Have you been on neighborhood walks and stumbled upon craftsman-style bungalows and just loved the way they looked? There are plenty of beautiful craftsman-style homes in the greater DC region for sale, especially in Takoma Park, Silver Spring, Chevy Chase and Bethesda. Below, I have featured arts and crafts homes in Maryland that I think are good representations of this era, as well as a history and description of the Craftsman movement. If you feel that this is the house style for you, don’t hesitate to contact me, and I can send you a complete list of all arts and crafts or bungalow houses in the Washington area. I would love to be able to help you find the house of your dreams.
Arts and Crafts History
During the 1880s, William Morris and other English designers and thinkers launched the Arts and Crafts Movement, which celebrated handicrafts and encouraged the use of simple forms and natural materials. In the United States, architects began to design houses that combined Arts and Crafts ideas with a fascination for the simple wooden architecture of the Far East.
Here, in the US, Craftsman style is often used to describe the style of architecture, interior design, and decorative arts that existed between the Art Nouveau and Art Deco periods, or roughly from 1910 to 1925, where it took on a different flavor than in Europe. While the Europeans tried to recreate the virtuous world of craft labor that was being destroyed by the industrialization, the Americans thought that the simple but refined aesthetics of Arts and Crafts decorative arts would add refinement to the new experience of industrial consumerism.
The name “Craftsman” comes from the title of a popular magazine published by the famous furniture designer, Gustav Stickley, published between 1901 and 1916.
A true Craftsman house is one that is built according to plans published in Stickley’s magazine. But other magazines and mail order house catalogs began to publish plans for houses with Craftsman-like details. Soon the word “Craftsman” came to mean any house that expressed Arts and Crafts ideals, most especially the simple, economical, and yet extremely popular Bungalow.
- Western Stick
Bungalows, the most famous style of the period, were modeled after the small, open, airy houses built by the British in colonial India during the late 1800’s, and were the inspiration behind the modern ranch house (invented, or at least refined and made popular, by Frank Lloyd Wright in the 1940’s). The British designed the bungalow as a low, one-story cottage that was open to allow air to circulate freely and dispel the heat. As such, it was the perfect design for California. It was not, however, the perfect design for the bitter cold winters of New England.
Although you can find bungalows across America, other house styles were designed to better reflect the climate and environment they were in. In the Midwest, Frank Lloyd Wright invented the Prairie style. Although this style featured two or more stories, its use of straight, horizontal lines gives one the impression of a low, flat house that mimics the flatness of the plains and prairies of the Midwest.
Further east, cold weather and hilly terrain made the bungalow less practical and the prairie homes less popular. Many areas of the eastern United States were already populated with Victorian houses and farmsteads that were built with the climate in mind. However, Gustav Stickley (living outside of Syracuse, NY), found new ways to feature the Arts and Crafts elements with house plans based on existing Four Square, Colonial, Cottage and Stick styles.
Mission Style homes were inspired by the adobe/pueblo structures built in the southwestern U.S. by Spanish missionaries. They were not truly considered part of the Arts and Crafts movement, but their popularity in some parts of the western U.S. deserves mentioning because Mission architecture followed the ideals of the Arts and Crafts movement by being made of natural, indigenous materials and fit the character of the environment very well.
Arts and Crafts, or Craftsman, houses have many of these features:
- 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
- Open floor plans; few hallways
- Numerous windows
- Some windows with stained or leaded glass
- Beamed ceilings
- Dark wood wainscoting and moldings
- Built-in cabinets, shelves, and seating
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