geometric patterns with nubby solid-color fabrics. Add leather upholstery, boldly embroidered pillows, and either embroidered net or canvas curtains at the windows. Craftsman-era embroidery had simple stitches in vibrant colors-look for period designs in old magazines or pattern books.

• Accessories. Lighting is critical to capturing the Craftsman style, so choose lamps with an oak or metal base and either leaded glass or mica shades. The Roycroft Studio produced well-crafted products during the Craftsman era; look for antiques or replicas for an authentic touch. Include hammered copper, iron candlesticks, matte-glazed pottery, natural specimens, and bas-relief carvings with a nature theme.

• Details. Create a cohesive look by choosing one natural motif to use throughout the house. For example, stencil a border around a floor, and then use the same design as a ceiling border in another room. Pull out one element from the design and embroider it on pillows for a third room.


Design & Decorating

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