Craftsman house plans are based on the thinking of English designers, including John Ruskin and William Morris, who launched the Arts and Crafts Movement, which celebrated handicrafts and encouraged the use of simple forms and natural materials. In the United States, the style was perfected by the California architects Charles and Henry Greene and widely publicized in home magazines of the time, where it was sometimes called Western Stick style. Between the two world wars, they sprang up by the thousands all over the country, thanks to mail-order plan books.
Sharing characteristics of Bungalow and Prairie styles and sometimes influenced by the building techniques of the Far East, Craftsman home plans typically feature a low pitched roof with multiple intersecting gables. Often the façade will include more than one gable end, with triangular knee braces lending interest. Wide eaves with exposed rafter tails are a hallmark of Craftsman style, along with hefty “battered” (tapered) piers that support the ubiquitous front porch. Though most Craftsman homes are constructed of wood, the piers may be crafted from stone or brick. Together with the low profile and the tapering piers, the use of natural materials gives the Craftsman home an organic feel. Inside, Craftsman floor plans have few hallways, with rooms flowing one into another. A high level of detail is designed to increase functionality, with useful features such as built-in benches and cabinetry.