Architectural Hallmarks of Craftsman Style Homes

Almost all craftsman style homes can be identified by their common features. These features are intended to display in design the craftsman style as it has evolved from the arts and crafts movement. In short, craftsman homes are designed to allow a lot of natural light with spacious rooms and very minimal ornamentation. Natural materials and a design which showcased the handiwork involved in creating the home are also hallmarks of the craftsman style. In practice this translates to everything you see in a craftsman home from the design of the roof to the materials used in construction.

The Basics

A few features of the craftsman home are understandable on their surface and require almost no explanation. Knowing these features, though, is essential in identifying any true craftsman home from one with a few simple added design aspects. The basic things to look for:

  • 1-1.5 stories high
  • Low-pitched roof
  • Large, covered front porch
  • Large fireplace, often with built-in cabinetry
  • Locally sourced natural materials

These aspects of a craftsman style home provide the foundation for all other architectural additions to the home, for which we'll provide some more detail.

Craftsman Style Staples

Deep roof eaves with exposed rafters

Likely one of the most iconic and recognizable aspects of any craftsman style home, the deep eaves of the roof along with exposed rafters exemplify the craftsman's goal of highlighting the handiwork of the builders in the construction of the home. These rafters can either be expressed in simple rafter tails or with decorative knee brace rafters. In many cases, these rafter tails or knee braces are purely decorative and do not actually provide any structural stability. For this reason they can be added to almost any existing home, which is why it is the combination of all of the design aspects that truly makes a craftsman home.

Built-in cabinetry

As we've discussed, one of the main features and goals of craftsman style building is the display of quality craftsmanship evident in every piece of the building process. Built-in cabinetry is a great example of the way expert builders show off their craft in a functional and timeless manner. Making high quality built-in cabinets is not an easy task, and in a craftsman home you will immediately recognize the effect of true handiwork in this aspect of the design. Clean lines and flawless transition from wall to cabinetry, especially around fireplaces, lets you know that you're seeing a true craftsman touch.

Single dormers

A dormer is a vertical addition to a sloping roof. In the craftsman style these are often wide enough for two to three windows. A dormer is a great way to achieve one of the primary goals of the craftsman style - more light! They're also ideal for adding extra space to an upper area of the house or attic as well as serving to shed water and other debris from the windows themselves.

Porch columns

It's not simply a large covered front porch that achieves the craftsman look. Typically, a front porch's roof will be supported by tapered columns resting on stone piers (traditionally locally sourced stone or brick) which extend all the way to the ground. These columns not only provide structural support but give the builder an opportunity to mix and show off the use of natural materials. While stone is most prominent, brick is sometimes used as well. And while tapered columns are common, the double column is another popular style used in craftsman style homes.

Multi-pane windows

Craftsman style homes traditionally feature windows inspired by the Prairie architectural style. The most common of these configurations is either the four panes over one or the six panes over one. These types of windows are great for the traditional or historic craftsman home with a view as the single lower pane provides unobstructed viewing. The windows featured in the single dormer above are a great example of this style.


The craftsman style home is made up of some very unique and identifiable features along with some design aspects meant to show off the quality of the build and the handiwork of the craftsman themselves. Here we provided a more in-depth look at the things that truly make up a craftsman style home - the hallmarks of the craftsman style. While today there are many variations and customizations that can go into a craftsman home, these features will almost always be present and distinguished in the build:

  • 1-1.5 stories high
  • Low-pitched roof
  • Large, covered front porch
  • Large fireplace, often with built-in cabinetry
  • Locally sourced natural materials
  • Deep roof eaves with exposed rafters
  • Built-in cabinetry
  • Single dormers
  • Porch columns
  • Multi-pane windows

    You can check out our Complete Guide to Historic Homes to learn more about the Craftsman and a number of other beautiful styles!

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