Arts & Crafts Custom Millwork

“Arts & Crafts” is not so much a style as an umbrella term for an approach to design and living. It encompasses such style genres as Mission Revival, Stickley-related Craftsman, Midwestern Prairie School, California Bungalow, and English design from William Morris to Charles Rennie Mackintosh.  It was a break from conventions of Victorian homes to form a unqiue american style.

4 Types of Craftsman-Style Homes

When discussing Craftsman-style homes, separating a couple of types can help you order fitting millwork. High diversity within this design genre which attempted a new american aesthetic. We can distinguish four main types of middle class Craftsman-style homes commonly built across the United States.

The Classic Craftsman Bungalow:

Typically modest in size, and one story, is known for its cozy, open floor plan and inviting front porch. The bungalow’s tapered columns and low-pitched roof showcase its dedication to simplicity and functionality, making it a lasting favorite among homeowners (and movie directors because it was developed in Los Angeles!).

The Prairie-Style Craftsman:

Frank Lloyd Wright’s bold inspiring designs led the Prairie Style from Chicago. Only in the Usonia subdivision were they small enough to be reachable for the average of income.  General variations emphasizes horizontal lines and flat or low-pitched roofs. Large overhanging eaves and rows of windows try for a harmonious connection with the surrounding landscape. Heavy use of strong vertically predominant geometric designs show up in the woodworking and leaded glass.  Room light from a high slit window designed for light, but not viewing outdoors.

The Mission-Revival Craftsman:

Rooted in Spanish colonial architecture, showcasing stucco exteriors, arched doorways, and terra-cotta roof tiles. Mission-Revival Craftsman homes often feature elaborate, handcrafted details such as tilework and ornamental ironwork, blending Old World charm with the developing Craftsman sensibility and naturally flowing from the west coast centered Bungalow movement.

The Four-Square Craftsman:

Known for its boxy, symmetrical design and two-story structure, the Four-Square Craftsman offers practicality and efficiency. With its hipped roof, central dormer, and spacious front porch, this style provides ample living space while maintaining the trademark Craftsman craftsmanship.  Stain grade trim, open rooms divided by colonnades, breakfast nooks and other built in seating brings a modest sized house touches of luxury that are middle class american trademarks.

Woodwork & Finish Carpentry for the Craftsman Home

Houses of this period (ca. 1890s–1930s) often have woodwork that’s a clear indication of style and even region. Woodwork and stained trim are style-defining characteristics of bungalows, Tudors, and other houses of the Arts & Crafts stylistic groups.  One fixture of the design style is the use of stain grade trim.  Following along second are the built in cabinets and shelves also presented in open grain.  The period was a sociological sea change, not driven by technology, but by the overall rejection of the Victorian era’s overly ornate decoration of everything while Americans were looking to define their own national style and identity.

The Arts & Crafts Colonnade

A motif of the period’s interiors, these open-plan room dividers have swung back in favor in new construction. An easily identifyable hallmark of Craftsman interiors is the colonnade, serving as a defining feature of the period’s design ethos. These room dividers, now experiencing a resurgence, were often built with mirror-image pairs and adorned with beams or arches. Gepetto Millworks excels in crafting custom colonnades, whether replicating historic pieces or creating new ones, incorporating traditional joinery techniques and premium hardwoods. With options ranging from classic oak to chestnut, Gepetto’s custom colonnades are also popular among modern revival enthusiasts.Old installations are no longer removed but instead stripped and refinished; new fixtures are a popular custom order with us for those building homes in this revival style or to match the neighborhood’s tone. Room-dividing colonnades usually appear in mirror-image pairs, the two sides often surmounted by a beam or an arch. Pillars may be set atop a pedestal wall that’s knee- to chest-high, perhaps incorporating built-in bookcases, leaded glass cupboards on either side or even a bench seat on occasion. Round classical columns are used, but the square “bungalow” pillars appeared in period millwork catalogs and have become one of those features most easily identified. Colonnades of oak or chestnut were clear-finished, or commonly stained dark. Painted colonnades, too, were in evidence and are particularly popular in the modern revival – but you’ll never convince us wood loving purists.  If you are considering a revival build – contact us to talk about some unique species that would be a nice complement to feature in this visual centerpiece of your room.  We are getting a lot of orders from the North Carolina Triad – Winston Salem, High Point, and Greensboro; Charlotte NC, and the Raleigh Durham regions for these moderately sized Colonnade and shelving designs that provide useful storage and a classy upgrade to the tract built cookie cutter homes easily obtainable in this region.

The Craftsman Breakfast Nook:

It seems every bungalow book, kitchen advertisement, house plan, and millwork catalog of the period featured an eating nook, cozy and often with whimsical detail. How many of them were actually built is up for question; adorable in illustration, they were a woodwork add-on that didn’t always make it to construction. The ones that did were ripped out during the inevitable kitchen remodelings that followed. But the nook is back in vogue, desirable both for restored bungalow kitchens and in new homes designed to be small and efficient.  Unlike the painted breakfast nooks of the period, those of the revival may be built of furniture-quality hardwoods, as with this quarter-sawn oak table and benches in a kitchen.

The treads are oak and the balustrade maple, but aniline dyes create a consistent look in a stair designed by Virginia architect Jim Erler and patterned after woodwork in a Greene & Greene house.

The Arts & Crafts staircase:

For decades there have been two “default styles” for staircases: Colonial Revival and Modern. Today new houses are likely to have craftsman-built stairs, often in hardwoods like oak, with Craftsman, Mission, or Art Nouveau styling. In old houses, the staircase is a style- and era-defining element. Even when doors, mantels, and trim have been lost to time, the staircase can provide clues for restoration.

A gently updated galley kitchen in a 1930 California beach cottage keeps the vintage style of cabinets and the jigsaw-cut, ventilated “half door” under the sink. Photo by Tom Lamb, from Vintage Cottages


Style-specific trim:

“Arts & Crafts” is not so much a style as an umbrella term for an approach to design and living. It encompasses such style conventions as Mission Revival, Stickley-related Craftsman, Midwestern Prairie School, California Bungalow, and English design from William Morris to Charles Rennie Mackintosh. Houses of this period (ca. 1890s–1930s) often have woodwork that’s a clear indication of style and even region.

That kind of specificity is back, as the Arts & Crafts Revival becomes more and more sophisticated. Look for doors and trim right out of The Craftsman magazine; Prairie School window assemblages and flat moldings; Tudor mantels and staircases; Asian-inspired woodwork and built-ins in the manner of famous Pasadena architects Greene & Greene.

Choosing the right windows for a Craftsman-Style Homes

Incorporating the right windows into a Craftsman-style home is essential for achieving a harmonious balance between form and function. The perfect window selection will complement the home’s architecture and enhance its natural beauty and character. Let’s see what types you should consider for the right window system.

Craftsman-style homes traditionally incorporate natural materials and earthy tones, including solid wood windows. Of course, you can still use windows with other materials like UPVC or Aluminum, but select the suitable veneer resembling the wood texture with the benefits of more contemporary materials. Although double-hung windows are the most popular window type in historic homes, you can easily incorporate other types like casement or awning windows. Even picture windows can find their place in Craftsman-style homes. Choose windows that allow for an abundance of light.

Their geometric, original profile line guarantees a timeless design full of character, perfect for single or multi-family homes. With the Colorful technology, you can get the perfect wooden look with all the benefits like high energy efficiency, low maintenance, and long durability.