History of Craftsman homes in Seattle, WA

They were a big deal during the city’s early population boom 🏠

A pair of beige and brown-colored Craftsman homes surrounded by green bushes

A snapshot of Capitol Hill Craftsman homes as they looked in 1975.

Photo via Seattle Municipal Archives

Stroll down most Seattle streets and you’ll see a style as quintessentially PNW as a flannel shirt: Craftsman homes. It’s hard to escape those angled, overhanging eaves.

While the residential architecture can be found in many other areas of the country, the Emerald City seems to have embraced it more than most. Why are we so crafty?

The whole kit ‘n caboodle 🔨

You can thank early-20th Arts and Crafts proponent Gustav Stickley in part for our obsession. The furniture maker/designer favored houses with open floor plans, clean lines, and natural materials. Luckily, we have a lot of wood around here.

In 1901, Gustav launched The Craftsman magazine that included DIY home-building plans — and local entrepreneur Jud Yoho soon followed with his own publication “The Bungalow,” promising designs for “the lover of the convenient home.” You could buy all you needed in a kit from Sears.

Raise the roof 🪜

Coinciding with a post-Gold Rush population boom + street cars that could reach outer neighborhoods, Seattlites couldn’t get enough and snapped up those adult LEGO sets like nobody’s business. It seemed a lot more appealing to own an easy-to-assemble quaint home than to be stuffed in like smoked salmon in a downtown apartment.

Many of the Craftsman homes that dot the landscape were built in the 1920s and 1930s, harkening back to a time when local woodworking was at its peak. The style eventually gave way to more innovative, modern home designs — but many oldies are still standing proud.

For sale 🔖

If you’re looking to own one of these blasts from the past, here are some on the market now.

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