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Complement Your Craftsman with a Great Entry

by Rachel Lyon, Editorial Director for The House Designers

As the most popular exterior style for residential architecture, it’s no wonder that the market for Craftsman building options is steadily increasing. The revival of appreciation for this distinctive look has resulted in a boom of new construction and that means homeowners are looking for ways to do it right. In the past, the development of manufacturing technology led to a decline in professional artisans, who were needed to produce the finishing pieces that made an original Craftsman home stand out. Now, technology has continued to advance so the newest examples of this architecture can stay true to their roots while offering the best of modern durability and efficiency. The front entry is one of the key points that denotes architectural style, so here’s how to build a great door system for your Craftsman home.

Therma-Tru Classic-Craft American Style Collection

With a dark, deep stain, this Classic-Craft® American Style Collection entry from Therma-Tru® Doors appears aged and authentic, but it is actually a modern fiberglass door that is ENERGY STAR® qualified in all configurations and styles, in all 50 states.

Start with a Rustic Base

The Craftsman aesthetic is based in taking simple, natural materials and applying good, old-fashioned human handiwork to transform them into something stunning. Back in the day, wood was obviously the medium of choice, so you’ll want your entry to show off genuine grain texture. Keeping authenticity in mind, natural wood colors are also favored, but there are many ways you can go with this. Choose a lighter stain for the look of fresh lumber on a new home, or go with a darker one if you want to age its appearance and give it some historical character.

If you’re interested in finding a truly authentic Craftsman entry, the Classic-Craft® American Style Collection is a fantastic line to consider. These doors were inspired by this architecture and feature the straight grain pattern of the Douglas fir, an evergreen tree species prevalent in the western United States. Lumber from the Douglas fir has been used in all areas of building, so of course it has a long history of adorning homes. The Classic-Craft® American Style Collection pairs this organic beauty with durable and well-insulated fiberglass construction, which offers five times more efficiency than you could expect from a solid wood door. There’s no need to compromise between form and function anymore.

Therma-Tru American Style Collection Low E Glass

For all Classic-Craft® entries, Low-E glass comes standard for those who don’t choose decorative glass, allowing for a beautiful and efficient door lite, sidelite, and transom window configuration.

Choose a Suitable Lite Arrangement

Craftsman homes have distinctive windows, typically with divided lites. Double hung windows with vertical grilles on the top section are most commonly used, and the same look is carried to doors. Glass production has improved by leaps and bounds since the conception of the Arts and Crafts movement, but we still expect a certain ambiance that was born from the difficulty of producing large panes; divided lites are associated with older-style houses because the only way to get a large window was to put multiple smaller ones together.

Door lites for Craftsman houses are usually on the smaller side and located on the upper portion. Vertical grilles are favored again—dividing the glass section into two or three panes—but some people opt to throw in a horizontal muntin as well, which creates a solid grid effect. These are fairly simple options, but they produce the right look for the architecture. Remember that lites brighten the interior and also give you the chance to enhance with decorative glass; if you really want to incorporate a beautiful glass design into your door like so many of the original Craftsman homes did, you’ll need to stick to only vertical muntins, or none at all. As glass patterns flow down, never across, chopping them horizontally is not advised and often not even possible.

You can also choose to add a transom window and one or two sidelites to your entry. The same rules about glass apply to sidelites—if you want to use a decorative variety, a full-length or undivided smaller lite will work, and clear and privacy glass can be used in any case. It should be noted that despite their rustic focus, Craftsman houses are also founded in the finer details, and that’s why adding extra touches of glass around the door is a popular accent.

Therma-Tru American Style Collection Arborwatch Glass

The Arborwatch decorative glass used in this 3-lite door uses caming, a range of textures, and a hint of color to deliver an authentic Craftsman design that features offset right angles and chevron detailing.

Finish with the Perfect Glass Design

If a very simple, historical vibe is what you want to convey with your door, you’ll probably prefer an entry with multiple divided lites and clear glass, like what would have been available from local craftsmen in the late 19th century. Privacy is a concern for many nowadays, so if you decide to use privacy glass, consider how the different types actually look. A smooth, wavy variety might seem like an authentic installation, while an etched, grainy one will appear more modern. In any case, these glasses will help brighten your interior while obscuring the view inside.

As demand for beautiful handcrafted details rose during the Arts and Crafts movement, decorative glass became preferred, and most current Craftsman homeowners choose to go with this style. The distinctive designs of the early era were limited by their tools and a desire to avoid the flowery flamboyance that the Industrial Revolution mass-produced for Victorian homes, resulting in patterns that feature straight lines. Square angles and chevrons became the go-to motifs, and you’ll find them faithfully reconstructed in Classic-Craft® American Style Collection entries. Homeward is a good choice if you prefer a simple geometric design, Villager is perfect for those who want to show off plenty of chevrons, and Arborwatch occupies the middle ground. Each of these glasses is unique, distinguishing, and guaranteed to help your front door get noticed.

Do you have a Craftsman, bungalow, or any other kind of home that fits in with this type of architecture? If so, you’ll want to give it a stylistically appropriate entry as part of its exterior design, and Therma-Tru’s® dedicated Classic-Craft® American Style Collection line can provide just that. Find a local dealer to get started, or download the DoorWays™ app to virtually build an entry and apply it to a picture of your own home, right on your smartphone. It has never been easier to find the perfect front door, even if you’re searching for an older, rustic style!

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