Roots of Style

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They charm us with an intimate scale and intricate wooden details lightly layered over stuccotiles, stone and bricks. Their porches return time while offering a gentle transition between the outside world and cozy spaces inside. These are Craftsman houses — uniquely American creations that began to appear around 1905 in Southern California and are considered contemporary eclectic design. They’re a fusion of wooden Asian architectural details, the English Arts and Crafts movement and an innovative California soul.

Mastered by the Greene brothers, whose landmark Gamble House still stands as a masterpiece of the ideals that the Craftsman style encouraged, the style translated to all scales of home construction. These houses became extraordinarily popular throughout the U.S. during the first 30 decades of the 20th century. Pattern books and periodicals furthered the analysis of the architecture; even fittings to build an whole home can be ordered and delivered to construction sites.

Additional revivals — and midcentury modern architecture, including ranch — substituted the Craftsman style after the 1920s. Its own revival, among revivals of a number of other types, culminating at the late 20th century and continues today. The selection of configurations probably results in the adaptability of this architecture to newer houses.

Originals are found in four main roof contours: leading gabled, cross gabled, side gabled and hipped roof. The specifics of the porch posts and rails, rafter tails and eave brackets allow significant variation. Also, brick, stone, stucco and wood siding of several distinct types is employed in this fashion, resulting in almost every case taking on its own unique individuality.

Sarah Greenman

Front-Gabled Craftsman Homes

This Seattle home has a full-width porch extending from one outside end post to another. The square poles rest atop brick piers that rise to a height only marginally above the porch railing. Many variations of the post and dock are found on Craftsman houses, as exemplified in the following examples. Cosmetic mounts typically support the barge board, as viewed here. A triple attic window underscored with a blossom box that is bracketed adorns the gable that is wide confront here.

Notice that the transom section above the lower-level windows, which is another common Craftsman detail. Dark grey paint unifies the clapboard and stucco exterior wall finishes with this home.

Historical Concepts

Another front-gabled instance, this one in Atlanta, has its own defining characteristics. Here three square poles resting on brick piers support the porch roof. Knee braces support the barge board mounts. As in the prior example, the entire body of the home is clapboard, however this gable confront is shingled. As in almost all Craftsman houses, the rafter tails are somewhat exposed, as opposed to being enclosed within a soffit.

Brooks Ballard

This newer Craftsman revival home employs top-end details very similar to the previous two examples, but tapered porch encourages rest on square brick piers here. Distinctive for this particular style, tapered posts on some originals could be of stone or wood. Notice that the brick extends to form the porch railing and that the ideal end of the porch appears as an enclosed portion, which is nicely detailed with multipane windows.

The staggered shingles reflect the texture of the mixed brick. Look closely to see a composite of weathered and red blocks. Once again clapboard siding surrounds the main body of the home.

Paul Moon Design

In another revival in the U.S. Northwest, a dual aide defines the front view, a setup located in some originals. The smaller gable establishes the entrance porch and is detailed with the same knee brace mounts because the dominant gable.

Consider that the entrance steps rise to a couple feet above the finished landscape. Craftsman houses are normally constructed upon crawlspace foundations or basements. In the decades following the original Craftsman age, slab bases came into common use across California and many of the warmer U.S. ponds. This significant trait could be dropped once Craftsman details are employed to ranch-style houses. By nature, Craftsman homes want to stand up straight and be perpendicular, as opposed to flowing across the landscape as ranch designs do.

First Lamp

Great effort was taken to set the identity of this two-story front-gabled Craftsman revival home in the Seattle area. Shingled piers taper to maintain a thinner, brief, square pillar, and also a simple railing encloses the porch. The attenuated rafter tails include character, while the oversize knee mounts painted the same bright white provide high contrast to the large body of the home.

Notice that the combination of clapboard and shingle siding. The shingle provides emphasis in the projections, gabled ends and article piers. Handsome double-hung windows are multipane on top and single pane on the lower, and it is another original Craftsman attribute.

Bennett Frank McCarthy Architects, Inc..

Cross-Gabled Craftsman Homes

A second kind of Craftsman comes with a principal side-gabled roof fronted with another substantial gable that can stretch to cover porches along with other rooms or comprise a second level.

This designer of this Washington, D.C.–area remodel caught the Craftsman motif and transformed a basic cottage into a beautiful abode full of character. Notice that the gable front becomes a screen to the ceiling of the porch, in which a fan dangles to give airflow. The beautiful detail of the gable and railing highly respects the origins of Craftsman architecture.

