Be the Envy of the Neighborhood with Your Classic Craftsman Look
One of the most popular architectural styles in the country right now is American Craftsman. The style originated in the final years of the 19th century and experienced a comeback in the 1930s, and then became outrageously popular again in the 21st century.
Chances are, if you drive around the neighborhood you’ll see more of the style’s traditional gable roofs, overhanging eaves, and squared-off tapered columns on recently designed homes. If you’re lucky enough to live in a neighborhood with beautiful, original Craftsman homes, you might notice the curb appeal of your own home has slipped a bit over the years and could use a little love.
If you’re building a new house in this style, you’ve already realized that Craftsman style – and related Arts & Crafts style – homes lend themselves to unique landscaping and exterior features. What works well for a modern home may look out of place on a Craftsman.
One problem with existing Craftsman-style homes is that sometimes they are lived in and loved for so long that the owner is no longer objective about its looks. Things start to deteriorate, and it goes unnoticed. Don't let your home become the neighborhood eyesore! It's time to kick up – or maintain – the curb appeal of your Craftsman-style home. Probably the most helpful tip of all is to stand back on the curb and look with a fresh eye.
This charming, modest 3-bedroom, 2-bath Craftsman home makes an impressive impression, with its manicured landscaping and lawn, taseful use of stone on the facade and at the end of the driveway, subtle colors, and neat trim (House Plan #104-1064)
Switch Up the Swatches of Color
The Craftsman exterior style lends itself to distinctive color combinations, but it takes a tasteful palette and thoughtful planning to give your home a subtle shine, without sticking out like a sore thumb in the neighborhood. You can approach this in one of two ways. The first approach is to keep the body of the home a really calm, mellow color. Think all those neutral tones: grays and beiges. Then highlight those impressive architectural features with something like a crisp white. The colors will allow the entire structure to hold its presence among the natural landscape and against the bright sky while showing off its unique characteristics.
The crisp whie trimwork of this 3-bedroom, 2-bath Craftsman style home hightlights the structure's architectural features against the background of the natural shakes and complementary taupe siding (House Plan 141-1239).
We have another approach that is less subtle in how it packs a visual punch. Most people stay modest with the color of their home. If everyone sticks with neutral colors, satellite images will show that you’re living in a big bowl of multigrain cereal. The Craftsman house plans include stone masonry or rooflines that break up the exterior facade, leaving a smaller surface area that needs to be painted. Less space gives you more room to be creative with the color you choose for the details. Be bold with reds, yellows, olives . . . whatever color that speaks to your home’s – and your family’s – personality.
This 2-story, 4-bedroom, 3.5-bath home makes a visual impact by departing from the earth tones of many Craftsman style houses and combining red gable accents with its neutral field (House Plan #109-1059).
Highlight Fine Architectural Features
A Craftsman-style home has strong “bones.” The sturdy structure and clean, prominent lines and exterior details bring a strong force to the building. It would be a total waste not to exploit the gorgeous features that are already there! If the damage is cosmetic rather than structural, try giving it an inexpensive facelift. Prime, paint, and seal for a DIY fix that won’t break the bank. If your porch planks, columns, trims, decking, railings – everything – need to be replaced rather than repaired, consider using low-maintenance materials, such as Boral, Azek, and other vinyl compsites. Of course, this is even more true for a new build. These relatively new materials look like the wood they replace, but they require less maintenance to look good and last longer without deteriorating.
As with all styles of houses, you can power wash the exterior, clean out the gutters, and clean the windows and screens for an instant transformation.
White trim on this luxury Craftsman-influenced home pops out from the natural wood siding and calls particular attention to architectural details like the decorative curved wooden gable braces. The home has a 3-car garage, 4 bedrooms, and 4 baths (House Plan #198-1015).
Choose the Right Front Door
Your front door does more than open and close to let people in and out – it should be inviting, welcoming you and your guests inside. What makes a good door stand out? The answer is with its decorative elements, which enhance the purely functional part of your house and raise it to the next level of inviting.
Decorative options really draw your eye to the entryway. With several glass patterns, sidelight options, and door styles to consider, you can personalize your entry and make it suit and complement the charm and character of the rest of your Craftsman home.
If you don't want to replace the entire door, a bold color or rich stain on the front door creates a welcoming feeling before even stepping inside. Sometimes a front door just needs a fresh coat of paint to look as good as new!
Top: The stained wooden door, with is glass panes and sidelights, on this impeccible Craftsman inspired 1-story home complements the back-to-nature aesthetic of the architectural style (House Plan #142-1159). Bottom: This close-up of a similar door on a Craftsman style home highlights the impression such a door makes, both from the street and spproaching the home. Note the wide butt-joined trim style that is typical Craftsman (House Plan #189-1001).
Don't Forget the Landscaping
Overgrown vegetation can make even the most well-designed and maintained house look uninviting. Sometimes all the landscape plantings need is a proper pruning to improve the curb appeal. Other times they need to be swapped for something fresh to enhance the home’s exterior.
Framing up the walkway also helps to keep the yard looking tidy. Depending on the climate where you live, it is possible to use plants, flowers, and ivy, or even large rocks placed in unusual patterns. You could also unify the entire property by using the same stone or brick as that of the home’s exterior.
With all the bigger landscape projects on the mind, it's important to not forget about the simple maintenance. Keep the grass cut short and neat. Rake, edge, and manicure the entire lawn through the year. Pull or kill the weeds, and keep the landscaping well watered and fertilized.
Carefully cut freeform landscape borders, natural cedar much, and carefully placed and spaced trees and shrubs add up to landscaped dressing that enhances the overall impression of this magnificent L-shape county home (House Plan #180-1020).
Accessorize the Exterior
The dreamy style of the house can be pulled out in little decorations and details. Lighting, door mats, porch furniture, and – especially – hardware can improve Craftsman curb appeal. You can add a touch of elegance with new house numbers and a brilliant knocker and lockset, all in shiny brass or brushed bronze.
There are many lighting options, but nothing has the same kind character as a lantern near the front door. Keep the light fixtures clean, and stay on top of replacing the bulbs. The deep and spacious porch has so much potential to be a great bonus space. Rocking chairs, plants, and a little table are all you need to create a sweet sitting space. It can be an extension of your living room where you can drink a coffee, read a book, and enjoy a beautiful warm day.
Just make sure you don’t let any junk accumulate. Keep it fresh, clean, and straightforward. Garden hoses, dead plants, and garbage don't have a place. Anything that doesn't have a site needs to be organized, donated, recycled, or thrown away.
You know excellent curb appeal when you see it. A house with stunning curb appeal looks – and feels – loved and nurtured, designed with integrity and accented with creative details. You want that house on the block to be your Craftsman-style home.
Top: Lighting from the interior in this nighttime view of a 2-bedroom, 2.5-bath Craftsman home complements the subtle uplights and entry lamps of the exterior lighting. The uplights call attention to the texture of the stone column bases and the siding and window trim on the left (House Plan #101-1873). Bottom: The deep porch of this classic 2-story Craftsman, with its wide eaves and detailed soffits, gives the family lots of outdoor living space and plenty of room to accessorize with rockers, swing seats, tables, benches, and plants (House Plan #195-1195),
Make your home a clean, welcoming, friendly place to be. Start by making improvements, working from the curb to living space.