Building a new Craftsman

zyllahJune 26, 2012


Sometime after we move in the fall to Maryland and our current house sells, we're looking to build a new craftsman. My husband likes new and I like old, so this seemed like the best solution. There are quite a few new construction craftsman-esque houses there in Bethesda and Arlington but they don't get it quite right. Anyway I am looking to be more historically accurate without being a zealot. I was just wondering if anyone who had built one had any words of advice or suggestions on floorplans. I have a short list of ones that I kind of like but I'm always willing to take a look at new ones. Thanks!

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We are in the middle of a new build influenced by the Prairie School. I listed below builders, designers and architects that came up during our discovery phase. Note that many of these are Midwest based. I found, "A Field Guide to American Houses" and "American House Styles: A Concise Guide" particularly helpful for identifying key design elements. (owned by Gladu)

Lots of nice (free) reference material on-line with simple key word searches on google:

Here is a link that might be useful: Build Blog

    Bookmark   June 26, 2012 at 10:58AM
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I've lived in a 1916, 6500 sq ft Arts and Crafts house. It was pretty upscale at the time it was built. But old houses are money-pits!! Something always needs repair or replacing. Our new house has craftsman elements, but is probably classified more as cottage? I think you've made a good choice by building a new home.

I agree that most builders don't get craftsman quite right. My suggestion to you would be to start collecting pictures and ideas of "details" you want in your new home. Lots of pictures! Take those pictures with you and interview a few architects to make sure they understand what you want in a home. You probably won't find a "tract" builder to give you the home you want. A craftsman home is all about the "details", and with a good custom builder you should be able to build your dream home. Don't rush into anything. I don't know what your budget it, but a real craftsman build can put a dent in the pocketbook.

A magazine I had subscribed to for years when I lived in the "old house" was American Bungalow. You will often find pictures of new craftsman houses there. Jon Rentfrow is an architect in Colorado, and his website has a lot of good pictures. (link below). Also, check out I found this website had more homes with craftsman elements than many others.

Good luck. Keep us posted!

Here is a link that might be useful: Jon Rentfrow Design

    Bookmark   June 26, 2012 at 11:58AM
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Thank you so much:)
Your house looks lovely! I really like prairie too. Ideally I'd do a Greene and Greene look I'm just not sure if that would blend well in suburban Maryland;)

    Bookmark   June 26, 2012 at 12:32PM
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Thanks Joyce,

I'd bet your old house was stunning. They had an elevation I loved but the floor plan was just terrible. My budget seemed high at first but now it seems really inadequate however I am very very good at finding sales/bargains. I also am hoping to find someone who will work with me on scalable finishes. Like some things clearly need to be done at time of construction...some things can be added later. It's not just cost, my oldest is 3 and my youngest is 15 months so I'd hate for something to get ruined by them.

    Bookmark   June 26, 2012 at 1:12PM
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Good luck, Zyllah. As I said before...if any picture you find (either interior or exterior) catches your eye, cut it out, print it...just save it. It will all come together in the end!!

    Bookmark   June 26, 2012 at 5:45PM
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And, set up a pinterest board for your inspiration pictures. Truly, and honestly, I've found that to be the easiest way for me to organize all the online inspirational content. (And, they are easy to post to GW from pinterest too, when it is time to post a question on how to get this look or that; etc)

    Bookmark   June 26, 2012 at 7:20PM
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I should have mentioned that is a wonderful place for inspiration. Search on "craftsman" and you will come up with hundreds of pages of ideas and pictures, both interior and exterior. And if you just ask, you can often find out a vendor of a particular item you like.

    Bookmark   June 27, 2012 at 3:24PM
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I love pinterest and On pinterest I'm also zyllah. I was looking at architectural salvage last night but nothing I saw really spoke to me. Otoh the stained glass artist who did the restoration work on the Greene and Greene houses actually cost much less than I thought he would.

    Bookmark   June 27, 2012 at 7:27PM
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