What is Craftsman Architecture and Why Is It So Popular?

To understand American Craftsman-style architecture, you need to begin with the British Arts and Crafts movement that emerged in the mid-1800s. The movement was a rebellion against machine-made, mass-produced goods, and emphasized craftsmanship, creative expression, and the use of natural materials found locally.

A Craftsman home is carefully constructed, open and uses space economically. The home’s simple, elegant design means it’s less likely to look dated.

“Craftsman homes have a high quality of design and craftsmanship, so they hold their value,” explains David Jensen, an architect from Long Beach, Wash. “They are like the Rolls Royce, or the Robert Redford, of the architecture world.”

Here are the Key Elements:

  • Built of natural materials like real wood, stone and brick.
  • Built-ins are the hallmark feature of the Arts and Crafts era. For example, built-in cabinets allowed the furnishings to be part of the architecture, ensuring design unity and economic use of space.
  • Most homes feature a dominant fireplace in the living room and a large exterior chimney.
  • The majority have porches with thick square or round columns and stone porch supports.
  • These homes typically have a low roof with wide eaves and triangular brackets.
  • The beams on the porch and inside the house are often exposed.
  • Since the Arts and Crafts Movement rejected small, boxy rooms like those in Victorian houses, floor plans are open.

Patriots Landing has some of the best examples of new Craftsman-style homes in Richmond.