What is a Craftsman house? See exteriors of more than 70 classic Stickley-style homes

Classic Craftsman house style

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Gustav Stickley, originator of the Craftsman style of homes and furniture, was a Wisconsin-born editor, author, publisher, architect, furniture designer — and a leader of the arts and crafts movement in the United States.

From the 1890s to the 1920s, that movement rebelled against the extensive ornamentation of the popular Victorian revival styles — such as Gothic, Italian Renaissance, Queen Anne and Georgian architecture.

Instead, Stickley’s Craftsman design was plain, solid styling — almost all made of wood and stone, minus any fussy details.

Back in 1912, a writer for the company’s print magazine explained the basic design philosophy: “Though adapted to the demands of modern civilization, it yet has the charm of the more primitive dwellings, and creates the suggestion of simple and natural living and kinship with the outdoor world.”

Below, enter the world of these classic Stickley homes, through vintage photographs and architectural drawings created during the first two decades of the twentieth century.

Old Craftsman bungalow with cobblestone foundation and chimney (1915)

Simple but effective woodwork and wide shadowing eaves

Old Craftsman bungalow with cobblestone foundation and chimney (1915)

Popular vintage Craftsman home design (1912)

Extremely popular design of five rooms on the ground floor, with two bedrooms, one 14 by 14 feet, the other 10 feet 6 inches by 14 feet, and sleeping porch of ample size on the second floor.

The fireplace is enclosed in an inglenook with seats on either side. Large, roomy closets are provided for all the bedrooms, and the bathroom is located convenient to all rooms.

The plan calls for a brick flue in the kitchen for kitchen range and laundry stove. The furnace flue is in the fireplace chimney.

Popular vintage Craftsman home design (1912) Colorized photo

An interesting variation of the “chalet” bungalow style (1915)

See decorative use of timber in the walls and roof.

Old Craftsman-style home (7)

Craftsman Farms: The home of Gustav Stickley a labor of love, precision (1974)

By Majorie Kaschewski – Daily Record (Morristown, New Jersey) October 20, 1974

Craftsman Farms on Tabor Road was to be a Utopia where the working man could feel pride in his achievements, and would not be a cog in a de-personalizing machine. 

It was years ahead of its time.

It was the dream of Gustav Stickley, “editor, author, publisher, architect, furniture and interior designer, owner of stores, mills and factories, leader of the arts and crafts movement in the United States.”

And as is the case with all too many dreams, it died in just a few years.

Stickley was a founder of the type of furniture known — erroneously, it has been said — as ”mission,” of dark wood with plain, straight lines and heavy construction.

A vintage Craftsman home interior - Living room decor (1910s)

The farm in Morris Plains was to be the epitome of Stickley’s beliefs. From 1908-1912, he bought more than 400 acres, including the estate of Homer Davenport, the well-known cartoonist. On the land were to be cottages for male students, which they themselves were to build.

They were to work with instructors and those actually constructing furniture in small groups, in a glorified version of the old apprentice system, but for their own advancement and not that of the ”master.”

The boys would be “strong, individual workers,” not just part of the system.

Front view of the Stickley home at Craftsman Farms, Morris Plains, New Jersey
Front view of the Stickley home at Craftsman Farms, Morris Plains, New Jersey, showing the two pergolas and the outdoor fireplace for camp cooking.

Stickley, his dream, and his five daughters and son, moved to Morris Plains from his Syracuse home to live in the ”clubhouse,” a huge building of log and stone, with living and dining rooms 60 feet long and 30 feet wide, with wide balconies and eaves, huge fireplaces and built-in furniture.

Much of it was wicker, ”and the chairs seemed to wrap around you.” The house was lit entirely by large, thick, handmade candles, in hand-beaten brass candlesticks.

Also built were two log and shingle cottages, a dairy, silo and huge chicken house.

He described the project in 1908 issue of his magazine, The Craftsman, a highly successful publication. Here in Morris Plains would be revived practical and profitable crafts, blended with small farming.

Milk, eggs and vegetables from Craftsman Farms came in each day by truck to the restaurant that crowned Stickley’s 12-story New York building, a large step for a young man who had started as an apprentice stone mason at 12 years of age.

Gustav Stickley was born in 1858 in Wisconsin, and, still a boy, learned the stonemason trade from his father. He hated it. “It was heavy and tedious, much too hard for a boy my age.”

