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Craftsman-style homes shine with simplicity

Do you love a home that’s modest and affordable? Do you love a home with an overhung roof, simplistic lines and accents of natural materials that have been artistically crafted?

 If you answered yes, then a Craftsman style home is for you! Interestingly, the Craftsman style dates back hundreds of years.  Rumor has it that the British Officers who colonized India were inspired by natives’ cottages with smartly used natural materials, clean lines and large porches.  

In the 19th century, the British incorporated these elements of Indian architecture into their own homes, and this was the birth of the Arts & Crafts movement. The style was popularized and spread across America after an exhibit was held in Boston in 1897. 

This showed the expanding middle class the stylistic beauty, modesty and affordability of the Craftsman home.  According to Virginia Savage McAlester’s “A Field Guide to American Houses,”  the Craftsman home was the most dominant smaller-style home built across the United States from 1905 through the mid 1920s.

Defining features of Craftsman homes include: low pitched, triangular shaped roof, wide overhanging eaves with exposed roof rafters, covered front porch, large pillars along the entryway made of the natural materials used throughout the exterior of the home, and double hanging windows. 

These beautiful cozy homes are meant to be one with nature.  

In Still Water Architecture’s “The History of The Craftsman Style Home,” “The American Arts and Crafts style incorporates glass, wood, and metalwork artistically integrated to form simple yet elegant objects. 

In architecture, the style incorporated a sturdy structure characterized by clean lines and natural materials. 

It’s a house reduced to its simplest form with low, broad portions and completely no ornamentation. This gives a natural and unaffected design that seems to blend with any landscape.”

Built by the Pritchett Family around 1927, 236 East Main St., pictured above, is a lovely example of an American Craftsman-style home. Its strong, red brick exterior gently rises out of the ground and settles into a soft slope of the earth. 

The front gabled roof still has its original metal tin shingles intact. The home’s north facing entrance offers a long front porch that runs the width of the house with a wooden beadboard ceiling, and is enclosed by tapered brick pillars. It showcases the exposed wooden rafters and eaves, along with a double hanging window with small square accent windows along the roofline.  As Craftsmans were meant to look like their natural surroundings, 236 lets nature in with over 30 wood-framed windows allowing Mother Nature’s beauty to flow right in.

The southern facing rear of the house contains a single protruding dormer and a wood framed screened in porch.  The not quite 2,000-square-foot home has hosted five families over the last 100 years, and is still standing strong. All of the aspects of this home, really make it a gem of a Craftsman here in Jonesborough.

This Watching Buildings article was written by Zac and Kati Jenkins.