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Architectural Tutorial: Craftsman Style

The Craftsman Style, otherwise known as Arts and Crafts, was based on the Arts and Crafts movement in Europe led by English architect William Morris in the early 1900s. At the time, art, furniture and residential architecture reflected the Industrial Revolution and Victorian Era, where machines introduced mass production. The Craftsman Style intended to combat this by focusing on a simpler lifestyle, centered around handcrafted elements, natural materials and straight lines, both horizontal and vertical. Built-in furniture, staircase details, stained glass windows and many other elements were constructed with the same "carved and polished wooden aesthetic" throughout the home (Walker 180).

The most famous Craftsman architects were Charles & Henry Greene out of California. They were a major influence on the Craftsman Style spreading in the West and were best known for their bungalows. They incorporated other styles from England, Japan, Scandanavia and Switzerland into the exterior and simple interior design of their creations. They took personal interest in every aspect of their projects, designing everything from the hardware and leaded windows to built-in and movable furniture.

One of Greene & Greene's most famous designs, the Gamble House in Pasadena, CA, was designed for David & Mary Gamble of Procter & Gamble Company in 1908.
[image source:

The front entry door of the Gamble House displays a "Tree of Life" design, a leaded glass, handcrafted masterpiece.
[image source: http://www.gamblehouse.org/]

Another famous Greene & Greene Arts & Crafts design, the Pratt House was designed in 1909, infusing Japanese artful beauty and American practicality.
[image source: http://www.ultimatebungalow.com/]

Another Craftsman Style pioneer was Gustav Stickley, an architect of Craftsman Style residences who was famous for his Craftsman furniture designs. He also started the publication titled, The Craftsman, a magazine that "took the basic ideas behind the English Arts & Crafts philosophy and moulded them to suit an American environment" (The Textile Blog).

Stickley's illustration of a living room fireplace built-in, published in The Craftsman in 1905.
[image source: Stubblebine 142]

Here are a few of Visbeen Associates' Craftsman Style designs for your viewing pleasure...

The low-pitched rooflines, stylish overhangs and the earthy palette of the exterior blend in with it's environment and are carried in throughout the interior of this Arts & Crafts Style design called the Amblewood.

True craftsmanship and detailed woodworking are manifested in Amblewood's staircase, reminiscent of Greene & Greene details of the past. Click here to read our architectural tutorial and learn about this type of stair.

The Hampshire is one of our uniquely modern Craftsman Style designs.

The Hampshire's inglenook hearth with charming tiled fireplace is flanked by a pair of cushioned, built-in benches and pays homage to Stickley's designs. Click here to read our articles on other fetching & functional built-ins.
The Clareville is a cottage Craftsman design with an abundance of artful attention to detail.

Simplified lines, a low-pitched roof, tapered columns and exposed rafters characterize the exterior of this updated Arts & Crafts design called the Lillington.

Craftsman quality and Mission-style amenities are hallmarks of the Richmond's versatile design.

Stubblebine, Ray. Stickley's Craftsman Homes: Plans, Drawings, Photographs. Layton: Gibbs Smith, Publisher, 2006.
Walker, Lester. American Homes: An Illustrated Encyclopedia of Domestic Architecture. New York: Black Dog & Leventhal Publishers, 1981.

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