Five Ways To Bring An Old Craftsman Style Into Your New-Construction Home

The Craftsman era, popular during the 1920s and 1930s, was one that celebrated earth tones, vibrant wood finishes, and symmetrical design. Pillars, beautiful mantles, oak floors, and sturdy staircases with wooden wainscoting are hallmarks of the original Craftsman style. If you have a newly built home, you might be looking for ways to bring in the unique Craftsman details that you love. Here are some key design aspects to focus on when transforming your home to incorporate the arts-and-crafts designs of yesteryear. 

1. Focus on the fireplace.

If you already have a fireplace in your home, then you can hail back to Craftsman designs with custom finishes. Instead of choosing subway tiles or the sleek glass mosaic tiles that are popular in modern designs, choose ceramic tiles or bricks as your fireplace face. Common tile colors includes deep greens, glazed blues, gold or mustard yellow, brown, or bronze. These flat finish tiles should have a patina or cracked finish for maximum authenticity. Frequently, copper tiles with raised relief designs were set into the fireplace face with the bricks and other tiles framing them. Tiles often had inlaid designs, like flowers or geometric shapes. Also, it wasn't uncommon to see a tiled design, such as a border, set into the face with an accent tile color. 

The tiled face of the fireplace was then finished with a mantle and posts. The posts would frame the tiled face of fireplace, and the mantel would be large. Most authentically, the mantle would be made of a wood with a deep, expressive grain, like tiger oak or walnut. It should be carved in a square design, and details like small brackets placed in equal points along the mantle help to really highlight the craftsman style. You can talk with custom fireplace makers or visit websites like for more options and help. 

2. Add more of the right wood.

Modern home design focuses on white moldings and white finishes -- the craftsman home, however, celebrates the natural grain of beautiful hardwoods. The most common flooring type in old arts and crafts homes is quarter-sawn oak with a medium stain. The stain highlights the grain and ages well. Wide plank pine floors or sleek modern hardwoods are not suitable for craftsman homes. 

Along the same vein, take off stock white moldings and replace them with strait oak plank molding. Craftsman homes did not indulge in large or complex molding designs with many frills and curves. Simple but high-quality wood moldings along the bottom and top of the room will really start to bring that authentic bungalow look. 

Once you have floors and moldings, you can begin adding wood to other areas. Common features in these old homes are oak builtins with leaded glass doors, wainscoting along the stairs and entry way, and thick oak beams along the ceiling, especially in the dining area and main living space. Sometimes, you can find these elements at auctions or demolitions when older homes are being stripped of valuable wood finishes before they are torn down. 

3. Add some interest to the windows.

Craftsman homes traditionally feature single or double hung windows with wood frames and vertical, diamond, or stained grills, typically in sets of three. If you have a large picture window in your front room, considering framing the area to feature the three double hung windows with the leaded detailing in the top half. Window replacements can be an effective way to gradually transform your home: you can do one or two windows at a home until all the windows have been improved. Don't forget to finish your new craftsman windows with thick, straight oak moldings, typically taller and wider at the top than along the sides.