Still in his teens, Stickley worked in his uncle’s chair factory in Brandt, Pennsylvania, then moved to Binghamton. New York, where, in 1886, with his brothers, Charles and Albert, Gustav turned to manufacturing furniture by hand — chiefly chairs of Windsor and other simple styles.

Gustav Stickley portrait - 1900s

Gradually, he evolved his own school, naming it ”craftsman” in 1901. A chair, he said, should be ”comfortable, well-made, fine in structure, workmanship, proportion and finish, to harmonize with its surroundings.

His designs ”followed and emphasized the straight lines and plain surfaces,” especially in woods — ”American style from American wood.” He loved the grain of oak particularly which he called the ”Abraham Lincoln of wood,” but also elm, chestnut, maple and beech.

His furniture was practical, lasted forever and was considered ideally suited for rustic surroundings. He never used the term ”mission,” because, he said early Spanish missionaries never really created an architectural métier.

Some decorators objected that his approach was ”a symphony of mud and mustard,” somber and dull in color; that the pieces were too heavy to be moved. Stickley’s interior arrangements were for keeps.

One writer said of him that he had also “brought back the fireplace, had woven romance into lighting fixtures, and peace into ample couches, had promoted casement windows and created the outdoor sleeping porch.” He replaced partitions with wooden slat screens for better air circulation.

Rear view of this home shows sleeping porch and balconies.
Rear view of this home shows sleeping porch and balconies.

For some years, his headquarters was in Syracuse, but in 1913, he opened his piece de resistance, the 12-story building in New York, at 38th Street off Fifth Avenue. It had everything. On the lower floors was his furniture manufactured from wood prepared in his own sawmills in the Adirondacks.

DON’T MISS: See NYC’s stunning historical Fifth Avenue mansions (1890s)

There were displays of textiles, of architecture, gardens and grounds; workshops, magazine offices, drafting rooms, club rooms, a library. a lecture hall. Four floors were given over to 85 display areas for homebuilders’ wares.

The top floor housed his restaurant, where Japanese waiters served fine food, much of it from the Morris Plains farm.

The old Craftsman Building in New York - Stickley

It looked as though he was one man who would realize his visions. Then came disaster.

He had over-extended himself, and in less than two years, his achievement had turned to a nightmare. In March 1915, Stickley was forced to file a bankruptcy petition. In 1917, he sold Craftsman Farms.

There were temporary comebacks, but he never was able to repeat his early success, finally dying in April 1942, when he was 84.

The men he had labored with for many years loved him. Often they had eaten together at the noon break out of their respective lunch pails.

His funeral fell on a workday. The factory at that time was being run by one of Gustav Stickley’s brothers, and their business relations had not been entirely happy. He refused his employees permission to attend Gustav’s funeral.

In a body, the workers walked off the job to pay their last respects to the man who had been their friend.

The school of furniture that had been his trademark has been in eclipse for years, although at one time, it was considered the thrust of the future.

With the current trend toward nostalgia, however, his designs may, like so many turn-of-the-century objects, be rediscovered.

What is a Craftsman house Vintage porch exterior view

Five-room vintage Craftsman-style bungalow with stone porch

Old Craftsman-style home (19)

Craftsman seven-room cement house

Old Craftsman-style home (20)

Craftsman concrete bungalow with pergola porch

Old Craftsman-style home (21)

Craftsman seven-room house design, with two sleeping porches

Old Craftsman-style home (22)

A two-story Craftsman home with art glass windows

Old Craftsman-style home (23)

Antique Craftsman home design (1906)

If any one quality is predominant in the Craftsman House for May, it must be the feeling that it is above all things a home. It is the kind of a house that a plain, honest man would like his children to grow up in and remember all their lives as “home,” for children reared in such surroundings should develop into strong, sincere men and women as naturally and inevitably as plants thrive in good soil.

It has been demonstrated over and over again by psychologists and by students of social science that environment is a matter of the first importance in establishing right standards of living and in the development of character, and the putting into practice of this theory has undoubtedly had much to do with the wave of reform that is sweeping so much of modern thought away from the artificial and back to the simple and strong.

That the home surroundings have the strongest possible influence over character has always been one of the first articles of The Craftsman’s belief and every house designed in our workshops is a fresh declaration of faith.

Plain to severity, this house owes all the beauty it possesses to the materials of which it is built, to the massive simplicity of its construction and to its proportions.

And of these the last is the greatest, for one error in the harmony of these severely straight lines would alter the character of the whole building.

All its friendliness comes from the low, broad effect of the walls — a feeling enhanced by the low pitch of the wide-eaved roof, from the suggestion of shelter and welcome in the porch that seems a link between house and terrace, and in the proportion and grouping of the windows.

