Sears BungalowFollowing a trend has its downside. Once the trend has passed, you are left with a dated pile of hip huggers. Or low riders. Or whatever. Still, I have fallen in love with the resurgence of the American Craftsman homes. Maybe that's a risk, but I couldn't help myself.

According to Daniel S. Morrison, in his article Ranch Makeover, Bungalow Style, there are eight signature elements of a craftsman-style bungalow home. These include:

  1. Half-walls with tapered columns define rooms without closing the floor plan.
  2. An inglenook provides a cozy fireside retreat.
  3. Elegant trim details are based on simpleprofiles.
  4. Period light fixtures add authenticity.
  5. A large dormer uses space efficiently but keeps the house profile small.
  6. Stout columns anchor the roof.
  7. Abundant windows offer natural light, fresh air, and an outdoor connection.
  8. A sheltered porch invites neighborly interaction and provides an intermediate layer of protection between indoors and out.

So, how does our particular version of a modern American Craftsman home stack up?

  1. Love the idea, but not so much the implementation. Either we didn't want to close off the spaces at all or we wanted them completely closed off, for sound-proofing, etc.
  2. We will have a couple of fireplaces, one in the family room, the other in the master. And they'll be lovely and cozy. But no proper inglenook.
  3. Here we have a match. I love the big, flat, plain trim of the craftsman style. It's not messy or goopy and it's easy to clean. Seems like it should be less expensive than the goopy, fancy stuff, too. Three thumbs up to that.
  4. While we'll try to retain some of the plain style of the craftsman period light fixtures, the truth is I don't like the way most of them look. The amber glass, bronze detailing, and general shape seem dark and unappealing to me.
  5. While we're definitely going for a smaller home profile, it's not really dormers that are accomplishing the feat. We have one over the two-story entry, and a couple more for visual interest. But that's about it on the dorm front.
  6. We will be having the traditional columns on the house, at least on the porch. Perhaps more once we get the exterior details finalized.
  7. We love big windows. But we also love low utilities. I'm not sure where our home plans lie on the authenticity continuum, but we feel they are a balance between lots of light and fresh air and getting the benefits of the energy efficiency of the rest of the home building materials.
  8. A big front porch is definitely high on the must-have list. And it will be covered. So we're on target with the American Craftsman tradition on this item.

So is our house really an American Craftsman home? Let's call it an authentic Modern Retro Smith Family American Craftsman Bungalow. I'm good with that.