Craftsman is an architecture of abundance, enabled by the wealth of wood available in the Vancouver area. Its prominent knee brackets and the amount of exposed structure such as rafter tails and purlins easily identify the style. The best examples have stone or clinker brick for foundations, porch piers and chimneys. Shingles are the usual cladding and give them a rustic look.
Craftsman is the American Arts and Crafts Style, mostly identified with Southern California and arriving in Vancouver about 1908-10. The emphasis on simplicity, quality, and local materials of the English Arts and Crafts movement inspired its development. It spread quickly throughout North America thanks to plans published in a popular magazine called ‘Craftsman,’ to which the style owes its name. It did not take long before other magazines and plan books started publishing their own interpretations of the Craftsman style. It was widely popular in Vancouver over a period of about 20 years, developing several variations unique to the region. The one-storey variant (sometimes called a California Bungalow or Craftsman Bungalow) is one of the most common types of heritage housing present in the city.
There are three main types found in Vancouver:
- Front-Gabled single-storey Craftsman (California Bungalows)
- Front-Gabled 1-1/2 to 2-1/2 storey Craftsman
- Side-Gabled Craftsman (Swiss Chalets)
- Low-pitched gabled roof
- Exposed roof rafters
- Decorative beams or knee-brackets under gables
- Porches either partial or full width
- Double-hung windows
- Squared porch posts
- Lower porch posts sections of stone, clinker brick or rough stucco
The main material of Craftsman houses was wood. Cedar shingles were used both for cladding and decorative components (e.g. in gables). A combination of narrow lap siding and shingles was also popular. The upper part of porch posts or other decorative pieces such as dentils and knee brackets were often smoother wood. Stucco was an accent material usually combined with half-timber dividers in gables. Brick was used for chimneys and as an accent. Clinker bricks and off-placed or protruding bricks were popular to achieve a rustic appearance.