The Arts and Crafts Style started in the 1800s. Great Britain saw the beginning of the movement with the close of the lavish style of the Victorian Era and the onslaught of industrialization. American builders picked up on the style and it became very popular by the 1900s. The arts and crafts style brought harmonious style between the furnishings of the inside with the surroundings of the outside. Now there was, instead of the heavy ornamental embellishments of Victorian Britain, the look of an artisan’s and the work of a craftsman reflecting life, warmth and color in a handcrafted fashion.
Many homes from that time period are still being remodeled to suit today’s needs without compromising the integrity of the arts and crafts style. There are challenges to this kind of endeavor; the end result is worth the challenge. In keeping to the outdoor influences and bringing them to the inside, a natural look must be maintained. Focus on clean lines, handcrafted and natural materials, and natural stone, brick and wood elements both original in the house and in reproduction pieces.
These homes were designed with segregated kitchens, family room and bedrooms, with usually only one bathroom; not easy to live with in our modern times. Today’s homeowners want open spaces, open kitchens and dining areas, and at least two bathrooms: the guest’s and the master’s. A good contractor can often find the “space” needed somewhere in order to maintain that cozy feel of the house.
A good designer will draw attention to the strong lines found in the style, contrasting the linear style and incorporating subtle curves in wall coverings or a piece of focal point furnishing such as the dining room table. To get that artisan’s look, use clay, copper and organic quality pieces in the form of Japanese or Native American influenced accessories. Keep lighting warm. Lamps can be stained glass or use mica shades.
Make sure your contractor understands how important the details are in the arts and crafts style home—simple lines with very little ornamentation; handmade detailing in molding, cabinetry and accents; tall baseboards and crown moldings. Consider keeping the enclosed porches and sunrooms, or those could become that needed space for that extra bathroom. Just be true to this beautiful style, one of art and craftsmanship.
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