The Essential Elements of Craftsman Style

Photography by Mac Jamieson, Design by @ourcraftsmancottage on Instagram

Text by Bethany Adams

Anyone with an appreciation for quality, handcrafted design can recognize the beauty—and beautiful functionality—of Craftsman style. Born out of the late-19th-century Arts and Crafts movement, which emphasized the handmade over the mass-produced, machine-made offerings of the Industrial Revolution, this style has certainly stood the test of time. But what exactly is Craftsman style, and how can you tap into its timeless charms? These homes break down the most iconic features of this design aesthetic and prove that it’s all about the details.

Roofs, Dormers, and Details

Photography by Roma Homes

Craftsman homes are perhaps most recognizable by their exteriors, which are usually topped off with low-sloping gable or hip roofs. Shed or gable dormers are a common sight, as are overhanging eaves. Look closely, and you’re likely to see details like exposed rafter tails, knee braces, and gable brackets.

Perfect Porches

Photography by Michael Smith Architects

No Craftsman-style cottage is complete without a wide covered porch perfect for enjoying after-dinner coffee with guests. These porches are likely to feature tapered or double square columns.

Natural Beauty

Photography by Highland Builders

Craftsman homes are often designed to blend with their natural surroundings, and palettes of subdued, earthy tones are commonly seen. Additionally, you’re likely to notice natural materials like stacked stone foundations or cedar shake siding.

Exterior Casings

Photography by Walcott Adams Verneuille Architects

Because of the emphasis on craftsmanship, it’s no surprise that these homes feature beautiful details like wide trim and casings on the doors and windows, often painted in a color that contrasts the home’s main hue. Paned doors play into a desire for natural light inside the home while adding to the charms of the exterior.

A Warm Fire

Photography by @poconomountaincottage on Instagram

Original Craftsman designs placed an emphasis on bringing people together, and an open living space centered on a fireplace is still a must-have feature today. These elements are often accompanied by built-in bookshelves.

Customized Craftsmanship

Photography by Mac Jamieson, Interior designs by Red Leaf Interiors

In addition to shelves, it’s common to see built-in cabinets, nooks, and other customized features, which make these homes unique havens for those who live within.

Natural Materials

Photography by @1920craftsman on Instagram

Just like on their exteriors, earthy tones and natural materials—like stained, rather than painted, wood—are hallmarks of Craftsman-style interiors that are still seen within many of these homes today. The rich finishes contribute to a cozy and warm atmosphere that exemplifies the Craftsman spirit.

Timeless Trim

Photography by Pete Eckert, Design by Craftsman Design and Renovation

Probably the most recognizable feature of a Craftsman-style interior is the careful attention to detail, which can be seen in extensive trim work, wide casings, exposed ceiling beams, paneling, and wainscoting. These finishing touches create that iconic personality that keeps people loving and coming back to this truly timeless design style.

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