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When it comes to home designs, it’s obvious that there are many different styles of architecture to choose from. Two of the more popular designs, craftsman and contemporary, offer distinctively different options with their own unique advantages, depending on what style and features appeal to the homebuyer. Let’s take a closer look at the differences between the two styles to better understand their unique charm for those wanting their dream home.

What Makes a Craftsman Home?

When you think of craftsman homes, the words “artisan” and “handmade” probably come to mind. That’s because these homes have a signature style based on the artisan influences of the late 19th century British architecture. This movement rejected the mass-produced industrial revolution in favor of an arts and crafts approach, which eventually spread to America around the turn of the 20th century. With a design style based on simplicity, functionality and natural materials, these popular homes feature a hallmark of common characteristics with a goal of blending seamlessly with their surrounding landscape.

Exterior features:

  • Distinctive entryway lined with square or round columns with stone supports and a wide covered front porch

  • Overhanging eaves

  • Gabled roofs, often with decorative trim

  • Single dormers

  • Double-hanging windows

  • Partially paned doors, sometimes with decorative glass

  • Built-in shelves

  • Stone, wood, brick, or stucco elements

Interior Features:

  • Large fireplaces

  • Use of natural materials such as stone and wood

  • Built-in window seats and nooks

  • Open floor plan with small cozy rooms

What Makes a Contemporary Home?

Gaining popularity from 1950 to 1970, architects used the term “contemporary” to describe a dynamic design style of the moment – usually marked by large, spacious floor plans, along with energy efficiency, sustainable materials, natural light sources and possibly the use of recycled non-toxic materials. Contemporary homes can be eclectic based on what’s trendy today, tapping into many different influences and eras. Because of this, contemporary designs can even draw upon some of the same simple design elements found in craftsman homes, but often with more reliance on unique and unusual interior spaces. Contemporary homes are marked by the following features:

  • Clean, straight lines

  • Asymmetrical shape

  • State-of-the-art materials, glass and metals

  • Large plate glass windows

  • Flat roofline

  • One to two stories tall

  • Minimum decoration

  • Posh amenities

  • Ample outdoor living areas

  • Sleek curb appeal

  • Eco-friendly, energy efficient (i.e., solar cells for heating/cooling)

Contemporary style should not be confused with modern style, which is inspired by the historical art movement of modernism and is a static design style looking to the past. The confusion arises between contemporary and modern when elements of modern design become popular again and become major influences in current contemporary architecture.

Timeless vs. Today: It’s Your Choice!

Are you a fan of the latest home design trends or do you appreciate a true classic? Do you favor a minimalist look or are you more in awe of handmade, ornate detail? Either way, it’s ultimately up to you and what fits your lifestyle. Beyond what home design you choose, the factors of weather, local economy, land size, long-term value and location, are also major considerations in your decision-making process. And when you’re ready to decide, contact a New American Funding Loan Officer who is dedicated to making your dream of owning your ideal home come true!


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