modern craftsman style

As declared by The Wall Street Journal earlier in the month, home buyers are currently embracing the contemporary craftsman approach. This fact alone initiates the dialogue about the significance of the Modern Craftsman style as presently showcased by homeowners across the United States.

Historically speaking, the American Craftsman style as seen by the Gamble House above is primarily considered to be representative of the Arts and Crafts Movement. There is much to be said about the origin and significance of these design aesthetics. However, to obtain a deeper understanding, please contemplate what the Metropolitan Museum of Art has to say.

“The Arts and Crafts movement emerged during the late Victorian period in England, which was the most industrialized country in the world at that time. Anxieties about industrial life fueled a positive revaluation of hand craftsmanship and pre-capitalist forms of culture and society. Arts and Crafts designers sought to improve standards of decorative design, believed to have been debased by mechanization, and to create environments in which beautiful and fine workmanship governed.”

William Morris, displayed in the above portrait, positioned himself in the foreground of this movement in England. He established himself as a cultural icon of Victorian England by ardently advocating qualities of craftsmanship over the mechanized and industrialized concepts of the arts and trades.

The prominence of the Arts and Crafts Movement initially began to take hold in Boston. It arose elsewhere in the states at the very end of the 19th Century. The strongest point of emphasis was placed on locally handcrafted wood, tile, glass, stone and metal work. In a real American sense, the Arts and Crafts Movement was refined by the architects Greene and Greene of Pasadena, California.

Transitioning into modern times, The Wall Street Journal expresses another substantial point. It states, “Buyers and builders are mixing and matching craftsman elements, such as exposed rafters and natural stone with contemporary floor plans and high ceilings.” They continue by quoting Tim Gehman of Toll Architecture, part of the luxury home builder Toll Brothers: “In the last five years, I have seen this style explode on the East Coast.”

Nevertheless, students of architecture and design today are likely to associate Craftsmen with the American West Coast, due to the Pasadena connection. Logically, with the intervention of the Internet, the Arts and Crafts Movement has expanded organically throughout the country.

It may seem somewhat of an oxymoron to combine the words “modern” and “craftsman.” However, it was the examination of the virtue of truth of design and craftsmanship which launched the Arts and Crafts Movement. This aspect fits closely at hand with the open and clean design themes which are so strongly desired today.

Our sister company, Materials Marketing, is proud to offer an inspirational selection of stone, glass and wood tile. Visit one of  their 10 showrooms located across the United States for an exquisite selection of these materials. They offer professionals in every location to teach you how to create this attractive trend within your modern household.


Design Tips from Nature, Now

There is an obvious point in the design process where your angst begins to overly influence you. The open questions continue to outnumber the answers. Previously in this space we discussed a potential solution. That is to consider  a few ideas from nature. There is cool website,, that we read and try to absorb on a regular basis. They recently gave us a post entitled 10 Design Lessons You Can Learn From Nature”. Perhaps we should take a look at the last five ideas for todays post.

Natural Cycles – The inevitable structure of Spring, Summer, Fall and Winter give us a natural cadence to play with. Why not brighten things up in the Spring and warm up a space in the Winter. Simple enough ? After all says that, “the beauty of the natural world is all around us, just waiting to inspire your home decor—you just need to stop for a moment, taking it all in and then replicating it within your home”.

Details Matter – Note that every small item in nature has a purpose. So too should every element in a design plan!

Change – Freshome tells us, “nature is never constant–everything is growing and changing”Be prepared to do the same.

Design Tips from Nature

Obstacles – Again from,  “just as a tree root grows around boulders to get to a water source, we need to work around our homes obstacles”. For example, don’t let a strange legacy floor plan inhibit your creativity in a re-model. Roll with it and see what might happen!

Be Diverse – Nature is bio-diverse in form, color and texture to name just a few. Take a cue from that approach in any space.

Stone is a great example of a natural element for modern interiors. Materials Marketing has ten showrooms where you can see that very idea in practice. Stop in and visit!