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Arts And Crafts Architecture: Why It Never Goes Out Of Style

Written by Redrow

15 Jun 2021

While some forms of architecture go in and out of fashion, and ‘contemporary’ homes can quickly appear dated, one style that has endured throughout the decades is Arts and Crafts. But what is Arts and Crafts Architecture?

What is Arts & Crafts? … and why do people love it so much?

The Arts and Crafts movement grew from a desire to bring back the skill and creativity of individual craftsman; and reject factory methods of building. Architects and makers were focussed on reviving the ‘simplicity’ and ‘honesty’ in the way buildings and furnishings were made and re-establishing skills that were under threat from mass production. 

According to The Royal Institute of British Architects (RIBA) Arts and Crafts styling is “true to materials, traditional constructional methods and function as the essence of design”. The revered style of the Arts and Crafts period (c1850-1915) has subsequently influenced many of the character properties of later periods, especially the 1920s and 30s. 

Even today it is one of the most sought-after styles of architecture and Arts and Crafts houses are seen across almost every town and city in the UK, particularly along main routes. 

Typical features of an Arts and Crafts house include brick or render frontages, hipped roofs and suppressed hips, bay and lantern windows, brick plinths, decorative exterior tiling and timber, dropped eaves, finials and gallows-style brackets.

Stuart Norton, Group design and technical director for Redrow, believes the style has retained its popularity as it has the perfect blend of character and functionality. 

He said: “The Arts and Crafts movement is all about allowing quality materials and craftsmanship to come to the fore. Its essence is simplicity and attention to detail, but it is founded in practicality and traditional time-honoured building methods.  People today still love many of the features - like bay windows, hipped roofs, canopies over doorways and use of tiling and timber - as they bring interest to house frontages and streets.”

In our Arts and Crafts inspired Heritage Collection homes that’s exactly what we’ve done. We’ve combined period-style architectural features, like those popular in the 1930s, with contemporary interiors, designed for modern living.

Arts and Crafts style for the 21st century

Many features typical of the Arts and Crafts era still have huge appeal for home buyers today.  

Stuart adds: “As a nation we have some of the most revered architecture in the world and we are real lovers of period features. Architecture is not always about pushing the envelope with contemporary design. It can be equally important to create new buildings that blend well with their surroundings, taking the very best of the past and bringing it right up to date. 

“In our Arts and Crafts inspired Heritage Collection homes that’s exactly what we’ve done. We’ve combined period-style architectural features, like those popular in the 1930s, with contemporary interiors, designed for modern living. 

“One of our key placemaking principles is ‘keeping it local’. This means we design our homes and developments to sit well with their environment and use high quality locally-sourced materials; this can include building in local stone or brick to blend with other established houses in the area where appropriate.”

What makes the Heritage Collection so unique?

The Heritage Collection features 35 different house types, each with their own individual features and selling points, in a range of sizes and layouts. Together, they create interesting and varied street scenes. From the outside they have all the character of a bygone era, and are reminiscent of the homes many of us grew up in. Inside they combine stand out features like high ceilings, taller than average windows and doors and deep skirting boards with a thoroughly modern specification.

We source our kitchens, bathrooms, tiling, fireplaces, carpets, fitted wardrobes and other interior specification options from a handpicked range of well-known suppliers.  

While the Heritage Collection launched in 2010 it evolves frequently to keep up with home buyers’ shifting priorities. 

Stuart adds: “Far from resting on our laurels, we regularly update our designs to meet our customers’ changing needs. For example, we launched our Lifestyle range to suit those who require fewer yet more luxurious bedrooms, each with their own en-suite. By removing the smallest bedroom from some of our much-loved classic designs like our Oxford and Harrogate we reconfigured the upstairs layouts and created more space in the rooms people use most often. The downstairs layouts have retained the same generous, open-plan areas and large lounges of the original designs.

“We’ve also updated many of our designs as more people move towards working from home on a regular basis; incorporating ground floor home offices and other flexible areas that can be used for remote working or even a home gym or cinema.”

What makes the perfect home?

We regularly undertake research to find out what house hunters look for in a perfect property. In a recent survey, we found the majority of consumers (77%) aspire to live in a two-storey detached home, with just 3% and 4% of Britons stating a preference for a terraced home or townhouse.

Having a private driveway or garage is important to 92% of Britons while 88% would like their home to be of the same style as other homes on the street but with its own individual character. 

The research concludes that spacious living arrangements that offer functionality to adapt, spread out and create dedicated spaces for working, play and living are now at the forefront of Brits’ minds.

Our much-loved Heritage Collection ticks all these boxes and more. We have Arts and Crafts houses for sale across our developments in England and Wales.