The Craftsman style bungalow has been and continues to be one of the most popular styles for detached housing in the United States. Sizes vary as do the exteriors, but this much loved style has survived the decades.
Before we get into the nuts and bolts of the Craftsman home, or the Craftsman style home, or the Craftsman bungalow, or as some refer to the style —the Arts and Crafts style — let’s take a look at where we can find this style in our individual towns. For the earliest style of the Craftsman most of us can find these homes in older neighborhoods in our cities and towns.
Characteristics of the Craftsman Style Bungalow
- typically one story, or in some cases one and a half stories,
- relatively low pitched roof,
- many of the older bungalows have front porches suitable for sitting in the afternoons,
- square or tapered columns on the front porch,
- original windows were half panes rather than the large solid glass of the previous era.
- often two or more exterior finishes, such as stone with wood, or cedar singles with brick, etc.
- front entry doors often had window panes in the top quarter and were solid from there down,
- originally most were painted in earth tones,
- and, most often the rafters are exposed (see picture above)
That gives a pretty good idea of the typical Craftsman style.
West Coast or East Coast Craftsman Style?
Although many of us along the east coast think of this style as ours because there are so many of these bungalows crowding our in-town neighborhoods, the style is debated as a west coast style. Perhaps! The Greene brothers, Charles and Henry, who were architects in Pasadena, CA, at the turn of the 20th century are said to have created the style in order for craftsmen to have work.
The west coast version of the bungalow, in my opinion, shows much more oriental influence than the homes most of us are familiar with.
That said, Gustav Stickley and his brothers (of Stickley furniture fame) are credited most often with the term “Craftsman” and the home design, especially along the east coast. In fact, Stickley published as magazine name “The Craftsman” which promoted the style.
So, many of this style were built just prior to the Depression between the early 1900’s and 1920. Most were small homes with two bedrooms and a single bathroom. Leading up to WWII and beyond until the early 1950’s, the Craftsman style predominated.
The Craftsman is undoubtedly one of my favorite styles. I have never had as much fun decorating and transforming a house into a cozy home!
Why Consider an Older Craftsman Style Bungalow
Many of the older Craftsman bungalows are still standing with the pride of craftsmanship.
- These houses were well built.
- These bungalows are quite affordable for the young couple or for the older couple downsizing. Of course, this is a conditional statement. Many neighborhoods are going through a revival and renovation. An area that was once run down can be turned into a charming and safe neighborhood if only a few people take the initiative. Buy when the neighborhood is just starting a renaissance, not when the neighborhood has been redeveloped.
- The rooms are mostly of a comfortable size and have a few more closets than earlier homes.
- Most of the bungalows are built on lots that allow room for kids to play without being too large for upkeep.
- Remodeling an older Craftsman style bungalow can be fun and profitable. However, a complete renovation can become costly in no time at all.
- Many have hard wood floors and that is a plus in anyone’s book.
What to Consider Before Buying an Older Bungalow
As with any home purchase, if you are interested enough to consider making an offer, have a reliable construction company go over it from attic to basement (if it has one).
This goes for all homes that are re-sales. Do not rely on a home inspection. If the owner offers to pay for it, fine. Take it. But, with that in mind and the report in hand, go with your own representative and thoroughly examine the house.
I will cover more in an additional article, but here is the one thing to always keep in mind. Buying a house is exciting for any of us. BUT, there is always another house. Do not settle for more work in the future than you are prepared to do or want to do or can afford to do.