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5 Amazing Things You Didn't Know About Craftsman House Plans

What is a craftsman house plan anyway? Why is it so deeply embedded in our history, and even the way we look at homes today?

Most of all, why are craftsman houses so cherished, what makes people build their lifestyle around this theme, and most importantly how does this pertain to you and your potential house plans selection?

Lets explore some of these answers together.

If you are looking for an authentic American flavored house, craftsman house plans are what you should be looking at.

These plans focus on the external as well as internal beauty of the house. A craftsman house although looks rustic and rough but is highly charming and luxurious is appearance.

A few characteristics common to all the craftsman house plans include:

1. Low-pitched gable roofs

2. Wide overhangs

3. Exposed rafters

4. Well-built porches

5. Clad exteriors

Other than being luxuriously built, craftsman homes make efficient use of the space and resources available and due to the nature of building material, blend in the natural surrounding very easily.

History of Craftsman House Plans

The history behind these beautiful houses dates back to 18th century when a few big British architects and creative minds gathered together and protested against the industrial revolution going on in Great Britain.

They alleged the revolution of stealing the individual essence and effort from the products and making art commercial.

These revolutionary thoughts soon spread to America where crafts had just begun to flourish. The American version of revolution was also in lines with the British philosophy and thought process and encouraged originality, individualism, style of craft and simplicity.

However, there was one thing that made the American craft revolutions different from the British one – the Craftsman Bungalow style.

While British wanted authenticity in everything, America wanted to build homes to house the fast populating American middle class which wanted luxury within budget.

It was at this time that craftsman house plans came into existence.

The primary reason behind the birth of craftsman house plans and their promotion at this time in history was the fact that architecture was considered to be a very personal thing.

It not only involved a huge sum of money but it also involved emotions and feelings of an individual buying it. Thus, craftsman house plans were like the epitome of creativity and craftsmanship that one simply could not ignore when crafts and style are being promoted in a materialistic world.

By the year 1900, spreading craftsmanship and individualism was the agenda of many big craftsmen of the country.

The facts that a society was setup to promote craftsmanship is the evidence that how much effort was being put into making individualism a key ingredient of the American crafts and style history. Over the next few years, crafts evolved.

Every industry that involved crafts and style like pottery, handicraft, carpets, and graphics evolved and boomed. Between all these industries, architecture was the most influential and the important one.

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The Architecture

Architecture like any other creative industry of the 19th century involved the usage of locally available raw materials like wood, glass, stone and metal.

The focus on using these things was to make something that will not only be considered as artistic but also original in all sense. Initially the craftsman house plans were designed for the rich.

The homes of the rich were usually big and comprised of two stories.

The hip roof used to be hidden behind two-storied bays, with a creative gable incorporating many assortments, round or octagonal turrets and wraparound porches which gave a complex but impressive look to the front of the house.

The kitchens and pantries were usually in the stairwell and the second floor housed the in-house servants.

The second story was not as luxuriously built as the first one. In fact the second story had smaller rooms, lower roofs and minimum ornamentation. Another significant feature of these craftsman house plans were the back area or the rear wing which had their own independent entrance and was used to leisure activities and creating a small personal garden.

With the passage of time, a lot of changes were made to the craftsman house plans.

All these changes were aimed at reducing the expense of craftsman style homes and making them available to the growing middle class. Architects worked on many different styles of craftsman house plans and finally reached to the style which roughly matches the modern day craftsman bungalow house plans and was fit for the middle class American family.

The bays were now smaller, turrets removed, rear wing gone and roofs lowered. The wife in the middle class was mostly involved in the household work and looking after the children and hence the need of a household help or a servant was no longer there.

As a result, the second story was removed in some craftsman house plans while in others; they were made a little more luxurious and spacious.

Another important feature was a dedicated area for the kitchen ensuring the visibility of living and dining room right from the kitchen itself. In fact the kitchen went many more changes like a small sitting area where the housewife could sit and rest while preparing food and a breakfast nook under a window where the family could gather for morning breakfast or evening snacks and have a light hearted chat.

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Features of Best Craftsman House Plans

One thing that might be popping up in your head right now is – what is so crafty about these house plans? Why are they called craftsman house plans? Here are a few reasons:

1. A gabled and low-pitched roof

Craftsman Homes get their low hung roofs from the oriental history of these house plans. The roofs are usually wide, unenclosed and full of hanging decorative ornaments.

The low roofs are good for places where snow and ice does not accumulate. However, these kind of roofs require regular maintenance leaves and dirt accumulate quite easily.

2. A Front Porch

Craftsman house plans usually have a front porch which is nothing less than impressive. They usually cover the complete path to door and entryway. The porches are either full or cover at least the main entrance of the house.

These are a great investment because of two reasons:

1. They increase the living area of a small house.

2. They are great for spending the evenings with the family or your loved one while sipping tea and watching the children play in the garden.

