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What is a Craftsman Home?

When potential homeowners are considering where they want to buy and live, they’re confronted with a variety of architectural styles. Cape Cod? Colonial? Craftsman? And that’s just some of the C’s. This article answers what is a Craftsman home and explores the style’s continued popularity. After all, this architectural approach is also the basis of Saussy Burbank’s signature look.

So, what is a Craftsman home? It’s a style of home that dates back to the early 20th century. The approach developed as a response to the ornate details of Victorian homes and the revolution of industrial manufacturing. Inspired also by the British Arts and Crafts movement, the American Craftsman emphasizes handworked goods and custom buildings over mass-produced goods. One of the big American proponents of the style was Gustav Stickley, who promoted “simplicity in form, use of local materials, and honesty in construction.”

He published a magazine, The Craftsman, selling furniture and house plans embodying these characteristics. The homes were originally customized to Stickley’s plans but became increasingly popular. A century later, in a Harris Poll of more than 2,000 Americans age 18 and older, Trulia found the Craftsman was once again Americans’ favorite home style.

Common characteristics of Craftsman homes

While Craftsman homes were among the 75,000 home kits sold by Sears from 1908 to 1942, they aren’t all cookie-cutter. Nevertheless, there are common characteristics you can look for when trying to identify a Craftsman home. These include:

  • Covered or screened-in front porches
  • Sturdy, tapered columns supporting the roof
  • Deep, overhanging roof eaves with exposed braces and beams
  • Many single dormer windows, centered and very large and multi-pane windows encased in trim
  • Partial panes on doors with a glass lite found in the upper third of the door and some trim feature below
  • A natural color palette (e.g., “colors that look like they might have been pulled from natural dyes’)
  • Built-in cabinetry, nooks, window seats
  • Handcrafted stone and woodwork (especially at the fireplace, which was often a central feature)

Four styles of Craftsman home

Just when you thought it was clear how to describe a Craftsman home, we need to point out, there are several main styles of Craftsman house. The four key ones are:

  • Bungalows — This is the traditional Craftsman home, typically one or one-and-a-half stories, with a wide porch and sloping roof. Originated in California, the bungalows had an Asian influence (e.g., “the rooflines shed rain easily, but provide more height where snow and ice accumulation isn’t a concern.”)
  • Prairie Style — Often found in the Midwest, this style’s strong horizontal lines and low-slung profile are credited to Frank Lloyd Wright, who started out designing homes for Chicago’s suburbs. The “ground-hugging design is meant to mimic the endless flat plains of the open Prairie.”
  • Mission Revival — Popular in regions with Spanish history, these are inspired by the old Missions building you’ll find out west. Expect wide, open verandas and interior courtyards, and stucco exteriors. You might even see some Spanish-style arches, curved edges, terracotta roof,s and paver tiles.
  • Four Square — Also known as the “working man’s version of the Craftsman,” these are designed as a two-story box with four rooms on the first floor and four rooms on the second. They were popular in a construction surge following the Second World War with soldiers returning home to buy homes for their booming families. The homes also have the advantage of a smaller footprint, which let new homeowners buy property in their preferred neighborhoods.

Craftsman a contemporary favorite

We’ve come a ways from the Sears and Roebuck kits for Craftsman homes with up to 30,000 separate pieces shipped to the buyer by boxcar. Yet Craftsman-style homes remain popular across the United States. Even the original Craftsman houses are still widely sought after. Plus, architects and new home builders continue to crib core elements of the style for construction today.

Since 1989, Saussy Burbank has been embodying the Craftsman ethos in its new homes around the Carolinas. Building in Charlotte, NC and Charleston, SC, and Myrtle Beach, SC, our more than 8,000 homes and townhomes combine modern, open floor plans with the quality craftsmanship and architectural touches you’d associate with a Craftsman home.

From foundation to fixtures, Saussy Burbank is dedicated to style and detailed designs that reflect the rich architectural heritage of our region. View our gallery today!

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