Curb Appeal in California>Question Details

Trulia Roger, Home Buyer in Alameda, CA

What makes a Craftsman home a Craftsman?

Asked by Trulia Roger, Alameda, CA Tue Jun 26, 2007

I'd like to know what architectural details, etc. make a Craftsman home what it is.

Help the community by answering this question:


A true cra-ftsman home comes only from the design and plans from Gustav Stickley between 1858-1942 only a house originating from plans published by Stickley through his magazine The Craftsman can be a true Craftsman Home. He published descriptions and drawings of homes in this magazine beginning in 1901. In the January 1904 issue, he featured the first official Craftsman Home and announced that henceforth the magazine would feature at least one house a month, and subscribers could send away for a set of plans for one house from the series per year, free of charge.

The Craftsman plans offered the average American family a house that was a home, based on the bedrock virtues of beauty, simplicity, utility and organic harmony. Stickley believed that the "nesting instinct" was "the most deep seated impulse" of humankind. Stickley designed at least 241 plans for Craftsman homes. There are several time periods that different craftsman styles are noted for:
The Experimental period is 1900-1903;
The First Mission period, 1904-1907;
The Mature period, 1909-1915;
The Final Mission period, 1916.
Each of these time periods reflect different style renderings accordingly. We see alot of these homes with built in window seating, china cabinets, box beam ceilings, chunkier massive art nouveau influence, leaded glass, very arts and crafts. Many of the homes seen today exemplify heavy use of woods and architectural detail. The majority have a boxed effect and focus around a fireplace or inglenook. I have seen a great use of mission and art nouveau influence on the properties we observe in the Northwest. You might want to do a google search under "defining a craftsman style" and see what else you can learn as well as see different period examples. Hope this helps. Please visit the website below for more in depth information into Gustav Stickley and his original plans for Craftsman homes. You will see it was part of a marketing ploy to sell the whole package ie; furniture, accessories, and home as a larger luxurious product.
5 votes Thank Flag Link Tue Jun 26, 2007
A craftsman is characterized by low sloping roofs and is usually one story. Most craftsman style homes have deep porches with square pillars. There's an extensive use of wood throughout the home. The beams in most cases are exposed. Materials used are usually local.

Most living rooms that I've seen have a fireplace with arts & crafts built-ins flanking it. There's usually a built-in buffet on the other side of the living room.

Windows are large to let in light. Original craftsman homes are modest in size and are surrounded by gardens.

There are areas in Pasadena, California that have a lot of bungallows and/or craftsman homes. Specifically, Bungallow Heaven and Historic Highlands.

I'm attaching a link to one of the craftsman homes that I just sold so that you can have a visual.

2 votes Thank Flag Link Tue Jun 26, 2007
Craftsman homes have many distinct characteristics that make them identifiable. As stated below Gustav Stickley wast the furniture maker and designer that started the style. As for home architecture the Craftsman style is known by the following characteristics: Built-in cabinets, bookshelves, buffets often with leaded glass doors or cabinets, hardwood floors, wood bannisters and staricases, wood molding and chair rails, pocket doors, and more. The exterior consists of wood beams, strong angles and usually a wood post or stucco porch. Bernard Maybeck was one of the most significant craftsman architects in the Bay Area. Julia Morgan also used the Craftsman style in many of her homes. I have actually studied the Craftsman style seriously and have written papers about it. I would be more than happy to email you info and pics. I just sold two different craftsmans in Oakland one a block from Piedmont. Here is a video link so you can check the home out. Hope this helps. If you are at all interested in finding craftsman homes let me know. there are some beautiful Craftsman homes in Berkeley, Alameda, Oakland and Piedmont that I know of. Good Luck!

Tiffany Copland
Eco Broker & Realtor
Alain Pinel Realtors
Web Reference:
1 vote Thank Flag Link Tue Aug 28, 2007
A Craftsman home is referring to the style and charastics of the home. Very refined style such as mission style..."straight lines" tapering columns, wide base and casing moldings, double hung wood windows and usually lots of quarter sawn white oak trim and leaded glass windows, beveled glass doors, etc.Craftsman style homes are usually from the 1920's era and some builders are duplicating this style today as new construction.
1 vote Thank Flag Link Tue Jun 26, 2007
Based on Lara's answer, I would have been wrong. Thank you for the education.

For the layman, I'd just like to add that if you are searching the internet or for a home try using these terms as well: Mission, Arts & Crafts, Bungalow and Prairie. One good website is:…
And another is:
The definitions of these vary depending on the part of the country or how strict or loose the interpretation is. For example, I thought the house I bought was a bungalow until I started doing more research. I found out it is a Side Entrance Colonial. This is some of what I put together from my research:

The first American house to be called a bungalow was designed in 1879 by William Gibbons Preston. Built at Monument Beach on Cape Cod, Massachusetts, the two-story house had the informal air of resort architecture. However, this house was much larger and more elaborate than the homes we think of when we use the term Bungalow.

Bungalow defined by most dictionaries are explicit: a bungalow is a one or one-and-a-half story dwelling. Nevertheless, the period when most bungalows were constructed – roughly 1880 to 1930 in the United States – literally every type of house has at one time been called a bungalow. Two-story houses built on the grounds of hotels are still called bungalows, for example. And to further muddy the definition, the great Southern California architect Charles Sumner Greene went out of his way to call his Gamble house (1909) in Pasadena, Calif., a bungalow. Instead, the Gamble house is a sprawling two-story residence with a third-floor pool room.

In 1900, to usher in a new century, Americans were also creating new styles. Historians claim that only 10% of the homes built at the turn of the century used a combination of architectural styles. But the Sears homes in the early 1900s were "marketing something to the broad population," said Paul Lusignan, spokesman for the National Register of Historic Places. Their blueprints were hybrids of what was popular during the 32 years of the house by mail boom -- Craftsman-style bungalows, Dutch colonials, mansard roofs.

I hope that wasn't too boring.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Tue Aug 28, 2007
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