Friday, September 13, 2019

The Craftsman House Series: Decorating the Bungalow

Antique Stickley Chair
by Denise Weimer

For the past several months, we’ve enjoyed a virtual tour of the exteriors and interiors of Craftsman homes, a style currently enjoying a construction revival in our country. During the early 1900s, the architectural firm of Greene and Greene in California responded to the Arts & Crafts movement in America by launching Craftsman-style architecture. The popularity of the style endured until roughly 1929. 

From our recent posts, we can picture the low, spreading exterior style of Craftsman homes, often with stone accents and wooden shingles. Inside, we would expect the use of natural woods, especially oak, with chair rails, colonnades, and built-ins. We can't forget the coffered ceilings and five-panel doors. Walls would be painted in earth tones, adorned by peaceful murals, or feature geometric or nature-themed stencils.  

But let’s say we were lucky enough to own one of these babies. How would we begin to do decorating justice? Some of the ways these homes were gussied up back in the day included:

  • Pottery: Rookwood, Roseville, Van Briggle, Grueby, Teco, Fulper
  • Chinese and Japanese wares
  • Baskets
  • Tiffany pieces and lamps (pendant, table, and floor)
    1920s Rookwood Vase
  • Hammered copper bowls
  • Rugs: William Morris hand-woven Hammersmiths; oriental and Turkish; Donegal carpets from Ireland; grass mats from China or Japan for summer; American Indian designs
  • Glass vases by Tiffany, Steuben, and Loetz
  • Plain, neutral table and bed linens with embroidered, geometric, or natural-styled borders
  • For the walls: old family portraits, framed letters or house plans, botanical prints, and amateur watercolor paintings
  • Furniture: pieces featuring straight lines and inset panels to highlight the quality of the wood, especially white oak, in the style of Gustav Stickley; leather upholstery; settles with cushions rather than sofas; Mission-style rockers; beds with coordinating headboards and footboards
1920s Roseville Vase
Do you own a Craftsman? What personal touches do you include? Chime in below.

In my hot-of-the-press novel, Fall Flip, interior designer Shelby Dodson has to ditch her modern flair to satisfy her retired clients and their Augusta, Georgia bungalow. While her new contractor, Scott Matthews, offers more opinions than she desires, Shelby finds her warehouse full of decorations from previous flipping projects of little help. When she commandeers Scott’s muscles for trips to the river market and antique store, she accidentally jump-starts a romance! Not decorating your own Craftsman home? There’s always the virtual shopping experience with Scott and Shelby (Fall Flip on Amazon)! And good news, it’s won’t dent your wallet near as much.

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 this month with Smitten (The Witness Tree on Amazon). A wife and mother of two daughters, she always pauses for coffee, chocolate, and old houses! Connect with Denise here:

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William Morris Hammersmith Rug

See also: Old House Online, “Bungalows of the Arts & Crafts Movement,” Patricia Poore, November 24, 2010. Decorator’s Wisdom, “Decorating a Craftsman Home With Vintage Furnishings,” by Mike and Amy. Arts & Crafts Homes and the Revival, “Carpets and Rugs for Arts & Crafts Style Homes,” by Brian D. Coleman, October 18, 2014.


  1. Thanks for the post! I think that there are houses that just seem to beg for certain accessories. When we had our 1920's home, it felt strange to put things that were too modern into the space! I am going to have to find a Craftsman house that offers tours, because I'd love to see how they furnished it in the day!

  2. Great idea! I agree, it's funny how certain decorations don't look right in homes of certain architectural style. Something Scott tries to tell Shelby in Fall Flip. LOL