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Elements of Style

Arts & Crafts Books - Interior Design
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Hand carved wood panels on furniture, doors and inset wall panels become the norm.

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Elements of Style
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Courtesy of Freccia Studios - Muralists. www.frecciastudios.com

Decorative friezes, often hand painted, help establish the flowing,
organic feeling to Arts & Crafts interiors.

Picking up on the styles and philosophies of William Morris and Charles Renie Macintosh, the American Arts & Crafts movement offered a total way of life-grounded first and foremost in the design of the home and its furnishings.

The Arts & Crafts ideal stressed simplicity, natural materials like wood and brass, and a return to individual craftsmanship-as opposed to the newly dominant methods of mass production. Ornament in Arts & Crafts pieces is limited, and when present, it is meant to echo the function and construction techniques of the piece.

Arts & Crafts pieces were made between about 1895 to 1915 in the U.S. They are based on heavy, rectilinear forms balanced by exquisite details that serve to visually lighten their lines. Visible tenons connect parts of a chair, and Corbel brackets reinforce joints to create graceful profiles. Open parallel slats abound, and stained glass is a staple of Arts & Crafts lamps and home design, contrasting the stability of wood with the soothing presence of air and light.
 

Arts & Crafts Lighting

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  Arts and Crafts Chandeliers
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A classic Arts & Crafts lamp.
Wooden base with mica lamp shade.

Arts & Crafts house plans emphasize integration of the house and its environment, using indigenous materials and open visual and physical passage between interior and exterior. Porches, terraces, and porte-cocheres are key to this merging of house and nature. Floor plans are asymmetrical and open, often blending living rooms, dining rooms and reception areas into a flow of spaces.

A blend of natural textures; wood, ceramic and fabric.

American Arts & Crafts was dominated by Gustav Stickley of Upstate New York, Greene & Greene of California, and of course, Frank Lloyd Wright. While Greene & Greene and Wright were heavily influenced by Japanese design, and worked mostly in the high-end market, Stickley and his counterpart Elbert Hubbard tried to bring the earnest 'Craftsman Ideal' to the mass production process. They each designed and manufactured the heavy, slatted oak and leather furniture that now fetches top dollar at auctions. They also published magazines-Hubbard's The Roycrofter and Stickley's The Craftsman: An Illustrated Monthly Magazine in the Interest of Better Art, Better Work, and a Better and More Reasonable Way of Living-featuring bungalow blueprints and other craftwork guides that are still used by devotees of the Craftsman Ideal.

Elements of Arts & Crafts Style:
Arts and Crafts Elements of Style
Arts & Crafts Books - Interior Design Lighting
Fine Art Prints - Arts & Crafts   Arts and Crafts Chandeliers
Ceiling Medallions   Arts & Crafts Table Lamps
Furniture   Arts & Crafts Floor Lamps
Hardware - handles & knobs Stained Glass
Moldings, cornices, niches Step-by-Step Tutorials

Proportion and scale, along with the interplay between linear movement and the spacious qualities of light play an integral role in creating balance and harmony within the room.

Doors: As the entrance, and welcoming space of the house, doors and porches played an important role in the Arts & Crafts movement.

Early Arts & Crafts doors were often of plain plank construction, fitted with elaborate hinges and latches, rather than knobs, inspired by medieval forms. Later in the movement, painted motifs became popular--either freehand or stenciled--and were supported visually by the use of stained glass.
 

Windows: The importance placed on light and air is reflected in the large window areas of later Arts & Crafts houses. Sash windows were commonly used, often incorporating leaded glass as a key detail. Elongated window proportions exemplified this style and one would commonly see the pairing of an upper sash bearing small rectangular panes with a tall, single-paned lower sash.
 

Arts & Crafts Stained Glass



Walls: Color played an important role in the decorator's approach, and a 3 part division of the wall into dado, field and frieze was almost always employed. Full paneling on walls was used on occasion, and stenciled friezes were also favored. With the design of fine wallpapers, lead by Morris and Company of London and Warren, Fuller and Co. of NY, wallpaper was also an accepted wall covering. Early papers boasted floral and medieval designs while the later period would take on Japanese influences. Tapestry hangings were widely used in late interiors.

Ceilings: In the early period, remaining true to medieval designs was preeminent. Treatments included chamfered beams, designed plaster ceilings, with occasional painting and gilding. Decoration that incorporated painted stenciling was desirable, but as the cost might be prohibitive, ceiling papers, often embossed, became much more common. In the later periods, intricate, prefabricated plaster work was frequently used.

Floors: Being true to this movement, it was generally considered that only wood or stone was acceptable for floors. Indigenous woods in America were used, oak or maple, most commonly.
Carpets were regularly used, and though authentic Indian, Turkish and Persian carpets were favored, often machine-manufactured carpets were the norm.

 

Furniture: A strong design element of the Arts & Crafts movement was the regular use of built-in furniture. It was practical and minimized the clutter that was common in the Victorian era. A window seat beneath a bay window or a bench and sideboard against a wall in the dining room might be incorporated into the house design, for example.



 

Details: The desire for openness and light stimulated the use of stained-glass in the Arts & Crafts environment. Doors, windows, wall partitions to lamp shades were all treated with this colorful material. With the development of the electric bulb, lighting took on a new meaning within this period. Glass in combination with fine ironwork resulted in innovative ways to accent - as well as provide functional light for - the indoor environment.

 


 
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Stenciled mosaic patterns and hand painted scrolls embellish this Arts & Crafts powder room.

 


 

Window Style

Lighting Style



Beautiful stained glass.



Lighting plays an important role in Arts & Crafts style.

Door Style



Elaborate hinged doors



and knockers.

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