If you’ve ever watched an episode of House Hunters, you know that handmade houses have an appeal that many people find irresistible. Whether you are attracted by the beautiful veranda, the elegantly sloping roof line or such charming architectural details, one thing is certain: the popularity of this style is not going anywhere. However, have you ever wondered what makes a craftsman’s home so unique?
Here’s an in-depth look at what makes an artisan exactly that, including the story behind how and why this architectural movement came about. In addition, an overview of the various features that distinguish this style. Read them with an open mind, and by the time you’re done, you’ll be more in love with these houses than ever before.
History of the Artisan House
Believe it or not, the credit for this magnificent style of architecture goes to a British social movement of the after nineteenth century. At that time, Britain was experiencing an industrial revolution like no one had seen before. The contrarian Arts & Crafts movement, however, consisted of rejecting this new mass production style of construction in favor of handmade products made by artisans. Finally, at the beginning of the century, this movement made its way to America, defended by Gustav Stickley, founder and editor-in-chief of Craftsman magazine. His publication sold plans of houses designed in the Arts & Crafts style, with the intention of making “serious architecture” accessible to the masses.
Originally, the term “artisan” was reserved for houses built from one of Stickley’s plans. However, it has since evolved to cover a specific architectural style. Today, what we consider craft houses contain some common identification features, and yet, true to Stickley’s vision, each also contains unique details, making the house more functional for the owners.
Why are handmade houses so popular?
The popularity of the craftsman can be attributed to Stickley himself. It is believed that he was inspired by travels to Bangala, India, where he was first exposed to bungalow design. When he returned, he published an article about them in his magazine, and many American architects followed his example. For him, the beauty of these bungalows was in their simplicity. The Houses of the craftsmen were intended for the worker. While Victorian homes-another popular style of the time-were focused on aesthetics, Stickley sought a design that prioritized function.
The handmade bungalows are relatively modest. They are small and easy to maintain, which makes their design especially attractive for hardworking owners. Today, their popularity remains due to their functionality combined with an additional sense of charm.
Remember that most of the original bungalows were built by their owners, which means that no two are exactly alike. Most of them have unique details that are impossible to order today. With this, these houses have become an irreplaceable part of history.
Defining characteristics of craft houses
Although craft houses are known for their individuality, there are some structural and aesthetic details that bring them together. You can identify these houses by the following:
Details of the exterior:
- Low rooflines, usually made in a hip or facade (triangular) style
- Wide overhanging eaves
- Exposed rafters under the eves
- A covered veranda
- Pillars along the entrance
- Double-hung windows, which have separate panes at the top and bottom
- Single and excellent dormers
Details of the interior:
- Prominent fireplaces
- Corners and window seats
- Built-in storage
- Many natural materials, such as wood