3. Crafted Columns

The columns are an important part of the exteriors of craftsman house plans. They are built to support the porch roof and are beautifully shaped.

While most of the craftsman house plans come with a tapered column style, there are a few craftsman bungalow house plans that have different shapes and styles of columns. Another popular version of the column is that of parallel double columns.

4. Partially Paned Doors

The doors are of a craftsman home is usually divided into 2 parts. The top one-third part of the door usually has a glass panes followed by a thick piece of trim while the rest of the door is plane paneled wood.

When it comes to choosing a door for your new craftsman style house, there are a lot of designs and styles available. While most of them are pretty simple, there are a few that have cravings and designs. Ensure that the color of the door goes with the style and feel of the porch and other ornamentation.

5. Paned Windows

Like paned doors, the windows of a craftsman home are paned. Usually the windows have 2 panes where the top pane has more panes and the bottom pane is plane glass. The top pane traditionally has 4 or 6 panes and depends upon the taste of the home buyer.

Also, the windows are wide and grouped together and cased in a wide trim.

6. Soothing Colors

Craftsman house plans are built in a way that it blends in its natural surroundings without a problem. This is achieved mostly by choosing the soothing shades of brown and green to color the exteriors of the house.

However, a few contrasting colors, mostly limited to two are also used alongside these earthly colors to give craftsman house plans a modern feel.

7. Stone Details

Another important feature of craftsman house plans is the building material used which is mostly earthy and natural.

The sidings are usually made out wood but the façade and porch is usually made up of stone. That being said, Bricks and Concrete are also used to give strength to the structure.

Styles of Arts and Crafts Homes

There are 4 different kinds of craftsman house plans that match with each other up to an extent and still differ a lot. The differences are subtle but important from historic and cultural point of view.

Here is a brief description of all 4.

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1. Bungalow

These are the traditional style of craftsman house plans.

They feature a low, broad roof with either single or double front dormers. The porch is prominently wide and mostly supported by masonry or wood piers. The windows are paned with upper pane having 4 or 6 panes and are traditionally called craftsman window.

Most of the style of a bungalow is influenced from the Bengal region of India. The Bangla style travelled from India to Britain with the English officers ruling over Bengal at that time and from there it travelled to America with the onset of art and craft revolution.

2. Prairie

These styles of craftsman house plans have multiple stories with exterior depicting the flatness of the prairie and the Midwest.

These homes are totally different from the typical Victorian design. The Victorian design has vertical, narrow and closed in-rooms while the Prairie style has low, horizontal and large open spaces.

Other important features of a Prairie style are glass panels, low cabinets, minimum walls and natural open flow of air.

3. Mission Revival

This style is closest related to the Prairie style and inspired by the adobe structure of Southwest.

Like the Prairie style, Mission Revival craftsman house plans also have low, horizontal lines and large open interior spaces but their exteriors are different from that of Prairie style. The exteriors of this style are asymmetrical and covered with thick stucco and minimum ornamentation made from stone and tile.

What make Mission homes different from the other styles are interior courtyards, extended roofs and deep-set porches.

4. 4 Squares

This is the least popular style of craftsman home.

The home is inspired by the traditional bungalow style of craftsman home but includes a second story which somewhat makes the house a little less impressive.

However, these styles of craftsman house plans were the ones that were capable of fulfilling the demand of growing families of the late 19th century and hence they are an important part of history.

Things to Consider Before Buying a Craftsman Home

Most of the houses built as a craftsman house are old or renovated and may have weakened bones or antiquated electrical systems. Building a new craftsman style house is within your families site, and specification is the way to go.

1. Keep it natural. Craftsman style homes are best known for their intrinsic ability to showcase natures materials while sculpting living space. Some of the warmest environments involve the use of natural woods, and stones.

While nature finishes on any house can get pricey really quick, these days there are multiple alternatives that can achieve the same look, for fractions of the price.

2. Keep it simple. Craftsman homes, especially in the earlier days, were limited to structural spans and shapes that the material can provide to them.

So it was rare to see curves or awkward angles in these homes. Using orthogonal design methods helps you obtain the most out of the footprint of the house, and speaks to the material capacity.

3. Encourage the nature around nature. Craftsman homes, at least at its origin, were designed to use the best of what nature could provide since they did not have a/c back in the days.

Craftsman homes should be built to capture open breezes, outside covered porches, and beautiful exposed high ceilings to allow the heat to escape.

These homes are an important part of the American architectural history. They represent an era of revolution and efforts of thousands of craftsmen who fought for individualism.

Consider yourself lucky if you have an opportunity to design your home per the craftsman house plans style.

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Continue reading about Craftsman House Plans, and other top styles by visiting our Style Selection Page or learn more about our previous projects, inspirations and highly affordable packages at our Home Page.

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