Tuesday, August 13, 2019

The Craftsman House Series: Stencils

The Arts and Crafts movement of the early 1900s pushed back the excesses of the Victorian era. One interior touch unique to the style was stenciling. “The whole philosophy revolved around the themes of nature, simplicity and handicraft. Stencils were the A & C response to the heavy, ornate, mass-produced wallpapers found in Victorian homes. … They should be soothing to look at and not call attention to themselves.” (Craftsman Perspective, Arts and Crafts Questions, Interior Decorating)

Landscape friezes and murals were also popular in Craftsman homes. And folks didn’t always confine their stenciling to the area above the plate rail. Even curtains were stenciled, appliqu├ęd, or embroidered.

Stencil patterns generally reflected nature themes or abstracts from the Frank Lloyd Wright collection. Colors tended toward gray or earth tones, sometimes pastels. Some examples: 

In my novel, Fall Flip, debuting next month, interior designer Shelby Dodson has altered her modern style to accommodate the wishes of the retired couple for whom she’s flipping a 1920s bungalow. That makes her authenticity-crazy contractor, Scott Matthews, happy. But what doesn’t make Shelby happy is how artist Caitlyn Curtis keeps popping up. Why does it annoy Shelby when Scott looks Caitlyn’s way? And now Caitlyn has volunteered to stencil pine cones in the bungalow’s dining room. Humph. Does Shelby pick the design, or does Caitlyn get her pine cones? More importantly, can Shelby open her heart to someone like Scott, so different from her late husband? (Fall Flip on Amazon)

Represented by Hartline Literary Agency, Denise Weimer holds a journalism degree with a minor in history from Asbury University. She’s a managing editor for Smitten Historical Romance, an imprint of Lighthouse Publishing of the Carolinas, and the author of The Georgia Gold Series, The Restoration Trilogy, and a number of novellas, including Across Three Autumns of Barbour’s Colonial Backcountry Brides Collection. Her historical romance, The Witness Tree, is also releasing in September with Smitten. A wife and mother of two daughters, she always pauses for coffee, chocolate, and old houses! Connect with Denise here:

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See also: Old House Online, “Bungalows of the Arts & Crafts Movement,” Patricia Poore, November 24, 2010. Craftsman Homes and The Revival, “Easy Craftsman Era Curtains,” Brian D. Coleman, October 24, 2011.


  1. Thanks for continuing with the Craftsman style! I can understand why people would have moved from the excess of the Victorians. Isn't that the way, from one extreme to another??

  2. Fall Flip sounds like a fun book and exactly what I love to read: restoration of old homes, the history of bungalows (since I live in one), and romance. I can't wait to get it the book in my hands! Best of luck with it!

  3. Yes, Connie, it surely is. Everything comes back around again, right? :) Thanks so much, Karen. I can't wait to hear what you think of the novel. I've enjoyed my research about 1920s homes. Blessings.