It's client storytime!
I'm always thrilled when clients give me the green light to share their design stories with my readers. There are some incredible takeaways from each and every interior design project that I work on, and this particular consulting journey left me with some serious gold nuggets of info that I'm excited to share.
If you're considering buying a classic craftsman-style home, read on to learn about how we approached the design of this beautiful old home.
What is a Craftsman Style Home?
Before we dive into the nitty-gritty of the design process, let's first answer the question: What is a craftsman-style home?
The craftsman-style home is an American architectural tradition that was first introduced in the early 1900s. It’s often characterized by its use of natural materials, like wood and stone. These homes also tend to have low-pitched gabled roofs, charming front porches, and plenty of double-hanging windows to flood the rooms with natural light.
The signature interior features might be my favorite part. You'll often see stunning exposed beams and a variety of unique built-in spaces like reading nooks, window seats, bookcases, and prominent fireplaces that help make the room feel cozy and inviting.
Another important design element of the craftsman-style home is the focus on handcrafted details. These homes were designed at a time when people were moving away from mass-produced items and instead valuing quality, artisanal goods.
Things to Consider Before Buying a 100-Year-Old House
If you're considering buying a craftsman-style home that's over 100 years old, there are a few things you'll want to consider.
The first is the condition of the home. Many craftsman-style homes have been well-maintained and updated over the years, but some have been neglected and are in need of a serious facelift.
You'll want to get a thorough home inspection to identify any:
Outdated electrical work
Plumbing issues or leaks
Mold, mildew, or asbestos
Signs of pests or insect damage
Inefficient insulation and windows
These don't have to be deal-breakers; they're just something to be mindful of. These necessary updates can eat into a renovation budget quite quickly before you've even had the chance to do any fun design projects.
It's critical to get a clear understanding of the work that will need to be done before you buy the home so that you can factor it into your budget.
Another thing to consider is the layout of the home. Many craftsman-style homes were designed with a more traditional floor plan in mind, meaning they might not have the open concept layout that's so popular today.
Lastly, craftsman-style homes are known for their charming details and unique character. While this is undoubtedly a selling point for many people, it also means that these homes can be more challenging to update. You'll want to be mindful of that before buying a craftsman-style home and ensure that it's the right fit for your personal style and desired functionality.
How to Update and Optimize Your Old Home: My Client's Story
My clients were first-time home buyers and had their hearts set on a classic craftsman-style home built-in 1903. While homes this old typically need some TLC to get them up to modern standards, they often come with stunning woodwork, charming quirks, and so much character.
The home my clients bought was no exception. It was love at first sight for them, but they knew it would need some work to make it feel like their own. That's where I come in! They got the keys to their new home on Friday and had me onsite for a walkthrough consultation that Saturday morning.
We immediately began developing a plan to update the home while still preserving its craftsman character.
Choose a Color Palette
We established an interior and exterior color palette from the start. Their home definitely needed to be repainted, and I was able to provide them with a clear plan of action so they didn't need to spend weeks testing different colors.
The color palette flows from the exterior to the interior, and everything is complimentary. Our chosen colors made the home feel spacious and intentional, complimenting their furniture and style.
Prioritize Your Projects
We established what projects they should tackle first and what could wait until later. While it’s tempting to renovate more exciting rooms like kitchens and bathrooms, focusing on the functional must-haves is crucial. Our top priorities were the roof and exterior paint to ensure the home would be ready for the winter season.
Maintain the Old Charm
The craftsman-style home is defined by its unique details, so we made sure to preserve as much of the original character as possible.
This particular home had a gorgeous antique light fixture that we decided to keep (you can see it peeking through at the top of this before photo), and we're even going to lean into the historic charm by wallpapering the ceiling to make it really stand out.
Establish Organizational Systems
My clients love entertaining, so our goal was to optimize the living space for that function. The brick from the former fireplace became the perfect textured backdrop for their bar cart. All of their games will be stored in a dining room buffet that will double as extra counter space for food as the kitchen is separated from the main entertaining area. We optimized wall space in the bathrooms for storage and function to ensure both the residents and guests can use the single bathroom.
It was such a pleasure to work with them. Here's a link to their review.
Help is on the Way!
As a new homeowner, it’s easy to become overwhelmed by everything you want to change in your old home. You get this vision in your mind of a classic craftsman-style home and immediately start fantasizing about the different ways you can add personal touches to it with a modern kitchen and luxurious bathroom. But it is important to take a step back and assess what really needs to be done in order for your home to be functional before you can start to infuse your personal style into the design.
If you're feeling lost, that's where I come in! Having a professional interior designer walk through the changes with you will ensure you prioritize the right modifications first. Once we establish your budget, I’ll help you make sure it's going to the right places.
My goal is always to help you fall in love with your space while optimizing its function for you and your family. Take a look at my services page to see how I can help you turn your craftsman-style house into your dream home.
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