Your Guide to Authentic Craftsman Door and Window Design
Whether you’re building a brand-new Craftsman home or restoring a historic model, you know the doors and windows are a large part of what makes a Craftsman beautiful. If you want to make sure your final design is authentic to the guiding styles of Craftsman design, consider the following tips when choosing your doors and windows.
Rule of Three
Craftsman design was all about eye-pleasing symmetry with straight lines that reflected the simplicity of nature. Large picture windows were less common than sets of three windows cased together as a feature element in a room. The top half of each window was usually divided into three vertical sections.
It was not uncommon to have the center window be larger than the two side windows by approximately one third in some rooms. In rooms with large walls, you could choose a larger bank of windows. Opt for a set of five if you are unable to do a set of three.
Doors had similar designs. If you’re looking for a door with windows, it’s best to choose designs that have three small windows instead of one large window in the top portion of the door.
Another hallmark of the authentic Craftsman is beautiful, finished wood trim. For doors and windows, it’s best to choose wood frames, sashes, and grilles, if possible. The most traditional wood used in main-floor trim, windows, and doors was quarter-sawn red or white oak. However, mahogany, walnut, and similar hardwoods with distinct grains were also used.
Avoid stains that are so dark they hide the true wood grain. The Arts and Crafts movement assumed that the best beauty was that found in nature-so the wood grain should not be hidden. It’s for this reason that real wood is showcased in the home. This is also the reason Craftsman homes have so many windows- the view to the outdoors took the place of paintings.
If you’re restoring your Craftsman home, and it still has original windows, you are in luck. The old wood of the windows can be restored to look beautiful and be functional again. You can replace wavy, cloudy, or cracked glass.
For front doors, don’t be concerned that a wooden door will be less energy efficient. Cheaper wood doors are not very well insulated compared to similarly priced steel or fiberglass counterparts, but a high-end wood door with an insulated, composite core that is properly weatherstripped will provide all the weatherproofing you need.
Divided and Stained Windows
Finally, the design of the window itself is very important. Most Craftsman homes have double- or single– hung windows, with the bottom window being a single pane of glass. The top section is usually divided into vertical grilles. Unlike cottage or colonial-style homes, grilles usually don’t have horizontal lines in true Arts and Crafts design.
Feature windows might have a long section divided horizontally from the rest of the window or have a special location in the home away from normal banks of windows. These areas are commonly used for stainedglass designs. It’s best to choose scenes of trees, rolling hills, flowers, or similar art-deco natural designs that combine geometric shapes with nature.
The designs, like other elements in the Craftsman house, tend to create vertical lines to emphasize the height of the room. Wheat, tall flowers like calla lilies, and cypress tress follow this trend.
For more information about choosing the right doors and windows for your new or restored Arts and Crafts home, contact us at the Fischer Window and Door Store. We can help you match the custom designs you will need to properly execute this timeless style in your home.