From 1900 to 1930, the Craftsman style of architecture was the favorite design for many United States homes, according to the Antique Home Style blog. Started by two California brothers, Charles and Henry Greene, this new trend in homebuilding quickly spread throughout the country due to the publication of pattern books and the endorsement of popular magazines. The bungalow, the most famous variation of the Craftsman style, was generally a one-story house with a low-pitched roof, broad eaves and a large porch, all built with quality materials. For the first time, home ownership was feasible for most of the middle class. Sears even sold kits that could be sent by train and assembled by local laborers to further reduce costs, Virginia and Lee McAlester said in "A Field Guide to American Houses."
Banks of Windows
Windows are an important part of the Craftsman design. Often a house features a bank of windows. They are grouped to capture a large amount of natural light, according to Living Places. One popular window arrangement involved a grouping of three windows, specifically a large center window with smaller windows on each side. Frequently the larger window had a row of lights, or small identical panes, above a larger solid pane. For instance, a window that is 3 1/2 feet wide might have four lights (panes) in a row at the top, each measuring 9 inches square separated by three 2-inch wide vertical strips of wood. Another strip of wood would frame them at the bottom of the row, and below that a larger pane of glass would measure 3 1/2 feet across by whatever the remaining length of the window would be. This window would be fixed, or unable to be opened.
Types of Sash Operations
Craftsman windows are mounted to open in a number of different ways. Casement windows, one of the most common styles, have hinges anchoring them on one side and open outward like a door, a Craftsman survey done by Glendale, California, showed. Awning windows have hinges at the top and are pushed out to open, while hopper windows are mounted in the opposite manner - they are hinged at the bottom and open into the room. Some windows on a Craftsman house are fixed and cannot be opened. A few have sliding windows or ones that pivot out from an attachment at a central point on the window's top and bottom. Finally, some windows have built-in louvered shutters.
Patterns in Windows
Generally, when the lights above a larger pane were used, they were arranged in single or double rows. Examples exist, however, where the lights are set in a diamond, or other geometric, pattern. Stained glass was prevalent in this era, and some Craftsman houses highlighted stained or leaded glass windows, expanding on the artisan work included in the structure of the house.
The popularity of the Craftsman style began as the Victorian house style was declining, but some houses classified as Craftsman still have some Victorian elements, according to the Glendale survey. These elements included window features. Some Craftsman houses have long narrow windows, echoing the strong vertical Victorian influence. Bay windows, heavily used in Victorian design, also frequently show up in Craftsman bungalows.
As a testament to their quality materials and workmanship, many Craftsman houses are still inhabited today. The new breed of green builders are borrowing elements from the style, particularly the windows. Lots of windows to let in natural light are required in new eco-friendly homes, and most are double hung, as were the majority of windows in Craftsman houses. Double hung windows have two sashes that overlap slightly and each part is capable of sliding up or down inside the frame, as opposed to single hung types where the top sash is fixed and only the lower sash is movable.
- Photo Credit house with wrap around porch image by Kathy Burns from Fotolia.com
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