Craftsman homes initiated around the 1900’s inspired by the English Arts and Crafts movement (a reaction against the Industrial Revolution in an effort to promote the work of craftsmen and the handmade over the machine made), as well as by Oriental wooden architecture. They were primarily inspired by the work of two architect brothers — Charles Sumner Greene and Henry Mather Greene — who worked together in Pasadena, California.
Although the earliest creations of Craftsman houses are in southern California, Craftsman bungalows became the most popular style of small house throughout the country from about 1905 through the 1920’s.
Some of the characteristics of the exterior of craftsman house are a low-pitched gabled roof that reflect the influence of Oriental architecture, a front porch, tapered columns which support the porch roof, a partially paned door, multi-pane windows, earthy colors, and stone details.
In interior spaces, architects opted for simplicity and craftsmanship: “a luxury of taste substituting for a luxury of cost.” Walls were often wood-paneled to chair-rail or plate-rail height. Embracing simplicity, handiwork, and natural materials, Craftsman home plans are cozy, with clean lines and many homes are being renovated with a modern vibe by using brighter colors. Built-ins are a common feature, like the coat rack and bookcases. You’ll also find beadboard ceilings in natural wood. Banquette seating is common in craftsman kitchens, making the most of a small space. Natural woodwork is also a common staple.
Many of the neighborhoods surrounding Downtown feature a great number of these beautiful homes including South Park, Kensington, North Park, Mission Hills, and Normal Heights.