With the exception of one casement, these are double-hung with small, square panes in the top sash, and they are proportioned in exact harmony with the lines of the house — low and wide, and with heavy, sturdy frames.

The porch is structurally the most attractive feature to be seen in an exterior view of the house.

The wooden pillars are painted pure white, and are very thick and massive in proportion to their height. The rafters are left in view where they support the roof, and a heavy beam running the length of the porch serves to uphold the rafters.

Square, massive cross beams extend from the pillars to the wall, where the ends are sunk in the framing of the house.

The large, solid wooden posts at the corners of the building are repeated across the front to correspond with each pillar, and the lengthwise beam sunk in the wall at the top of window and door casings ties the whole structure together.

Antique Craftsman home design (1906)

Old Craftsman house with stone block exterior of first floor (1904)

Old Craftsman-style home (24)

An entrance porch sheltered by copings and flower boxes

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Old Craftsman-style home (26)

An outdoor living room can be made of this recessed porch

Old Craftsman-style home (27)

Half-timber and granite bungalow of large capacity (1912)

Half-timber and granite bungalow of large capacity (1912)

An old Craftsman style home with steep curved roof

Vintage Craftsman home (1)

A Craftsman city house (duplex)

This Craftsman style home was built on a lot thirty feet wide to accommodate two families.

Vintage Craftsman home (2)

Stone entrance porch, chimney and ground floor exterior (1908)

Mr Barber’s hillside house in North Adams, Mass., built from Craftsman plans, has a 20-mile view of the Berkshire hills

Vintage Craftsman home (5)

Rear elevation of above hillside home with four stories (1908)

Vintage Craftsman home (6)

Old Craftsman house design for town or country

Vintage Craftsman home (7)

A substantial cottage with clapboard walls and shingle roof (1908)

ALSO SEE: 9 vintage cottage home plans from 1910

Vintage Craftsman home (8)

Home with attractive combination of wood and plaster (1909)

Vintage Craftsman home (9)

Craftsman home built entirely of wood on a stone foundation

Vintage Craftsman home (10)

Craftsman house built in New Jersey

Constructed of field stones with heavy lintels of white oak timber.

Vintage Craftsman home (11)

Craftsman house of stone, cement, and wood

Showing entrance and pergola porch.

Vintage Craftsman home (12)

Craftsman brick house

Showing a most interesting combination of an entrance and sleeping porch.

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Vintage Craftsman home (13)

A small California bungalow

Showing the use of red sandstone for the porch pillars, porch foundation, and chimney.

Vintage Craftsman home (14)

Vintage 1910s bungalow with wood and limestone

An interesting, simple wood construction — with foundation, porch, and porch parapet of white limestone.

Vintage Craftsman home (15)

A small Craftsman wood cottage

Suited to suburban or country life; Attractive exterior features are the long roof line, the placing of windows, and the picturesque chimney.

Vintage Craftsman home (16)

A shingle house with slight suggestion of Swiss architecture in design (1909)

A shingle house with slight suggestion of Swiss architecture in design (1909)

Attractive use of shingles & cement for a large house on the California coast (1910)

Vintage Craftsman home (18)

House modeled noticeably after Swiss architecture (1909)

While the structural effect is excellent, there is a suggestion of fussiness in the ornamentation.

Vintage Craftsman home (19)

A house structure made entirely of cement (1910)

Trimmings and supports of wood are used with decorative intent.

Vintage Craftsman home (20)

A Craftsman house showing the development of a new idea (1910)

A full-width double-height porch fills the front of this home.

Vintage Craftsman home (21)

A Craftsman design that is especially adapted to cement construction (1910)

DON’T MISS: See some charming & classic All-American suburban houses from 1919

Vintage Craftsman home (22)

Old-school Craftsman design for shingled house

Showing the decorative effect to be gained by the careful grouping of windows.

Vintage Craftsman home (23)

Front and back of a vintage Craftsman-style home

(top image) The home of Mr. C.F. Goodfellow, at Northwood, near Stroke-On-Trent, England: Front view.

(bottom image) Rear view of Mr. Goodfellow’s house, showing hedges and garden.

Barry Parker and Raymond Unwin, Architects.

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Vintage Craftsman home (24)

Craftsman home turned gymnasium

(top image) Side view of Mr. Steer’s house, showing the entrance to Jiu Jitsu gymnasium.

