Craftsman Style Home Design Ideas

The Distinctive Craftsman Front Porch

A Craftsman style home design would not be complete without detailing its distinctive front porch. The iconic American front porch was highly influenced by the Arts and Crafts Movement that began in the late 20th century in the U.S.


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In fact, Craftsman-style front porches gave the neighborhood a sense of congeniality. It was not uncommon at the time, for neighbors and friends to join each on other on the front porch to socialize.

Bungalows, probably the most popular design of the Arts and Craft era and the inspiration for the present day ranch home, were built as one-story open air cottages. This allowed for the free flow of air throughout the home.

Other styles include mission, California, Chicago, Milwaukee, raised, etc.


bungalow porch with exposed rafters
Photo courtesy of j l t
Photos on this page courtesy of j l t unless otherwise noted.
True to the ideals of the Arts and Crafts movement, British leader William Morris, felt that homes should be constructed using natural materials and contain elements of beauty.

It should be noted that the word "bungalow" was created by the British in 19th century India to describe what was a one-story home with a large wrap-around porch.

The earliest American bungalows were actually small Queen Anne-style type cottages, many of which were built in California in the late 1880 - 1900s.

We recognize that not all bungalows are of the Arts and Crafts design; however, for our purposes here, the bungalow and other Craftsman-style porches we describe have components of the traditional Craftsman style home design.


Common Bungalow Porch Design Features

All true Craftsman style home design interiors feature amazing craftsmanship, exquisite use of wooden joinery, along with integrating natural and local materials into the construction.

The front porch is no exception to this rule. Porches are normally constructed using extensive wood and natural material like stone wherever feasible.


typical craftsman-style airplane bungalow with wide front steps
Typical Arts and Crafts Airplane Bungalow with wide front porch (Photo courtesy of j l t)
Bungalow porches are quite expansive both in length and depth and often appear larger in proportion to the home's actual size. A true bungalow or craftsman-style front porch is usually from 8-10 feet deep so as to accommodate furniture and function as an outdoor room.


Bungalow and Arts and Craft Porch Roofs

American bungalow porches are positioned beneath a front-facing gable or sometimes under a side-facing gabled roof supported by thick pillars or columns. Hip roofs can also be used, especially if a gable roof would not be feasible.

Almost all Arts and Craft porches are considerably deep by today's standards and are accessed via very wide steps.

Often times the gable or hip roof may be combined with a pergola-style roof to offer a more natural transition from outside to the interior of the home. This is especially true if the porch is adjacent to gardens or beautiful landscaping.


craftsman bungalow with both hip and pergola roofs
Note the combination hip and pergola roofs (Photo courtesy of j l t)
Porch roofs usually feature wide eaves (often with braces) and exposed rafters with protruding rafter ends or tails giving them a very distinctive look. Cased beams are also common.

Bungalow porch ceilings are typically hand-crafted tongue-and-grooved bead board which is stained and finished to create a warm glossy finish.


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Common Bungalow Porch Column Features

Another classic bungalow porch feature are the porch columns.


craftsman style front porch column options
Craftsman-style porch column options
You can recognize them easily as they are typically rectangularly tapered wooden columns on top of stone or brick pedestals. However, other materials may be used.


craftsman style stone front porch columns
Craftsman-style porch columns with under-eave braces (Photo courtesy of j l t)
Wooden columns may even be found in groups of two, three, or sometimes four as shown below.


craftsman style triple porch columns
Triple-style porch columns with column brackets (photo courtesy of j l t)
Craftsman style porch columns are so popular, you can find them on many more contemporary homes today. In fact, many present day communities are constructed to replicate the very neighborhoods in which many Craftsman home communities existed in the past.


craftsman style tapered wooden columns on contemporary home
Craftsman-style tapered porch columns on more contemporary home
Not necessary Craftsman style home designs, almost all have porches (although smaller and more narrow) complete with Craftsman-style porch columns!


Typical Porch Balustrade Features

Knee walls are common as are more traditional balustrades. Typically, knee walls are constructed from common local materials such as stone or brick but can be the same as the home's siding, be it shingles, clapboard, or stucco. Take note of the knee wall above.

Balustrades can range from simple square or rectangular balusters to more custom made sawn balusters with decorative patterns.


craftsman style home with wooden balustrade
Wooden balustrade between typical bungalow porch columns height -Photo courtesy of j l t
Still other bungalow porches may be completely open to the yard or gardens if the porch floor is fairly low to the ground. (Not in place during the early 20th century, building codes today dictate balustrades are required if the porch floor is 36 inches or more from the ground).


Bungalow Flooring

Like bungalow porch ceilings, porch floors are typically tongue and groove also and may be stained or painted.

Keeping in the ideals of Arts and Crafts homes, woods used were normally locally harvested. Douglas fir and cedar were common for balustrades, porch columns, and flooring; however, you can also find mahogany and cypress.


Modern Bungalow Practices

It should be noted that due to the extensive use of natural materials, especially wood, Craftsman porches require considerable maintenance. Today; however, builders can opt to use PVC and composite products to not only minimize maintenance but also prolong the life of the porch.

These products are available for everything from porch columns to railings, flooring, and more.


craftsman home with clinker brick kneewall and pedestals
Clinker brick knee wall and porch column pedestals-Photo courtesy of j l t
A authentic bungalow porch is not only appealing but also very functional and serves well as an outdoor room. Although the popularity of the bungalow may have reached its height in the early 20th century, many builders today incorporate many of the features today.






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