Craftsman homes were primarily inspired by the work of two architect brothers, Charles Sumner Greene and Henry Mather Greene, who worked together in Pasadena, California, at the turn of the 20th century.
The brothers were influenced by the English Arts and Crafts movement, a reaction against the Industrial Revolution in an effort to promote the work of craftsmen and the handmade over the machine made, as well as by Oriental wooden architecture.
Characteristics of a Craftsman home:
- Tapered columns. Tapered columns, which support the porch roof, are typically short and rest upon massive stone or brick piers that extend to ground level, both of which convey a certain solidity. Not all columns are tapered – another popular variation is the double column.
- Low-pitched, gabled roof. The low-slung rooflines reflect the influence of Oriental architecture and typically have a wide, unenclosed eave overhang with decorative supports. Roofs with a low pitch are typically better suited to warmer climates, where snow and ice are not likely to accumulate.
- Single dormers. When Craftsman homes have dormers, they tend to be wider and stand out on their own, unlike the pairs of dormers that typically appear in Cape Cod–style cottages. Single dormers are often wide enough for two to three windows.
- Front porch. It’s rare to find a Craftsman bungalow that doesn’t have a porch, even if the porch simply covers the entryway. Porches are either full or partial width, and are either sheltered beneath the main roof or under a separate, extended roof.
- Partially paned door. One great authenticity test of Craftsman bungalows is how their doors are styled. Almost all original versions have glass panes in the upper third of the door, separated from the bottom paneled portion by a thick piece of trim.
- Multi-pane instead of single-pane windows. Like a few other Craftsman details, this window style originated with the Prairie architectural style. The windows are often grouped together and cased in wide trim.
- Earthy colors. Craftsman homes are often painted in a nature-inspired palette of browns and greens to help the low-profile bungalows blend seamlessly with their surroundings.
St. Petersburg’s Historic Kenwood neighborhood has one of the highest concentrations of Craftsman style bungalows in Florida.
For a real treat visit the award-winning Craftsman House Gallery & Café at 2955 Central Avenue (33713). The Gallery features handmade work from over 300 American artists, a café serving yummy food, organic coffee/espresso and wine and beer. (www.craftsmanhousegallery.com)