What Is a Craftsman-Style House?

Andy Sparhawk
Written by Andy Sparhawk
Updated June 17, 2021
Craftsman-style house with yellow exterior paint and white accents
irina88w/iStock/Getty Images Plus/Getty Images

A craftsman-style house is an American style of architecture known for simple, functional design

Get quotes from up to 3 pros!
Enter a zip below and get matched to top-rated pros near you.

An American Craftsman-style house is an architectural style of homes built in the U.S. during the early part of the 20th century, from 1905 through the 1920s and ’30s. The type is an offshoot of the 19th century British Arts and Crafts movement, which responded to the era’s prevailing architectural style and socio-economic norms. 

Proponents of the movement believed the industrial revolution was responsible for a decrease in the creation of quality goods. 

Craftsman style can also credit bungalow-style housing in India as a source of inspiration.

American craftsman homes are known for their simple, functional design. The craftsman house continues to be popular to this day and stands as one of the classic American home styles.

Craftsman Champions

With its roots in the British Arts and Crafts movement’s ideals and inspiration from the bungalows of India, Craftsman homes gained popularity stateside from influential supporters. The houses were designed for middle-class American families, offering functional spaces centered around a family room and fireplace.

Gustav Stickley

Syracuse, New York furniture designer Gustav Stickley was the most ardent champion of the bungalow style in the U.S, and, inspired by the Arts and Crafts movement philosophy, he helped introduce its ideals. He published a magazine called “The Craftsman,” which promoted the patterns and styles of the movement and became the style's namesake.

The Crafts movement is apparent in Stickley furniture designs. His work was handmade, rejecting the convenience of machines in a statement against the Industrial Revolution. 

Stickley's magazine helped spread the style throughout the country, selling patterns and designs for Americans to build.

Greene and Greene

With designs featured in Stickley's magazine, Greene and Greene, a company founded by brothers Charles Sumner Greene and Henry Mather Greene, was a driving force of California's Craftsman ideas and design. Their large bungalow houses exemplified the American Arts and Crafts movement, mirroring the functional, secure designs of Stickley's blueprints.

Craftsman Style Features

Craftsman-style homes bucked the era’s decorative and eclectic Victorian style. Instead, the Craftsman celebrated clean lines and natural materials—a night-and-day contrast to the excess of Victorian decoration. Craftsman homes share several distinctive features that made it a popular style for middle-class Americans in the early 20th century.

Front Porch

Craftsman homes greet you with a full- or partial-length gabled porch held up by sturdy (but decorative!) columns. These square columns are often tapered, wider at the bottom, and thinner where they meet the roof.

Low Pitched Roofs

Craftsman-style roofs are low-pitched. While commonly gabled, sometimes the roof is in the hip style, meaning a roof that slopes on all four sides. Each side comes together at the top of the roof to form a ridge. The tops have extended, overhanging eaves and exposed rafters.

Double-Hung Windows

Homes built in the Craftsman style feature numerous vertical, double-hung windows. These windows can be raised or lowered from top or bottom with window sashes that also tilt for efficient ventilation. In addition, Craftsmans commonly include a single dormer with the same style window.

Open Interiors

The living room is the center of the Craftsman and usually features a fireplace. Throughout the house, rooms connect without hallways. Window seats complement the windows (and provide can’t-beat reading nooks), and the ceilings have exposed beams.

Hand-Crafted Detail Work

Craftsmans embrace various natural colors and materials, incorporating them into the hand-crafted design and detail work. Common features of a craftsman home include:

Interior

  • Architecture’s Wood casing around windows

  • Built-in cabinetry

  • Wood paneling

  • Exposed beams

  • Stained glass windows

Exterior

  • Large, covered porch

  • Tapered, cobblestone supports

  • Extended eaves

  • Single dormer window

Craftsman-style house with an open porch layout
Joe Schmelzer/Corbis Documentary/Getty Images

Craftsman Style House Sub-Types

Bungalow homes that Stickley was said to have experienced in India inspired the traditional Craftsman style. One- to two-story bungalow exteriors featured low sloping roofs, eaves with enclosed rafters, and other common characteristics of the Craftsman style. As the popularity of the Craftsman style spread, different sub-categories developed throughout the U.S.

Cottage Style

Cottage-style homes are one-story, compacted versions of a bungalow. Windows sit on each side of a partial-length, single gabled roof. Cottage styles are symmetrical with wood or stucco siding and other stylistic Craftsman details, such as extended eaves.

Clipped Gable

Clipped gable Craftsman houses lack the roof’s characteristic gable ends. Often, the single-storied, clipped top will also have a single dormer window in the gabled, hipped, or eyebrow style.

Colonial Craftsman

A Craftsman-style house with a colonial-style trellis front porch balances these two popular house styles, creating a brand-new look.

Aeroplane Craftsman

Wide, overhanging eaves give this house the appearance of an airplane.

Eclectic-Influenced Craftsman

Internationally influenced Craftsman homes showcasing the bungalow-style houses with detailed work influenced by Swiss chalets, Asian temples, and beyond.

Multi-Family

While most Craftsman-style bungalows are single-family homes, this is a multi-unit version. The bungalow court is a U-shaped, two-story example. It is a multi-family unit of houses that share a private garden or courtyard.

Craftsman Houses Today

An embrace of natural lines, materials, and colors—along with so many other charms—of the Craftsman-style house led to an enduring and popular legacy. Given the ideals of simplicity and functionality, the house type exists in various sizes and price points. The design is also a common renovation style. For instance, adding a gabled porch to a ranch-style house can add to the house’s curb appeal.

Given the Craftsman’s popularity, it's essential to keep them looking their best and be aware of some upgrades and maintenance considerations that go with owning a Craftsman-style house.

Low Pitch Roofs

In cool climates, low pitch roofs can present challenges with ice dams. Ice dams occur when the snow melts and refreezes in low roof areas, allowing ice to build up and cause damage. Be sure to identify potential ice dam spots and work to discourage snow from collecting.

Basement Finishing or Repair

Basement remodeling can be an attractive project in craftsman houses. In addition to upgrading an unfinished basement, structural projects including repairing foundations or replacing basement support beams are essential to prolonging these charming homes' lives.

Privacy Fence

Capturing the functionality of the style along with a charmingly detailed aesthetic, homeowners may choose to install a privacy fence in the Craftsman style.

Dormer Additions

A single dormer is a key characteristic of the Craftsman style. Like gabled roofs, dormers are popular additions to consider to capture the distinctive craftsman style.

Need professional help with your project?
Get quotes from top-rated pros.