According to the Arts & Crafts philosophy Craftsman Homes are meant to work with the environment and they should be constructed from natural materials sourced from nearby. Natural materials like wood, tile, stone, brick and in the southwest adobe were to be used in construction. That philosophy worked well for people such as Gustav Stickley and those who could afford high end Craftsman homes from Frank Lloyd Wright.
For the average middle class family who made the bulk of the Craftsman homeowners, they ordered their homes and the materials from the Sears Catalogue. They chose a design from the options available, sent Sears a $1 “good faith” deposit. Sears sent you back a list of the materials and the blueprints to build your new Craftsman home. If you decided this was the house you wanted you sent them the rest of the money and about a month later a railcar would arrive with roughly 12,000 pieces of your house.
Bear in mind that the bulk of Craftsman homes were built between 1890-1920 and this was the days before steel studs and PVC piping, so natural materials were used. So here are the most common materials used in Craftsman construction.
Wood was the most common material used in construction. Wood was used for framing and studs and it was what held your home together. The cabinetry, both kitchen and the built were built using wood. At the turn of the century the industrial revolution brought with it sawmills and now hard woods like oak and maple could be easily converted into planks and used in construction.
Pine was also used for cabinets and flooring, although a softwood it was durable and plentiful. Wood was used as an accent feature throughout the house often there were exposed beams in the ceilings. Wood clapboard was used as siding on the exterior.
Craftsman style homes were built with lots of windows. The interior had plenty of natural light which was needed with the amount of dark wood accents throughout the home. Prairie style homes started the trend with 4 over 1 double paned windows, bungalows and foursquares adapted this style as well. Lots of glass was used in construction and it should be noted that the window casing was built with wood, unlike PVC used today.
Stone is used in Craftsman homes all over the US but more often than not it was decorative rather than functional. Foundations and porch piers were often made of stone along with stone covered chimneys.
Both brick and stucco were used in the exterior construction of the Craftsman, particularly in bungalow construction. You were more likely to find brick exterior in the Chicago bungalows. The California bungalows used stucco or adobe as a finish on the exterior.