Archive for January, 2012

I have been waiting for a good day to talk about Craftsman style and today seems about right. Craftsman or Arts & Crafts is my absolute favorite home style and is my dream house!

The Craftsman movement started in Great Britain in the 1840s. The philosophy of the movement was to support honest craftsmanship, natural materials, and simple and pure design. Overall, these things were supposed to create a foundation for a good family life. Because of the rapid growth and movement that came along with the Industrial Revolution, architects were trying to provide a comfortable and laid back lifestyle. The main spokesmen and contributors of the movement were Augustus Pugin, John Ruskin, and William Morris.

The Arts & Crafts movement swept across the United States from 1905 to 1930. Craftsman style homes popped up everywhere across the country. This architecture tends to be more popular in middle class neighborhoods. Designers that carried the style and made it blossom even more in America were Greene and Greene.


The features that set Craftsman style apart from other styles are:

  • one to one and a half stories
  • a low pitched roof
  • wide eaves with triangular brackets
  • thick square columns on the porch
  • stone accents
  • exposed roof rafters
  • natural exterior materials – stone, shingles, wood, etc.
  • chunky window trim
  • top story usually has dormer windows




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Yesterday we talked about Cape Cod style homes so I thought it would be appropriate to continue with the Cape Cod style…but take it inside! There are a lot of Cape Cod features of interior design and architecture that are specific to this style.


Colors: Paint colors used in Cape Cod interior designs reflect elements of the beach and ocean. They include light blues, greens, and beiges. Many paint companies even offer “Cape Cod” collections that make it easy for anyone to get this look. Accent and molding colors are usually white. In rooms like the first picture below, there is a white washed wood beam ceiling. This makes the room feel even brighter and more open like the beach air.

Hardwoods: The traditional flooring for a Cape Cod style home is usually hardwood. I think that any darkness of wood works for this style, except red shades. Also, furniture should have a wood frame to keep with the natural theme of the room or house.

Fabrics: Lightweight fabrics will help sunlight flow into the room and not block it out. Also, prints should have shells or other nautical themes with faded colors; nothing too bold.


In yesterday’s post, I discussed how the top level of Cape Cod homes was used to board seafarers. Because of the limited access to the upper floor, most Cape Cod houses were build with Captain’s stairs. These are extremely narrow and steep.


Cape Cod interior style



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Cape Cod style is definitely in my top three favorite house styles.

They originated in Colonial New England in the 17th century and were built to withstand the harsh weather of the Massachusetts coast. They are very simple and do not have very many embellishments; Colonists had very few resources and shipments of building supplies, like large panes of glass, were very expensive from England. In order to keep the interior rooms warm during the winters, they were built with cedar shingle siding, fairly low ceilings, and large chimneys. The name “Cape Cod” house was actually coined by Reverend Timothy Dwight IV of Yale University after he visited the Massachusetts coast in 1800.


The main features that set the Cape Cod style apart are:

  • one or one and a half stories
  • shingle or clapboard siding on exterior, usually unpainted
  • centered front door
  • front door paint color matches shutters
  • a steep roof
  • usually dormer windows on roof
  • multi-paned, double hung windows
Modern versions of Cape Cod homes have a few differences from the tradition style. Families have started to remodel the attic and create finished bedrooms. Also, the shutters are purely decorative, chimneys are no longer in the center of the house, and additions or garages are attached at either end.


Cape Cod Style


Not only are there specific exterior features of Cape Cod style, but there are many interior features of Cape Cod style.


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Way Up in the Trees

Since today is Saturday, I decided to talk about a type of house that is a little different than what I usually describe…Tree houses!

Most of us had one or at least really wanted one when we were kids. Now that we’re grown up, tree houses don’t even cross our mind. Luckily, there are some adventurous people who never grew up and built tree house resorts that we can go experience for a few nights.

