Have you ever walked into a home that felt not only comfortable and cozy but utterly original? The kind of home that makes you do a full circle spin in the passageway and release an audible “ooh?” Who doesn’t want that sort of reaction from a guest when they first step foot in your abode?
Unfortunately, in today’s sleek and modern society, where people are more likely to have an Alexa and a set of stainless steel appliances than a curated living room full of unique antiques, that kind of craftsman charm is hard to find.
Craftsman houses, which became popular after the Victorian era and sprung from the British Arts and Crafts movement, still stand today, but buying a home that was built 100 years ago comes with a pandora’s box of problems. Plumbing issues, electrical issues, poor insulation, and creaky floorboards are just a few of the downsides to buying an older home. Many people who are looking to set down their roots prefer new construction houses, real estate that promises the buyer will be the first person to live there.
While new constructions save a lot of hassle and offer a blank slate, you may find yourself lusting after those older historic homes. Luckily, there is still a way to add the craftsman touch of the 1920s to your brand-spanking-new house. Here’s how:
Built-in details add a ton of character to a home. Don’t be afraid to branch out from bookshelves. It’s relatively easy to add any kind of built-in cabinet or shelving system. Build benches beneath your windows, or little nooks under your staircase. Built-in closets or half-closets are another option. You can build up over a fireplace that is already there, or you could really commit and build in an entire fireplace from scratch!
There’s something about having the bookshelves and cabinets be a part of the existing home, rather than just pieces you bring in from a mass-produced furniture warehouse, that adds that craftsman feel. They may seem daunting to do yourself, but you can accomplish most built-in additions by buying materials at your local hardware store or lumberyard. Then fill with your favorite books, or toss a blanket and pillow over your new built-in bench.
Another great way to add character is adding detail to your ceilings. It’s that extra step of adding decor to the space above your head that gives a home a craftsman feel; it makes your guests, and yourself, feel like someone took the time to pay attention to even the parts of your home that you might not see at first glance. Wood paneling, chandeliers, or coffered ceilings add that extra level of personalization to your home. Wood paneling is also an excellent option for accent walls. You can even add wood beams that run across the ceiling for extra character. Opt for dark colors if your walls are light, or light colors if your walls are dark. Craftsman details are all about contrast.
Molding is a general term for any kind of trim around doors, walls, or windows. Rather than just leaving your white walls blank and flat, add some three-dimensional detailing. Molding adds texture and contrast. Picture your children running their hands over the intricate details, as they skip down your hallway. You can get as simple or elaborate as you like when it comes to molding, from simple trim to ornate floral designs like the one above.
Unsure how to add something like this to your home? It doesn’t have to be a complicated endeavor. There are plenty of DIY videos out there to assist you if you’re bold enough, but any contractor or carpenter should be able to take on the job if you’d rather delegate it!
Once you’ve added your built-ins, your crown molding, your fireplace, and your fancy ceiling details, it would look totally bizarre if you populated your house with furniture that doesn’t match the same level of personalization and character. Craftsman furniture, as you can probably tell by the name, means it has been crafted by hand in small collections. However, it can be expensive to get every chair or table in your house from your local artist. Check out thrift stores, charity stores, and flea markets. Estate sales and garage sales are good hunting grounds as well. Ask your elderly family members if you can take that old armoire off their hands. Look for real wood pieces in varying contrasting shades to add life to your home. Craftsman furniture can be heavy, but adding sturdy and well-built pieces will add more than just aesthetic charm to your home, they will last for years!
Sometimes going to the big-budget furniture store just makes more sense for your budget. If that’s the case, don’t be afraid to customize your pieces by adding wood touches or sanding down and refinishing.
Last but not least, the front door! The gateway to your home. The first thing your guests touch and see before they enter your domicile. You don’t have to stick with the front door that comes with your house. There are a ton of styles and colors to choose from to add charm and character to your home’s exterior. Craftsman doors are often heavy wood and feature wood paneling around them and glass panes within them. But remember, the word Craftsman comes from Arts and Crafts. You have the freedom to get creative. The essential elements in a Craftsman front door are detail and originality, whether you want to paint it bright yellow, or stick to classic cherrywood.
So there you have it! 5 (relatively) easy ways to add craftsman charm and curated character to your new home. Even if you have been living in your home for a little while now, you can give it an update by taking it back in time. Just wait for those coveted “oohs” out of your guests’ mouths when you invite them round for tea.