Additionally lovely here would be the slanted mounts atop the tapered columns. Hefty square foot piers confidently support those columns along with also the porch roof. Clapboard siding combines with detailed roof shingles to confirm the character of this home.

stirling group inc

This original Charlotte, North Carolina, Craftsman home got a second floor in its own remodel. A double sided with a cross side gable above a porch defines the original arrangement. The brand new second level rises at a comfortable distance behind. A smaller front-facing gable breaks down the side gable of the new upper ground. Shingles cover the whole residence. The segmented and reduced scale of the second-level addition successfully complements the original configuration.

Asher Associates Architects

This shingled Philadelphia-area home shows how diverse Craftsman style can be. The front and side gables give it tremendous presence, along with the unique hipped porch roof holds a little balcony.

Notice the variation of the columns compared to the previous houses shown. The dock has been eliminated in favor of big, square, full-height tapered posts. The porch header curves abruptly as it meets the columns, softening this transition. A double window in the gable peak suggests a third-floor attic area. Also observe that this elevation is symmetrical, as opposed to the prior examples. Few styles function well in both symmetrical and asymmetrical configurations.

Dennis Mayer – Photographer

Whimsical details emphasized with highly contrasting colors decorate his home in the San Francisco area. Elaborately carved barge boards in the soul of a Swiss chalet delicately play to its charm. Some California examples are known as the Western Stick style for its usage of the trimming detail in gable faces such as these. Notice the unusual mixture of the hip roof above, and as a belt line across the lower left, which provides a roof for the bay window.

Tim Andersen Architect

Side-Gabled Craftsman Homes

A main side-gabled roof is a very common configuration. Often, large dormers hold a second level. This results in a more intimately scaled weathered layout. Second-level porches are rarer, nevertheless, and can complement the design and detail, as does the railing with this original Seattle example.

WINN Design+Build

As I mentioned earlier, you can once order a kit (in such a case from Sears) and have the whole home sent to your website for assembly. And you thought Ikea was complicated!

Joking aside, buyers of apparel houses could take on the building themselves or hire contractors to build them. Most were constructed near railroad depots, as by train was the process of dispatch. Notice here the particulars are simpler in comparison to the other examples. The form and total impression keep the Craftsman character.

Evens Architects

Returning to the native soil of the Craftsman home, this Los Angeles–area house has been lovingly remodeled and updated. Notice that the exceptional window mullions, which broadly resemble Prairie details. Prairie style had some sway over this one, as it was also well known in the early 20th century. Double square columns comprise the porch affirms (difficult to see in this photograph), still another variation in the style.

Brooks Ballard

A side gable with a gable dormer defines this Craftsman revival. Successful proportions assist disguise the age of this home. Tapered columns top brick piers, faithfully fitting original examples. Notice the clapboard siding combined with the vertical detail in the gable face, an element located in the Western Stick style.

Brooks Ballard

Hipped-Roof Craftsman Homes

Hipped-roof Craftsman houses were were varied, but a lot of comparable foursquare-style houses exist across the U.S. To find the difference, start looking for Craftsman features such as the double porch pillar with this revival. Eaves can, but would seldom, be boxed in with soffits, as in this example. Brick piers provide additional definition of this home’s style. Notice how those piers break the line of the porch floor, which you can see in the majority of the houses presented here.

Brooks Ballard

Leaning toward the foursquare individuality, this brand new Craftsman revival demonstrates that the tapered upper pillar common to the style. Stone-covered piers characteristically break the ground line of the porch. A nicely detailed belt line divides a lower floor with clapboard siding in the shingled upper ground. Notice the hipped porch roof along with also the unusual segmented arch set in a secondary gable above the porch steps. A hipped dormer in the attic level covers the subject.

Tavan Group

Eclectic Craftsman Homes

This enchanting Vancouver home borrows from American Tudor because of its half-timbered applique, as well as the Shingle style for its eyebrow dormer and medieval massing. No matter the Craftsman motif is carried out through exposed rafter tails, shingle and stucco siding, and also a prominent porch with tapered columns set atop stone piers.

Michael Kelley Photography

Last we return to Southern California to go to another eclectic Craftsman example. In the soul of Spanish eclectic, a certain, smoothly stuccoed lower elevation with Roman arches affirms a smartly detailed upper layer painted in an extremely contrasting chocolate brown.

Sage-green window trimming softly complements the color scheme and helps unify the composition. On the roof areas we locate a beam mount, without braces, supporting the rakes of the gables, which is another detail found in some originals. Beam projections appear beneath the flared walls of the top level to give visual support.

More: Wallpaper Kicks Up a Century-Old Craftsman

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