Arts and Crafts Home Architectural Style
The Arts and Crafts remodeling Minneapolis movement began around the 1990’s when many people embraced the idea that “less is more.” The Arts and Crafts movement, which arose in the British Isles, was an international design aesthetic that flourished toward the end of the 19th century, though some consider it to have spanned the years 1860 to 1930. It was essentially a revolt against what its leaders believed to be the Industrial Revolution’s dehumanization of the common laborer. Art and social critic John Ruskin asserted that medieval architecture, whose focus was on craftsmanship and the caliber of the materials used, offered the ideal working conditions because people felt sustained by their vocations. He argued that laborers back then loved and took pride in their work, and that industrialization was breeding factory employees whose long hours along with the mind-numbing repetition of their work were destructive to the human spirit.
The craftsman’s ideal of hands-on work from the beginning of a project through its completion was further developed by furniture and interior designer William Morris. He insisted that he understand both the materials and how to make the products himself before giving his company the go-ahead to produce its home décor. Morris and other members of his like-minded “Brotherhood” began to espouse their ideas in The Oxford and Cambridge magazine. His vision came to fruition when his famous Red House in London, which featured spacious porches, a high-pitched roof, brick fireplaces, wooden fittings and other natural forms, was built. On the heels of Morris’ groundbreaking accomplishments, associations, organizations and guilds, most notably the Art Workers Guild, were formed to promote and support craftsmen.
Great Britain’s Arts and Crafts movement eventually made its way across the pond, taking hold in North America just before the turn of the century. Specifically, it was the Arts and Crafts Exhibition in Chicago in 1897 that kick-started the movement in the States. As a whole, attendees were less overtly political than the Europeans; they were less interested in social issues or forming Utopian communities and guilds than in the basics of home decoration. True, the American Arts and Crafts design philosophy was also anti–mass production and committed to protecting the dignity of the worker. But that didn’t mean devotees of the movement followed the Brits’ hard line against the use of machines; some, in fact, embraced mechanization, especially if it provided jobs for more ordinary folks and made purchasing homes easier for American dreamers. When it came to, for instance, While the English rejected the overwrought and gaudy ornamentation of Victorian architecture, for instance, the Americans’ departure from that obsolete style was mostly for a practical reason: It just wasn’t economical.
Another reason Arts and Crafts thrived was the urbanization of America. As farmers flocked to cities and the demand for housing increased, architects responded by building dwellings with a rural aesthetic and furnishing them with objects that invoked the countryside.
Even a trend as popular as this movement had to wane at some point. By 1915, the country was seeking a new style to become infatuated with. And by 1916, Gustav Stickley printed the last edition of The Craftsman.
It is important to note that Californians and brothers Charles Sumner Greene and Henry Mather Greene are credited with creating a unique style by combining aspects of Arts and Crafts and Japanese imperial and temple structures. Moreover, they are renowned for their excellence in designing the holistic living environments idealized by their colleagues.
In the 1990s, many Americans began to simplify their lifestyles. “Less is more” became a common theme. People wanted to declutter; and with that, they re-embraced the values of the Arts and Crafts movement. Unlike the early 1900s, however, the houses are no longer inexpensive.