How To Do “Craftsman” Right – The 7 Key Elements That Make This Vintage Style Work

If you are a fan of this blog, I think it’s safe to say that you have a deep love (or at least hefty fondness) for a home full of soul. It’s basically our main goal to inject as much of it as possible into any home, regardless of when it was built. But let’s be honest, there is just nothing like a home with actual history…like 100 years of it. A home that has seen some sh*t. I find that when the phrase, “they just don’t build em like they used to” is uttered, I either slightly roll my eyes and halfway smile in silent defense of my generation or I immediately (and audibly) agree because well, it’s the truth. So when I opened my email a few weeks ago and saw this beautifully restored craftsman home, my heart filled right up. I was immediately struck by its visible soulfulness and needed to know more.

Enter the “soul keepers,” Jamie and her husband, Craig. These two are no strangers to a historical home remodel. They actually do this more or less as a hobby or as Jamie says, “it’s an addiction… but it’s an addiction to beauty and craft.” So never mind that Jamie had given birth to their second child one month (yes, ONE MONTH) prior when they saw this house for sale. Because as soon as they saw it they knew they had to bring it back to life.

This house is now for sale (I know!) because Jamie and Craig already have a beautifully restored home they aren’t ready to leave. So after they restored this beaut, they called upon one of EHD’s favorite staging and design firms, A 1000 X Better to really make sure that it felt as welcoming as possible for their potential buyers. And since we are all about beautiful homes AND teaching you how to create them, we are going go through the 7 main design elements you will want to consider when designing the perfect (and slightly unexpected) craftsman home. In Jamie’s words, “you don’t open up a Craftsman home and make it an open concept. You embrace their quirky personalities and enhance them where you can. It’s a labor of love really.” We couldn’t agree more. So let’s talk about the ways to design a historical home that will stand the test of time, so the tradition of bragging to future generations will stay firmly intact:)

Embrace The Original Wood and Keep It Matte

wall color | brass ceiling lights

The wood mouldings and accents are what make craftsman homes so darn special. The warmth and texture they bring are off the charts. I mean, just look at this living room. Instead of painting and/or putting a high gloss finish all over that stunning wood, they brought it back to its natural state. Does it look super modern? No. But that’s what makes it special. It’s like the wood is basically naked, baring its soul to you.

Here’s what they did to restore the wood back to its former glory: “We stripped all the wood on the first floor, and had real historic wood artisans do the work to make sure the wood had the right feeling, stain, and patina. We had alder baseboards specially milled to match those we found in the home. We had gorgeous decorative crown moldings cut that match those we found. We trimmed the house in Douglas Fir, because a house smells better when you use real wood trim.”

Paint The Walls Light Or Really Dark

wall color | semi flush mount | vintage rug | art on left

When Emily and I were looking at these photos we realized that in terms of painting a craftsman home you really only have two options when it comes to colors – really dark (like in that stunning parlor room above) or pretty light…like white or light gray – ideally a cooler toned color, stay away from beige. Especially when you are dealing with a lot of natural wood this is key. For example, a warm reddish color would look too similar to that medium wood tone.

small semi flush mount | large semi flush mount

Of course, there are exceptions and wallpaper is a whole other story (we will chat about that later) but choosing a high contrast color is the best way to make the wood accents pop.

Before we move on, I think we need a moment to take in the overwhelming beauty of these windows. I mean HOW?! They really knew what they were doing 100 years ago:)

Highlight Special Architectural Moments

wall color | accent color | vintage rug

In a home like this one, there are so many special architectural moments. By highlighting a few of them with paint you visually elevate the entire home. Take the killer arch and stair rail in the photo above. The dark paint makes that whole moment pop and actually helps to make the natural wood stand out more in contrast. Had they not been painted it still would have been beautiful but way less of a wow moment.

This built-in bench is another great example. It really pops because of the paint color and gives the space a fresh feel which is important in a historical home. You want to care for its history and bring it back to life BUT also make it feel like it belongs in today’s world.

