Guest Author - Donna Coogan
Arts & Crafts style incorporates beauty, natural materials, and superior workmanship. If you share the Arts & Crafts aesthetic, then this could be the perfect style for your home.
Arts & Crafts style is also often called Craftsman, Mission or Bungalow style. It began in England and navigated to the United States from the late 1800s to the early 1900s. William Morris, an English designer, is considered the founders of the Arts and Crafts movement. Another famous designer of this period was Gustav Stickley, the creator of Stickley furniture.
While the Arts & Crafts style began in Europe, it took a different direction in America mostly due to two brothers named Charles Sumner Greene and Henry Mather Greene. They were architects whose work has been admired world-wide and are generally given credit for the gorgeous Arts & Crafts style in California often referred to as the California Bungalow.
What is most recognized about the Arts & Crafts style is its attention to fine workmanship. Both the interiors and exteriors of the original Craftsman style homes most notably included natural stone and wood. Typically standing 1-1/2 stories tall, a Craftsman home or Bungalow had a board and shingle exterior. Roofs were low pitched with deep eaves and long exposed rafters. Porches were wide with stone columns. Fireplaces and foundations were also made of stone. Large multi-paned windows allowed the sunshine in and provided a view to the natural outdoors. Many Craftsman style homes included at least one dormer.
Interiors showcased more skilled workmanship. You could expect to find built in benches, bookcases enclosed with leaded glass doors and solid wood kitchen cabinets. Floors were made of stone, tile or wood. Rooms were often wrapped in beautiful wainscoting with exposed ceiling beams. The floorplan was usually open with half-walls and interior columns that mimicked those on the porches. With a nod to the exterior stone chimney, a wide stone fireplace was typically found in one of the main living areas.
The original colors of Arts & Crafts style included muted grays, blues, greens, reds, oranges and browns. Such colors are often found in nature and work well against the backdrop of stone and wood, but itís perfectly fine to go with richer tones.
Craftsman style furniture ranged from simple rectangular pieces to those with a more medieval influence and was beautiful in both form and function. Stickley furniture and other Mission or Shaker styles are examples of furniture from the Arts & Craft movement. Home accents might include items made from copper, iron and stained glass.
Today there are many builders and designers who specialize in restoring the original Craftsman style homes or building new ones with updated features without sacrificing the beauty and integrity of the Arts & Crafts period. If you live in such a home, then no doubt you want your decor to enhance its features.
When decorating in the Arts & Crafts style, you will find that while the original Stickley and Mission style furniture are rare collectibles today, there are affordable reproductions. Leather furniture or simply designed upholstered pieces in muted colors and natural fabrics would also work well with this style.
Accent your rooms with Tiffany lamps, stained glass wall hangings, copper pots and tiled pottery. You might also include your own original art pieces to decorate your home or quality pieces by local artists. Adorn wooden floors with hand woven area rugs or pretty painted floorcloths and enhance sofas and chairs with soft throws. Be sure to include natural elements like flowers and potted plants. If you live near the water, you might want to consider some coastal accents like seashells. Keep the windows bare or dressed with simple treatments that donít distract from the view (if you have one) or the architectural details of your Craftsman home.
If you donít live in a Craftsman style home, but love the look and feel of the Arts & Crafts period, then follow the above suggestions to begin decorating your home. To save money while shopping for this style check out yard sales, antique shops, newspaper listings and auctions for one-of-a-kind finds.