(bottom image) Good roof lines and interesting grouping of windows is shown in this view.

Vintage Craftsman home (25)

Craftsman home of split stone and shingles

Vintage Craftsman home (26)

Photographs of Craftsman home in New Jersey

Two views of the house of Mr. B.A. Taylor, Beechwood Park, Summit, N.J, showing the entrance and living porch at the side.

Vintage Craftsman home (27)

California bungalow worth studying

Bungalow in Pasadena, California, designed by Edward E. Sweet.

SEE MORE: Beautiful pictures of old Pasadena from the days before cars

Vintage Craftsman home (28)

6-room bungalow, costing $3,600

Vintage Craftsman home (29)

Craftsman-style house design for an 8-room bungalow

Vintage Craftsman home (30)

Brick Craftsman home with sloping staircase entrance

Designed by Gustav Stickley (Architect).

Vintage Craftsman home (31)

Old Kentucky home from 1912 with Craftsman characteristics

R. Chas. F. Strassner, of Frankfort, Kentucky, writes us that it was nearly a decade ago that he saw in The Craftsman — the design of just the house he desired.

And though not ready to build at that time, he carefully kept the picture and later had the ideas incorporated in his home, which we illustrate here, in which he feels much satisfaction and some pride; in generous appreciation he allows us a share in these.

While not typically a Craftsman house, it has Craftsman characteristics that easily harmonize with the buildings of a different type around it, as shown in the illustration.

Mr. Strassner is to be congratulated upon securing a site so admirably suited to accommodating his residence to advantage, both for itself and the neighboring houses.

It is one of those homes which seems to have grown under the protecting trees that shelter it; to have materialized because of their friendliness and of the sense of permanence they offer. So it should be.

The stone foundation, walls and chimney here further express that which will endure, security, an abiding place; while the lighter shingled superstructure, having many windows and a roof with dormers, relieves it of any somberness, and gives to the whole a thoroughly homelike appearance.

The low front veranda, with its wide steps and substantial pillars, at once welcomes you, extending the hospitality you feel sure of finding under this roof. Being partially shielded by the stonework, and further screened by luxuriant ferns, this broad porch is a most inviting place in summer. Simplicity has been considered in the interior in woodwork and wall treatment.

The color schemes chosen produce such cheerful and desirable effects as to influence one’s sense of harmony. The wood-work of the first floor is oak, stained a dark brown; its beauty of grain and finish, the proportions and simplicity of the door panels and trim, newel post and stairway, lend dignity to the interior.

The floors are quarter-sawed white oak and the walls are finished in rough plaster. The upper and lower halls have buff-tinted walls, reflecting the light, and a stained-glass window on the landing shows soft brown, green and yellow tones. The living room is done in gray-green, a restful shade.

Old Kentucky home from 1912 with Craftsman characteristics

Another view of the above Strassner home

This photo shows the interesting wall (along the sidewalk) in harmony with stone foundation (1912)

Vintage Craftsman home (33)

A large symmetrical two-family home design

Affording an opportunity for economy of construction without loss of architectural beauty (Number 151)

Vintage Craftsman home (34)

A concrete Craftman house, planned for simplified housekeeping

Vintage Craftsman home (35)

“Dumblane,” the Washington home of Mr. & Mrs. S Hazen Bond

Vintage Craftsman home (36)


Craftsman shingled house (1912)

Home with hooded casement windows, pergola over the entrance, and a long sheltered sleeping balcony. (Plan No 155)

Vintage Craftsman home (38)

Exterior of a shingled Craftsman house (1912)

The wide eaves, long dormer, small-paned casement windows, and fieldstone pillars, chimney and wall — while all practical parts of the construction, give the house a very homelike, picturesque air. 

Vintage Craftsman home (39)

Eight-room Craftsman house

For commodious suburban living; two and half stores of concrete and single. (Architect: Gustav Stickley)

Vintage Craftsman home (40)

Cement and stone Craftsman house

Eight rooms, two porches and loggia. (Architect: Gustav Stickley)

Vintage Craftsman home (41)

raftsman brick house (1912)

With eleven living rooms, conservatory, porches, storage rooms and two bathrooms (No. 153)

ALSO SEE: Find out about old-fashioned mansard roof homes & Second Empire-style houses

Vintage Craftsman home (37)

An authentic Craftsman shingled cottage design (1914)

An economical and comfortable seven-room dwelling intended for a narrow lot, and planned for a family with one maid. In addition to two downstairs porches, there is an upstairs sleeping porch at the rear.