Pepper in Unexpected Decor to Balance Out Traditional Feel

vintage rug | wall color

In true EHD fashion, we LOVE any opportunity to “mix it up” and create unexpected moments. A 1000 X Better is no stranger to the “unexpected moment” but in my humble opinion, they knocked it out of the park with that cool mint wicker desk and that sofa. I honestly don’t know if I can live a truly happy life until that sofa is in my possession. To me, you (sofa) are perfect.

pendant light | brass ceiling lights
art on back wall | vintage rug

But like the desk, this sofa is a very different style than the home. But because they are within the color palette of the home and have natural textures, they work perfectly and make the space feel unique.

Hot Tip

You can mix any style as long as it falls within your chosen color palette.

Keep Kitchens and Bathrooms Classic

cabinet knob | cabinet pull | shelf brackets | sconce | switchplate

The two places to keep your freak flag temporarily at ease in a craftsman home are in the kitchen and bathroom. By all means, have fun with the decor once all of your hard (and permanent) finishes are in place but as Jamie said, “we chose finishes that would have been used in 1905. Marble, soapstone, real wood cabinets that get painted and feel like wood when you touch them.” Truly the last thing you want is to regret a countertop choice because it feels out of place.

island pendant | semi flushmount| sink | cabinet color | wall color | vintage rug

So now that we have that little hot tip out of the way, let’s take a sec to appreciate this kitchen. There’s not one thing I don’t love in here. There is just the right amount of detail in the cabinet feet and island legs to pay homage to the style of the home, but everything else has a sleeker, more modern traditional feel. It looks updated (in the best way). Also, those stairs are too beautiful, right?

vanity | sink faucet | robe hook | showerhead | shower handle | round mirror | vintage pendant source | accent wall color

I want to shower in this bathroom so badly. It’s another example of Jamie and Craig’s talent for making modern updates but honoring a home’s original architecture. Notice how every material has visual texture. The tiles, countertop, aged brass, and wood all bring life to the space. Nothing feels sterile which is always our goal when we are designing.

flush mount (vintage shade) | sconce (vintage shade) | faucet | shower handle | shower head and trim | vanity| drawer pulls | mirror

The same goes for this smaller bathroom. They used beautiful materials and fixtures that are akin to the home but elevate it in the best way. Also, that marble tub surround is all heart eyes for me.

Choose Light Fixtures That Stylewise Are In Line With The House

vintage rug

You may have noticed that throughout all of these photos, all of the hardwired light fixtures are more on the modern traditional side. We think this is the way to go (and it’s what Em did in her English Tudor Home). Keep those more permanent types of design elements in line with the style of the home for longevity and overall homage to the style. I mean you probably chose your historical home for a reason right?

Don’t Be Afraid of Fun Wallpaper

wallpaper | faucet | door knob | vintage semi flush mount (similar)

I know we talked earlier about only using very dark or very light paint colors inside of a craftsman home (which we still stand by all these photos later) but we also think that wallpaper is a great way to make a room more special. We would suggest choosing a pattern that has a nostalgic feel like the awesome one they chose for the powder bath. Otherwise, just choose a texture but don’t go too modern unless of course, you are completely throwing the vintage baby out with the historical bathwater.

Well, there you have it. A stunning home tour with tips that can hopefully be helpful and transferable to any type of historical home. A huge thank you to Jamie and Craig for letting us feature their beautiful project. We are so happy that there are people who want to celebrate design history and take such good care of it.

Let’s talk about this incredible house in the comments. Thoughts, feelings, and sofa yearnings are all welcome:)

Love you, mean it.

Restored and Designed by Jamie Haller and Craig Ekedahl

Styled by A 1000 X Better

Photos by Lauren Moore

Property Site

Check out some of our other house tours: Tour a Stylist’s Mid-Century-Meets-Traditional “Farmhouse” Full of Thrifted Treasures | An Exclusive House Tour From (Design Girl Crush) Leanne Ford | House Tour: Original Woodwork, Moody Walls & A Gasp-Worthy Wallpaper | House Tour: A Home Crush a Year in the Making ….click HERE for more:)

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