The American Craftsman style developed out of the British Arts and Crafts movement, which was a reaction against the Industrial Revolution. During the 1880s, English designers launched the movement, which encouraged the use of simple forms and natural materials. The American arrival of Arts and Crafts style coincided with the decline of the Victorian era, and it encouraged originality, simplicity of form, local natural materials, and the visibility of handicraft. The name “Craftsman” comes from the title of a popular magazine published by the famous furniture designer, Gustav Stickley, between 1901 and 1916.
In the United States, two California brothers, Charles Sumner Greene and Henry Mather Greene, began to design houses that combined Arts and Crafts ideas with a fascination for the simple wooden architecture of China and Japan. The architectural firm of Greene and Greene was established in Pasadena in January 1894. Active primarily in California, their houses and larger-scale bungalows envision the highest ideal of the American Arts and Crafts Movement. Their crowning achievement was the “ultimate bungalow” – an example being the 1908 Gamble House in Pasadena, generally considered one of the finest examples of residential architecture in the United States.
Like all things that come out of California, there is something distinctively American about this style.