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Tuesday, May 29, 2018

American Craftsman and Mission Style

My son and his young family are moving from Pennsylvania to Utah this summer. Yay! They will only be a 3 hour drive away from us instead of a 3 day drive.

 He and his wife would like to decorate their home in what is commonly called Mission style. This look is also referred to as Arts and Crafts, Craftsman or Stickley. So what's the difference? What traits make this style of furniture "Craftsman"? There are many good books on this subject and many articles on the internet but I'm going to summarize and try to make it easy.
Craftsman furnishings have strong clean lines and feel very solid. The pieces are most often made of oak especially quarter sawn oak which highlights the beautiful grain of the wood. The term American Craftsman was used by furniture maker Gustav Stickley after he visited England to study the Arts and Crafts movement there. The Arts and Crafts style replaced the fancy Victorian era furnishings with all of its curves, carvings and embellishments with simple lines and stylized images from nature. The idea was to focus on pieces made by hand by true artisans as opposed to mass produced furniture that was introduced during the industrial revolution.

The term  Mission style refers to the Spanish missions of  southern California and  reflected the simple and practical furnishings of those structures. It also features strong horizontal and vertical lines. I think of it as a subset of the Craftsman style. 

This look has remained very popular today especially in the Midwest and Rocky Mountains. If you've ever seen the movie "A River Runs Through It"  which is set in Montana, the home there is a perfect example of American Craftsman styling.

A very popular and recognizable piece is the Morris chair, named for William Morris an English designer of the mid 1800's. 

Hardware is usually bronze or copper and may have a hammered finish.

American Craftsman furnishings have a timeless appeal as they work well with both antique and contemporary styled homes. The furniture is also very family friendly withstanding knocks and bumps from kids and pets! Visit your local antique store and you'll be sure to find one or two pieces. Plus many furniture stores carry good quality reproductions. Price of course, depends on quality but I have found several very affordable  pieces over the years.

I can't wait to go antiquing with my kids!

I like to join


  1. "Have nothing in your houses that you do not know to be useful, or believe to be beautiful." William Morris

  2. I'm so happy for you that they are moving will have an awesome time helping them decorate their home. Thanks for sharing at Vintage Charm! xo Kathleen

  3. That buffett is gorgeous. Thanks for sharing at Home Sweet Home!