Vintage Craftsman home (43)

Original Craftsman six-room shingled cottage (1914)

The roof lines, casement windows, recessed porches and tiny balcony give this building a home-like air. (Design 188)

Vintage Craftsman home (44)

Original Craftsman house, designed by Gustav Stickley

Craftsman house no. 189, of stucco on hollow tile with shingled roof, designed for a woodland site in Palos Park, Illinois, from sketches sent us by the owner.

Among the interesting features of the exterior are the hooded entrance porches, the upstairs sleeping porch on the right and the big outdoor living room with balcony above it, a glimpse of which is seen on the left.

Gustav Stickley, Architect

Vintage Craftsman home (45)

Craftsman house of brick with shingle roof, designed by Gustav Stickley (1914)

Vintage Craftsman home (46)

Original Craftsman fieldstone bungalow, front view (1914)

A spacious, comfortably planned and well-equipped home, especially suitable for country surroundings.

The most attractive and unusual feature is the central glass-covered court or garden around which the other rooms are planned, and which provides a delightful place for semi-sheltered living in summer; in winter it can be used as a sunroom. (Designed by Gustav Stickley – Design no. 195)

MORE: Post-war housing: See 35 small starter homes from the ’40s & ’50s

Vintage Craftsman home (47)

Original Stickley-designed bungalow, back view (1914)

Old Craftsman-style home (1)

A classic Craftsman two-story shingled cottage

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Old Craftsman-style home (2)

An interesting example of brick and cobblestone for a Craftsman-style house

Old Craftsman-style home (3)

Shingle-thatched roof Craftsman home

The brick walls, stone-floored terrace and “shingle-thatch” roof on this house at Lake Forest, Illinois, show an exceptionally charming combination of materials; Albro and Lindenberg were the architects.

Old Craftsman-style home (4)

Retro Craftsman home with stepping stone pathway

An informal stepping-stone pathway across the lawn, that is especially appropriate for the approach to a side door or garden gateway; in this case the pathway leads to D.R. Gamble’s home in Pasadena, of which Greene and Green were the architects.

Old Craftsman-style home (6)

Bungalow with a second story enclosed sleeping room and open porch (1915)

Old Craftsman-style home (8)

Bungalow with a large room on the second story (1915)

The big upper room in this home might be used as a living room, nursery, or for sleeping purposes. The roof construction suggests Swiss influence.

Old Craftsman-style home (9)

Front view of a Craftsman log house

Designed and built by Clark Woodward, the owner.

Old Craftsman-style home (10)

Oregon bungalow from craftsman ideas: Interesting plan for a side hill

Home of F. E. Watson, Ashland, Oregon, adapted from craftsman plans

To the publisher, The Craftsman,

Dear Sir: As our home owed its inspiration almost entirely to The Craftsman, we have thought you might be interested in the views, floor plan and description of our six-room bungalow in Ashland, Oregon.

This house is a bungalow within and a story and a half cottage without, that is, our living rooms are all on one floor, but we have, in addition, a large and well lighted attic and basement. Our building site is unique, being on the shoulder of a rather steeply sloping hillside.

This location presented practical difficulties, but has proved to have also practical advantages, the basement being well lighted and airy ; and the first floor, the living part of the house, being raised above the ground on the sloping side to the height of an ordinary second story.

[Photo] shows the deep concrete basement on the “down” side, with door and windows; also, the pergola and the balcony above which opens from the dining room and affords opportunity for al fresco eating.

The exterior is of rough-siding, stained gray, with shingle gables stained brown and shingle roof stained tile-red. The front porch, basement walls and retaining wall are all of gray concrete.

Old Craftsman-style home (11)

Craftsman bungalow with open court

Old Craftsman-style home (12)

Craftsman house with ivy-covered sleeping porch

Old Craftsman-style home (13)

Craftsman brick house

With porch, balconies, and sun room.

Old Craftsman-style home (14)

Well-gardened Craftsman home in California

Good examples of California methods of uniting home and garden in friendly intimacy: Both are informal, graceful, and altogether suitable.

Old Craftsman-style home (15)

Five-room Craftsman shingled bungalow

Old Craftsman-style home (16)

Six-room Craftsman shingled cottage

Old Craftsman-style home (17)

Six-room Craftsman bungalow of cement

Old Craftsman-style home (18)

NOW SEE THIS: 62 beautiful vintage home designs & floor plans from the 1920s

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  1. Many of these houses don’t look much different from houses being build today, despite being more than a century old.

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