Arts & Crafts Cottage Style

Make the look yours with this guide to style elements, outstanding products, and sources.
Text by Paige Latham and Gayle K. Christopher
Everything old is new again—and that definitely includes Arts and Crafts style. Developed at the turn of the last century by designers such William Morris and Henry and Charles Greene, Arts and Crafts once seemed revolutionary: Following decades of Victorian excess, artists were embracing clean lines and simple geometry. Instead of machine tooling, items were handmade and looked it. And suddenly everything from tables and chairs to wallpaper and textiles drew inspiration from nature, and celebrated the talents of individual craftsmen.

Today there are scores of books and Web sites dedicated to the Arts and Crafts movement (and its cousins Mission and Craftsman). Whether you’re looking to add one accent to a room or to transform your entire home, we’ve pulled together useful background information and some of our favorite sources of inspiration.

LIGHTING
Trademarks: Fixtures with geometric shapes, mica shades, and colorful stained glass elements. Original pieces were often made of copper, bronze, or burnished brass. For period reproductions, visit rejuvenation.com, arroyo-craftsman.com, oldcalifornia.com or restorationhardware.com.

FURNITURE
Trademarks: Details such as exposed joinery and custom hardware. Clean lines. Natural motifs. Craftsman-style furniture has been produced by Stickley for more than 100 years (stickley.com). Textiles are available at rivendellwoodworks.com or williammorrisfabric.com. Find local craftsmen in your area for custom pieces made of natural materials (see arts-crafts.com), or if you are handy, order a do-it-yourself kit from vandykes.com.

WALLS
Warm, earthy colors to complement natural materials. Stencils, borders, and wallpaper are also popular—particularly those with floral motifs. See burrows.com or crafthome.com/products.

FIREPLACE
Imposing mantels made of wood or stone. Extensive use of plain and glazed brick and tile. See rivendellwoodworks.compewabic.org, and motawitile.com.

EXTERIOR
Extended eaves, exposed beams, tiled or shingled roofs. Houses constructed of clincker bricks, natural stone, or wood shakes all used to blend with the natural surroundings. Hardware (doorknobs, mailboxes) expressive of handcrafting, often made of hammered copper or wrought iron with exposed, stylized fasteners. Visit restorationhardware.com, rejuvenation.com, svbronze.com, and vandykes.com.

For more information on the Arts and Crafts style, visit the Los Angeles County Museum of Art, or take a virtual tour of the Frank Lloyd Wright Room at the Metropolitan Museum of Art. You can also read In the Arts and Crafts Style, by Barbara Mayer, Elaine Hirschl Ellis, and Rob Gray (photographer); or Craftsman Style by Robert Winter and Alexander Vertikoff.