Craftsman homes became popular during the Arts and Crafts movement at the turn of the 19th century. This period of home building acted as a transition between the lavish and elaborate Victorian homes of the 19th century and the minimal and modern homes of the mid-20th century. Unlike the Victorian, craftsman-style homes are known for their clean lines and nature-inspired motifs. Craftsmans also have more hand-wrought woodwork and detail than simple modern houses.
Most craftsman-style homes are considered bungalows, but not every cottage is viewed as a craftsman. To pick out a true craftsman home, it helps to be familiar with some key features. We've selected some stunning craftsman house examples for you to explore, each with one characteristic that helps identify it as such.
The easiest way to identify a craftsman-style home is to look at the roof. Homes from this period usually have some type of roof overhang. The overhang tends to be decorated or supported with simple rafter tails or brackets. Notice that the roof on this home also has a low pitch, which is a classic characteristic of craftsman bungalows.
If the front porch extends beyond the house, you'll usually notice a low profile double gable roof. The gable of the porch is offset slightly but follows the lines and angles of the main roof gable almost exactly. Despite the porch being offset to the right, the door is still center on this bungalow.
Many craftsman-style homes feature a story-and-a-half layout. Sometimes the half story acted as an attic. However, oftentimes you'll find a finished floor complete with original matching dormers on both sides of the home. This home exterior has been modernized with some simpler finishes. Originally, the porch columns may have been tapered and the porch roofline would have matched the main roofline.
Earthy Color Scheme
One thing that original craftsman bungalows will have is an earthy color scheme. Common craftsman colors include rust, dusty pink, tan, moss green, and brown. If your house has been re-sided or painted over the years, consider taking it back to a more historic color palette for a more authentic look.
Cedar Shaker Shingles
One of the most common siding materials on craftsman homes is cedar Shaker shingles. Sometimes these are set in varying patterns on the house to distinguish the top floor from the bottom floor. This home also highlights many asymmetrical details that were common. If there were additions off to the side, they didn't have to match the opposite side of the home, but they usually shared the same roof lines.
There are several styles of craftsman windows that look different than Victorian-style windows. However, these windows weren't always specific to craftsman homes. For example, you'll often see prairie-style windows on craftsman bungalows. These windows have separate smaller panes of glass on the outside rim and are inspired by the Prairie movement. In fact, these two home styles share a lot of similar characteristics.
Picture Window With Overhang
Many craftsman bungalows will have large bay windows or picture windows. These windows are generally positioned off to one side with the main entryway taking up the other side. Notice how there is also an overhanging roof above the picture window with exposed rafter tails. That roof above the picture window is an iconic detail of craftsman-style homes.
We talked earlier about how many craftsman homes are asymmetrical. This feature is more of a guideline than a rule. You'll notice that some bungalows are perfectly symmetrical and will have a central doorway with identical windows on either side. In this case, the roofline, the exposed rafter tails, and the wide, simple porch columns help characterize this home as a craftsman.
Stucco and Wood Accents
This 1920s-era Arts and Crafts bungalow house is a bit of a question mark since it has many features of a cottage and a Tudor-style home. The stucco and brick walls, red front door, and picture window are all features that help define this home as a craftsman along with the overhanging roofline.
There are certain neighborhoods in cities where most of the bungalows look almost the same. In Chicago, you'll find several pockets of story-and-a-half bungalows. The main characteristic that most of them share is a brick exterior and a central dormer at the front of the house.