Anyone with a keen eye for design recognizes the beauty of a good craftsman house.

But what characterizes this architectural style? Where did it come from?

Today, we’ll answer these questions and more. Whether you’re simply an admirer of architecture or a professional, this article will enhance your appreciation for and understanding of this unique style.

What is a Craftsman House?

The craftsman style house emerged in popularity during the late 19th century. It was part of a backlash against the perceived sterility and lack of human warmth that the Industrial Revolution produced.

This backlash was known as the Arts and Crafts movement, its name referencing a push to return to handcrafted and locally-sourced means of production.

While the style’s origins are rooted in the socioeconomics of Britain and the U.S. in the late 19th century, its characteristics have endured. Today, craftsman homes are popular throughout the world.

A modern craftsman house includes:

  • low pitched roofs in either gabled or hipped styles, with overhanging eaves
  • windows with divided panes
  • tapered columns with stone masonry bases
  • large covered porches
  • earthy colours
  • large fireplaces with built-in storage
  • wide entrances with partial-pane doors
  • dormer windows
  • natural handcrafted materials
  • elegance, not ornateness

The last point is the key. In addition to pushing back against the impersonal nature of manufacturing during the Industrial Revolution, the style was a rebuke of Victorian architecture. This carries through to the layout as well; craftsman house plans are simple and typically (but not always) single-storey.

The layouts are also usually open-concept. By the end of the 19th century, slavery had been abolished in the United States and British colonies. Kitchens were no longer tucked away to keep slaves out of sight. They instead became extensions of the living room, allowing mothers to keep an eye on their children while cooking.

At the moment, most modern residential architectural firms in Australia (read more about them in this piece by Procore) offer designs that follow these tenets.

Now that we’ve answered the question of ‘what is a craftsman house?’ let’s take a look at some key examples.

Modern Craftsman House Examples

Example #1

1 8 Eye-Catching Craftsman Style Houses

Take note of the pillars at each entrance. This is trademark Arts and Crafts house style, as is the masonry and 1.5 storey layout.

Example #2

2 8 Eye-Catching Craftsman Style Houses

American craftsman house plans are particularly common and often ultra-modest. The gable-style roofs and large porch coverings are perfect for enjoying the tropical temperatures found throughout the country.

Example #3

3 8 Eye-Catching Craftsman Style Houses

Craftsman style house plans are also characterized by dormer windows, as seen above. This is a common design for a modern house in this style

Example #4

4 8 Eye-Catching Craftsman Style Houses

Handcrafted wood paneling makes otherwise sparse craftsman style house plans feel warm and inviting.

Example #5

5 8 Eye-Catching Craftsman Style Houses

A craftsman house doesn’t have to be small. Touches like stone masonry and dramatic gable style roofs can tame a large home design and bring it under the tenets of this architectural style.

Example #6

6 8 Eye-Catching Craftsman Style Houses

Color also plays a key role in this architectural style. Hues are rarely bold but rather neutral and easily fit in with nature.

Example #7

7 8 Eye-Catching Craftsman Style Houses

A craftsman house will almost always make use of patterned window panes, as seen above.

Example #8

8 8 Eye-Catching Craftsman Style Houses

The natural, earthy tones prevalent in craftsman architecture are a key part of the style’s timelessness.


A craftsman home is much more than just aesthetically pleasing. As with all architectural styles, it’s rich in history. It sets itself apart in this regard, however, due to how accessible and relatively modern it is.

They can come in many forms. The key philosophies are practicality, local sourcing, and handcrafting. Elements such as natural materials, gable or hip roofs, and metalwork achieve this.

It’s one of the most commonly-requested designs throughout the world. Any architect hoping to work in the residential industry would do well to familiarize themselves with it.

Frequently Asked Questions

What makes a house a craftsman style house?

Natural, handcrafted materials, sloping roofs, large enclosed porches and a practical layout are characteristics of a craftsman style house. These homes were historically bungalows but today, they can have as many as three storeys.

What is the difference between a bungalow and a craftsman home?

It’s a common misconception that “bungalow” and “craftsman home” are synonymous. In reality, they often share many characteristics but the term “bungalow” simply references a single-storey structure. It can exhibit a variety of styles.

Are craftsman homes expensive to build?

Because craftsman homes rely on custom hand-finished elements, they can be costly. The design is flexible, however. It doesn’t need to be huge and sprawling. Building a more compact home can reduce costs.