by Rachel Lyon, Editorial Director for The House Designers
The Craftsman aesthetic is all about using artisan-made finishes to give homes their own personalities. With exterior designs incorporating columns, shutters, trim, brackets, and many other touches, and interiors that utilize thick window and door casings as well as exposed beams, Craftsman houses are a carpenter’s dream. There are so many individual millwork pieces to consider that you can get caught up in the possibilities before stopping to consider the practicality of covering a home in natural lumber. Consider weathering, weight and the cost of shipping, and the strain on the environment, and one of today’s most popular home styles looks like a bad investment at first glance.
Of course, we have found a way around the apparent problems that Craftsman houses pose. If you are in love with that natural artisan aspect but want it to last, look no further than polyurethane moulded millwork from Fypon®. Cast from real wood, this synthetic solution gives you natural texture in pieces you can paint or stain to your liking. You don’t have to worry about water or insect damage, because the material is impervious and bugs have no reason to eat it. There’s no shortage of choices, either, because Fypon has an extensive catalog that includes every conceivable kind of millwork, and you can even request custom pieces to ensure that you get everything you want.
No matter where you live, the environment will take its toll on your home if you give it the chance. Moisture, freezing, and blaring sun can all compromise the integrity of natural materials by shrinking and swelling, causing cracks to form. This results in a cycle that continually increases wear, and you’ll be stuck resealing wood to make sure it doesn’t let water infiltrate. The main benefit of polyurethane is that it is inherently waterproof and structurally stable, so it resists the weather without any upkeep on your part. And for a Craftsman home that has millwork from the entry up to the gables, there’s a lot of maintenance you can avoid by deciding to invest in synthetic options instead.
When you select millwork for this type of house, you don’t want to lose the handcrafted and natural qualities that make it so charming, so explore different wood grains and figure out which look will complement your home best. Fypon offers different wood grains and a plethora of products that are architecturally correct and historically accurate for different house styles, and you just need to pick your favorites!
For the outside of your Craftsman home, be sure to consider:
Square tapered columns: This style is distinctly Arts and Crafts, and often seen on bungalow porches.
Porch railing: Also select square rails and balusters for an authentic look.
Gable pediments: Choose a type with straight beams and triangular shapes; avoid ornate curves.
Brackets: Whether solid or with simple cutouts, these can be placed under gable pediments or the roofline itself.
Window and door trim: Wide, flat trim is favored, with crossheads having some extra shape and style.
Shutters: Board and batten style seems most popular, but if you want to impart an aged or more rustic look, plank shutters allow you to see space between the boards.
Interior Finishing Touches
Craftsman homes also pride themselves on having beautiful interiors. Both stone and wood accents are traditional, and they can take a few different forms. While it is more intuitive that wood and wood-look products will be painted to match a home’s exterior, you can choose whether you want the same inside.
Interior Craftsman millwork includes:
Baseboard trim and crown moulding: Usually simple, with square or slightly rounded edges.
Window and door casing: Also wide and generally flat, but can have more contouring than what’s used outside.
Exposed ceiling beams: To simulate structural supports and give some interest to an often bare part of the interior; can be smooth or have texture ranging from milled to hand hewn for an especially rustic vibe.
The atmosphere of the house will dictate how you decide to finish your millwork. Some people like a more polished, classy feel and thus opt to use smooth pieces in white or another color to contrast with the walls. Imagine a beautiful two-toned coffered ceiling that looks modestly elegant. Alternatively, wood grain and color provides a more rustic appearance, and it complements simpler designs as well as creating a great area of juxtaposition when used in moderation. Again, think of a wood-look ceiling beam—it won’t clash with other design elements because it’s so far above them, so it can be used in almost any setting.
One of the biggest advantages when it comes to moulded millwork is that it is light, and if you want those increasingly popular ceiling beams, you’ll save a whole lot on shipping and set yourself up for much easier installation if you choose polyurethane. Of course, the weight of smaller trim pieces adds up quickly, too, so you’ll save even without making a bold ceiling statement.
If you’re ready to explore the vast possibilities available to you, check out Fypon’s literature library and see for yourself just how limitless your choices are! You can also take advantage of their free takeoff service and let them choose the best pieces to complete your home. Either way you do it, you’ll end up with beautiful and durable millwork that will do justice to your Craftsman.