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Inspired Style: The Craftsman

Design Trends

Craftsman-style architecture in the United States dates back to the early 1900s and came about as an outgrowth of the English Arts and Crafts movement. Stressing the importance of simplicity, function and craftsmanship as well as blending into the natural landscape surrounding the building, the Craftsman home became the embodiment of a new of architecture, eschewing the Victorian Era architecture and machine-made production.

The name “Craftsman" derived from the title of a magazine published by furniture designer Gustav Stickley between 1901 and 1916. If a house was built using the actual plans published in Stickley's magazine, it was considered a true Craftsman home. However, other magazines, pattern books and mail-order house catalogues began publishing home plans with Craftsman-like details and soon the word “Craftsman" began to mean any home that expressed the ideals of the Arts and Crafts movement, even the ever-popular Bungalow.

Specifically, the term American Craftsman or Craftsman style are used to note the architecture, interior design and decorative arts that were widespread between the Art Nouveau and Art Deco periods, roughly 1910 to 1925.

Typical Craftsman-style Features
The design elements of today's Craftsman-style homes blend influences of the Arts and Crafts movement as well as Mission, Prairie and California Bungalow styles of homebuilding. Some Craftsman-style homes even have Asian- or Swiss-inspired influences.

Common characteristics include:

  • Wood, stone or stucco siding
  • Historic building materials include clapboard, shingle, stone, brick and clinker brick
  • Low-pitched roofline
  • Wide eaves with triangular brackets
  • Exposed roof rafters
  • Porches with thick square or round columns
  • Stone porch supports
  • Exterior chimneys made of stone
  • Open floor plans, few hallways
  • Numerous windows, some with stained or leaded glass
  • Beamed ceilings
  • Dark wood wainscot and moldings
  • Built-in cabinets, shelves and seating

Examples of Craftsman architecture include:

  • The Gamble House by Greene & Greene Architecture, 1908, Pasadena, CA
  • Frederick C Grable House, Frederick C Grable and Clarence Austin, 1907, Pasadena, CA

Painting Tips for Craftsman-style Homes:

  • The autumn color palette was extremely popular as a source of color inspiration for Arts and Crafts era homes as this was keeping in line with the Arts & Crafts philosophy on color use.
  • What color is the roof? Typical Craftsman roof colors are natural brown, green and red.
    • With a brown roof, ideas for traditional body colors are olive, dark green and russet or the lighter bungalow colors of the 1920s such as yellow, orange and sage green.
    • With a green roof, work with brown, yellow and red body colors, both light and dark.
    • With a red roof, consider browns, greens, yellows, tans and olives as well as blue-greens, grays and whites.
  • Accent and trim colors
    • Most Craftsman-style homes have little architectural detail
    • A typical building in the Arts & Crafts era had one major trim color, sometimes a minor trim color and one or two accent colors
    • Try for contrast in trim color
    • Using dark colors for the body and trim diminishes the overall effect. Try a medium contrast color combination, not extreme, as these homes are known for softer colors.
  • Doors
    • Most Craftsman-era homes have two or three doors. The main entry door or front door was often stained. Good modern choices for the front door are medium brown or another accent color in the palette. Don't paint these doors hunter green or burgundy as typical in other styles of subdivision homes, as these colors are inappropriate for the Craftsman-era front door.
  • Windows
    • Generally, the window sash has been painted differently than the window trim.
  • Eaves
    • Most Craftsman-style eaves were painted the trim color to help outline the building.
  • Front porches
    • The porch typically has its colors pulled from the rest of the overall color scheme.
      • Columns are often painted a lighter tone.
      • Railings and spindles can either be painted in a single color, the trim color or two colors. When painting with two colors, the railings are typically painted the darker color.
      • Ceilings are painted off-white to reflect the light downward, or finished in the darker paint color or stain.
      • Floors on porches are typically painted in dark grays, reds, browns and greens.

Craftsman Color Schemes

The Craftsman-style color schemes are based on nature and the surrounding environment. Many of the color cues are taken from fall foliage and landscapes, creating lush and saturated, yet natural color schemes for the home. Here are 18 Craftsman-inspired color schemes in order of body color, trim, window sash and accents.

DE6263 Pistachio Shell

DEC786 Miner's Dust

DE6021 Outer Boundary

DE6277 Pebble Walk

DE5209 Cinnabar

DEW340 Whisper

DE6132 Big Stone Beach

DEC718 Mesa Tan

DE6287 Italian Basil

DEC754 Quicksand

DE6028 Dark Ruby

DE6208 Tuscan Mosaic

DE6096 Homestead

DE6249 Trinity Islands

DE6072 Gallery Gray

DEA187 Black

DEC702 Antique Rose

DEW311 French White

DE6216 Barrel Stove

DE6152 Maple View

DE6137 Tan Plan

DEC772 Navajo White

DEA158 Northern Territory

DE6229 Calico Rock

DEC728 Madera

DEC735 Flaxen

DE6357 Black Tie

DE6076 Wandering Road

DE6299 Limerick

DEW330 Snug Cottage

DEC705 Burnt Crimson

DE5331 Pasta

DEW351 Antique White

DE6194 Natural Bridge

DEA160 Hope Chest

DE6278 Stone Creek

DEC743 High Noon

DE6145 Rocky Ridge

DEA175 Black Forest

DEW318 Cottage White

DE6209 Rock'n'Oak

DE5359 Crossroads

DE6156 Marble Dust

DEA149 Spiced Berry

DEC728 Madera

DE6277 Pebble Walk

DE6083 Badlands Sunset

DEC763 Oatmeal Cookie

DE6228 Play on Gray

DE6075 Wood Lake

DE6224 Treasure Chest

DEC768 Winter Lite

DE6130 Wooded Acre

DEC772 Navajo White

DE6280 English Forest

DE6262 Glass Tile

DE5300 Burmese Tan

DE6293 Velvet Clover

DEA159 Rich Mochas

DEC736 Flaxseed

DE6223 Mission Trail

DE6173 Paper Sack

DE6350 Dark Engine

DEA148 Sunken Ship

DEC750 Bison Beige

DEC755 Cocoa

DE6056 Buffalo Herd

DEC742 Cameo

DEC771 Shaggy Barked

DE6306 Armor

DEC756 Weathered Brown

DEW328 Pearl White

All images by Dunn-Edwards and Getty Images