Craftsman Style

modern Arts and crafts in the prairie.


Craftsman Style (1905-1930) is the first step toward the modern Ranch home in several senses. The house layout emphasizes the horizontal rather than multiple stories, and the philosophy is very middle class in a contemporary sense without space for maids and servants. The “man” of the house still had the library, but the “women’s” work space became more functional, and the fireplace or the hearth became the family centre to a degree that was almost mythical.

The Craftsman bungalow is typically one to one-and-a-half stories, with a long sloping roof line and a wide, sheltering overhang that makes the house appear to nestle into the earth. This tie to the earth is often exaggerated by using a foundation and porch pillars that broaden at the base. The porch is wide enough to feel like an outside room. The woodwork is still heavy and dark, but is usually square or simple rather than ornately built-up in layers or with gingerbread and spindles as in Victorian times. High style and less derivative versions of the Bungalow often have beamed ceilings, oak wainscoting in the dining room, built-in buffets with band wrought iron or dark-painted brass hardware, “cozy” yellow lanterns hanging from the ceiling wood work or as scones on the porch or hallway halls.

Since the fireplace and hearth were so important as the center of the home and family, it received special attention. Made of brick, tile or rustic river stone the fireplace was often framed by symmetric bookshelves or even benches to create a cozy inglenook.

Arts and Crafts, or Craftsman houses have many of these features:

  • Open floor plans; few hallways.

  • Numerous windows.

  • Some windows with stained or leaded glass.

  • Beamed ceilings.

  • Dark wood wainscoting and mouldings.

  • Built-in cabinets, shelves, and seating.

  • Entrance at human scale.

  • Wood, stone, or stucco siding.

  • Low-pitched roof.

  • Wide eaves with triangular brackets.

  • Exposed roof rafters.

  • Porch with thick square or round columns.

  • Stone porch supports.

  • Exterior chimney made with stone.