Craftsman Home Resource Recommendations

10 Replies

Greetings. Can anyone share some of their favorite books and resources (blogs, YouTube channels, etc.) on craftsman homes--be they guides with practical insights on renovations, historical resources, or mere sources of inspiration? I'd also be grateful for your insights on why you've found these specific resources particularly helpful. Thanks in advance.

Originally posted by @Mike S. :

Greetings. Can anyone share some of their favorite books and resources (blogs, YouTube channels, etc.) on craftsman homes--be they guides with practical insights on renovations, historical resources, or mere sources of inspiration? I'd also be grateful for your insights on why you've found these specific resources particularly helpful. Thanks in advance.

Not sure what you are looking for. Can you be more specific? You can find all kinds of Craftsman style trim online and they are relatively easy to copy. 

Thanks, @Mike Reynolds . Perhaps, more than anything, I'm looking for books and resources chronicling the history of Craftsman homes or showcasing modern restorations. As an example, if I were to replace a metal awning on a craftsman home with something more period accurate or add a covered porch to a bungalow, I'm hoping to find resources and sources of inspiration for doing this in a manner true to the home and its original design. And, on a similar note, I'm interested in just general resources on craftsman interiors (built-ins, fireplaces, hardware, fixtures, etc. from the era). Thanks again, Mike.

The craftsman style is a really a great feature and I would think, a valuable upgrade for the right property. It is super simple if you have the right tools and is truly 'timeless'. It is not the type of style to 'go out of style' ten years from now. For say, a high end rental i think it would be a great feature. 

There are some ridiculously simple craftsman style ideas that I think are a good investment in the right situation:

1) Faking large crown moldings. You take a standard 3 1/2- 4 1/2 crown molding and add another 1x1 strip board 1" to 2" below the crown, then paint it all: the crown, the 1x1, and also the wall in between as a single unit. Looks like an 8" fancy crown molding.

2) Door and window casings look phenomenal for minimal work. It can all be done assembly line fashion on site or remotely. Just need the right tools and setup to work efficiently. The craftsman style is very beginner friendly. Almost everything is 90 degree cuts or 'butt cuts'. 

Pinterest is the best source of ideas

Also, check out "Greene and Greene trim". This is another high end craftsman style. This very ornate style is actually very simple and was designed so even beginners could whip out this trim in a factory setting. The very simplest cuts, with a simple design made from simply filing the rounded edges with a file or rasp. It is all designed around the Fibonacci sequence.

A good video is "Loblolly House: A Greene & Greene Inspired Home" on YouTube.

I collect Arts and Crafts era items, which includes Craftsman and Mission styles. 

I used to get Arts and Crafts Home magazine (the website is still up, good resources there  https://artsandcraftshomes.com/magazine ) .  This section with a library on building technology  may be something you can use.  https://artsandcraftshomes.com/magazine/building-technology-heritage-library

But awhile ago, they folded the magazine into Old House Journal magazine.  It regularly runs features on Craftsman homes too.  https://www.oldhouseonline.com/

@Bill Buzzell This is wonderful. Thank you so much for the excellent insights and the generosity with which you've shared them. Where I'm hoping to buy a rental home soon has a wealth of beautiful craftsman homes--for which I've always had a weakness. As I get closer to pulling the trigger, I'm hoping to beef up my education and better understand what's possible with some of the bungalows that need work (or that stand to benefit from having all of the "improvements" made through the years stripped away). I greatly appreciate the insights on the large fake crown moldings and the door and window casings--those simple details stand to have a great impact and, as you stated, are truly timeless. I look forward to checking out the video on the Loblolly House and learning more about the Greene brothers. 

Do you have a Craftsman-style home or rental properties? If so, any advice for someone who might be taking the plunge? Thanks again, Bill!

@Lauren Kormylo , this is incredibly helpful—thank you. I wasn’t aware of Arts and Crafts Home magazine and am glad the website is at least still available. The building technology library looks like a tremendous resource—and should I take the plunge on purchasing a Craftsman home, I imagine it will be invaluable. Old House Journal looks like an excellent resource as well.

That’s great to hear that you collect Arts and Crafts era items. My uncle has a Craftsman home. As a kid, there was always something magical about stepping inside it—the built-ins, mission furniture, and trove of Maxfield Parrish prints hanging on the walls left an enduring impression. I can definitely understand and appreciate your fondness for the Arts and Crafts style and era. Thanks again for all of your assistance and insights!

Do you have a Craftsman home? If so, I'll pose a question similar to what I asked Bill above--what have been some of the greatest lessons you've learned throughout your ownership of it? Thanks again, Lauren!

Bungalow Style - By Treena Crochet is a pretty good book.  I just designed a craftsman home to build for myself and I got a ton of information from just googling it on google / images and also on Houzz.  If you read the original books by Stickley and others at the turn of the last century you may get ideas on how they proposed to build.  

I am actually building the craftsman on Cape Cod home to ........cape cod style homes.   If I see another new 26' x 36' cape with a breezeway and 1 car garage I'll scream....... Absolutely no originality.

Do you have a Craftsman-style home or rental properties? If so, any advice for someone who might be taking the plunge? Thanks again, Bill!

No. I am a finish carpenter who has had the pleasure to have done a craftsman style interior trim out upgrade on a newer home. Turned out amazing. It was surprisingly simple to create really ornate trim with very simple strait cuts. This is my only chance I have had with the craftsman style yet. Would love to do more. 

As far as advice goes all I can say is definitely go for it. Can't go wrong. It is a great looking, easy to do or replace. 

I would say find a house, any house, and just do it up in craftsman trim vs finding an older 'true craftsman' house. Do a real paint job on it and you will never have a problem selling or renting for top dollar. 

Would love to do another one of these.

@Jay M. , thanks for the great recommendations and the insights on the primary sources from Stickley and others. I imagine it’s especially interesting to see how they proposed building the homes they designed and to get a firsthand look at their philosophies and perspectives when first introducing them to the world.

I had to laugh at your comment about the Cape Cod homes around you. I lived in New Mexico for a number of years and can appreciate your sentiments—I love adobe homes but it’s easy to overdose on them in communities where the prevailing aesthetics (and zoning) lead even McDonalds and Wal-Mart to adapt and appropriate the style (but, at the very least, these are still major improvements over their traditional facades). That’s great to hear that you’re going against the grain with your Craftsman home. Best of luck with the build!

@Bill Buzzell , that sounds like it was a wonderful project. I hope you are able to work on more Craftsman-style homes and projects in the future. I appreciate the reminder to also see the potential for Craftsman trim and detailing in homes that weren’t originally built with them. I'll definitely be keeping this advice in mind. It seems like such a great opportunity to reinvigorate and give character to homes that currently lack it. And thanks so much for the encouragement to dive in on a Craftsman project. I greatly appreciate it!

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