During the 1800s, John Ruskin, William Morris and Philip Webb were leaders in the Arts & Crafts Movement. This movement celebrated handicrafts, simple forms and natural materials. With the Victorian Era coming to an end, Arts & Crafts encouraged more modest homes appealing to the middle class.
The name “Craftsman” comes from the title of a popular magazine published by the famous furniture designer, Gustav Stickley, between 1901 and 1916. A true Craftsman house is one that is built according to plans published in Stickley’s magazine. But other magazines, pattern books, and mail order catalogues 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 extremely popular Bungalow.
A Craftsman house is often a Bungalow, but many other styles can have Arts and Crafts, or Craftsman features such as:
- Wood, stone, or stucco siding
- Low-pitched roof
- Ceilings somewhat lowered
- 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
The middle-class housewife of the era would not have domestic servants (at least not live-in ones) and would be doing much of the housework herself, as well as watching the children. These added roles made it important that the kitchen be integrated into the main house with easy sight lines to the common areas of the main floor (the dining and living rooms) as well as to the back yard. Commonly, the butler’s pantry of the Victorian Era was replaced with dining room cabinetry that often consisted of “built-ins”.
Another common design development arising from the class-shift of the time was the built-in “breakfast nook”. The Victorian kitchen of the previous era was separated from the family. It typically had a work table (with a similar purpose of a countertop) where servants would eat after the family meal was served and the kitchen tidied. The Victorian kitchen had no “proper” place for a family member to sit, eat, or do anything else. Again, as the housewife of the Craftsman era was now preparing the family meals, the Victorian kitchen gave way to the kitchen being the heart of the family’s daily life. The breakfast nook provided a place for the family to gather at any time of the day or evening, particularly while food was being prepared.