In some remote forest areas, tree houses are very practical and eco-friendly residences. They do not require land clearing in order to build and in   close-canopy forests, human habitation is extremely difficult on the ground level. Eco-friendly features can include solar water heating, composting toilets, and rainwater harvesting systems.

There are multiple ways of constructing the support system for tree houses. Stilts allow none or very little of the weight of the house to be put on the tree, but is only suitable if the tree is in close proximity to the ground. Friction and tension fasteners require nuts and bolts to be screwed into the tree and therefore could cause long term harm, so it is a challenge to make the least amount of holes possible. And finally, suspension connections include ropes and cables that allow the house to hang and sometimes make it difficult to gain access to the tree house.

Private Tree Houses

The first two pictures are of tree houses that were build on private land for recreational use. The third picture is the main residence of a tree house fanatic.


Tree House Resorts

The first picture is one of three tree house spheres available for rent at Free Spirit Spheres near Vancouver, Canada. The second picture is a Cedar Creek Treehouse at Mount Rainier and is available for rent. The third picture is a Canopy Treehouse at a luxury resort near Cairns, Australia and is also available for rent.



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Does anyone not like Tudor style?  So much character and grandeur! They can be found all over the country and usually in the form of gorgeous mansions. In fact, the middle picture below is one of my favorites on Lake Calhoun in Minneapolis.

Tudor Revival style is inspired by the Tudor Dynasty from England during the late 15th and early 16th centuries. The Tudor Revival style has been popular in the United States since the late 1800s. In Medieval England, there were many cottages and manor houses with this style. Main features of Tudor Revival style include:

  • decorative half-timbering
  • a steeply pitched roof
  • tall, narrow windows
  • at least two stories
  • usually asymmetrical
  • large, decorative chimneys
  • Tudor arch over front door

Perhaps the most recognizable feature is the half-timbering. In most cases, the timber is dark and surrounded by light colored stucco. The top story is sometimes jetties out over the bottom story creating a porch or pillared area. The front door will likely have an arch above it that is curved at the sides but comes to a point at the center; this is called a Tudor or four-centered arch. The windows will be tall and prevalent with square or diamond-shaped panes to give extra detail.

Current builders wishing to create the Tudor Revival look usually will create a house with any type of architecture and simply add decorative half-timbering on the exterior. Also, to avoid the maintenance of the timbering, builders will use PVC that is simply painted a dark brown.


Tudor Revival



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Art Moderne style is actually a type of Art Deco. While Art Deco usually means more sharp lines and bringht colors, Art Moderne means curved lines and pure white. This style originated from the ideas of Bauhaus design from Germany. It was popular in America from 1930 to 1950. Bauhaus architects focused on curved, triangular, and cone shapes. Art Moderne style is very futuristic and almost aerodynamic. Many times, this style is seen in buildings other than houses, like old diners. Many kitchen appliances were designed in the 30s with Art Moderne touches because the original Art Deco architecture had become very popular and overused.

Main features of Art Moderne style homes are:

  • a flat roof
  • smooth exterior walls
  • glass block windows or wraparound windows
  • asymmetrical
  • rounded corners
  • porthole windows and other nautical designs
Other Art Moderne buildings:



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Alright, they may not be called “cozy Bungalows” but I always think of warm and comforting little houses when talking about this style.

American Bungalow style was popular from 1905 to 1930. Bungalow style originated in the Bengal province of India. British colonists build them as summer homes. This style became popular in America because the layout is efficient and the exterior is easily customize-able to look unique from the neighbors.

Typical Bungalow features include:

  • a low pitched roof
  • one and a half stories
  • efficient and open floor plan with minimal hallways
  • small front porch
  • built ins for organization

There are many different variations of Bungalows, not limited to California Bungalows, Craftsman Bungalows, and Chicago Bungalows.

The different names explain the distinct finishing touches of the exterior.


California Bungalows


Craftsman Bungalows


Chicago Bungalows



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