Renovation tips for a craftsman-style home

American craftsman architectural styles are one of the most common home builds of the 21st century. This style, also called "arts and crafts," first emerged at the end of the 19th century as a reaction to the overly decorated Victorian design that was popular in Great Britain at the time. The American craftsman style originated as a unique way to design middle-class homes in the U.S. You might distinguish a craftsman home by the following distinctions:

  • Overhanging eaves
  • Gabled or hipped roofs with low-pitched roof lines
  • Exposed rafters
  • Front porches
  • Tapered and square columns
  • Four-over-one or six-over-one windows
  • Shingles
  • Hand-crafted woodwork and/or stone
  • A sense of symmetry

Because craftsman-style homes have such a unique appearance, they typically require different landscaping and renovation techniques than Cape-, ranch- and colonial-style houses. When you're about to get started on a renovation project on an American craftsman home, consider the following advice:

American craftsman houseThis classic American craftsman home combines traditional and modern elements.

Use a mix of light and dark

The most traditional American craftsman homes used dark-colored wood, stone, and shingles. Many recently renovated craftsman houses are painted light shades of beige, tan, and white to give it a more refreshed look. While somewhat monochromatic schemes tend to look nice on certain home styles, we recommend against going this route on an American craftsman home. Because the home has so much symmetry, contrasting colors may be the primary distinguishing factor to set it apart from the other arts and crafts homes in the neighborhood.

When you want to keep the home's dark, distressed shingles but also want the unique architectural features of the home to pop, try painting certain details a crisp shade of white. Contrasted against the dark body of the home, white columns, porch ceilings, and door details can add some curb appeal to a previously drab exterior.

Tend to rotted wood

Because craftsman homes play up the appearance of hand-crafted woodwork, it's important to make sure the wood columns, porches, and other details are properly maintained and in strong working order. A quick coat of paint might be enough to revamp the appearance of an antiquated staircase. Other times, more hands-on renovation might be necessary. For instance, when the columns of an old craftsman house are beginning to rot, they will likely need to be replaced with higher-resistance materials that aren't prone to warping or cracking. While this becomes less of an issue with newly-built craftsman homes, it's still important to be cautious of the first signs of rot and wear.

Exposed wood interiors

Just as it was once a common practice to cover gorgeous hardwood floors with wall-to-wall carpeting, it was normal to cover stunning exposed wood details with paint. In an American craftsman home, wood interiors add so much character and dimension to a space. One way you can renovate the inside of a craftsman house is by creating customized built-ins made out of oak, mahogany, and other attract types of wood. This takes a defining feature of the craftsman style — hand-crafted woodwork — to the next level.