California Mission Style Home Plan

California Mission Style Home Plan

¶ This little cement house has been selected for presentation at the head of the list chiefly because it was the first house designed in The Craftsman Workshops and was published in "The Craftsman" for January, 1904, for the benefit of the newly formed Home Builders Club. Therefore it serves to furnish us with a starting point from which we may judge whether or not any advance has since been made in the application of the Craftsman idea to the planning and furnishing of houses.

California Mission Style Home
California Mission Style Home Plan.
A Craftsman house built of cement or concrete after the California mission style with low-pitched tiled roof, round arches and straight massive walls. The decorative effect depends entirely upon color, proportions and structural features.

¶ It was only natural that our first expression of this idea should take shape in a house which, without being exactly founded on the Mission architecture so much used in California, is nevertheless reminiscent of that style, this effect being given by the low broad proportions of the building and the use of shallow, round arches over the entrance and the two openings which give light and air to the recessed porch in front. The thick cement walls are left rough, a primitive treatment that produces a quality and texture difficult to obtain by any other method and to which time and weather lend additional interest.

Walls & Roof

¶ The roof, which is low pitched and has a fairly strong projection, is covered with unglazed red Spanish tile in the usual lap-roll pattern with ridge rolls and cresting. The house, as it stands, is a fair example of the way in which the problem of the exterior has been solved by the combination of three factors: simplicity of building materials, employment of constructive features as the only decoration, and the recognition of the color element which is so necessary in bringing about the necessary harmony between the house and its surroundings. In this case the walls are treated with a pigment that gives a soft warm creamy tone, almost a biscuit color, and the roof is dull red, a scheme that is excellently suited to the prevailing color in California or in the South, where yellows, browns and violets abound. For the colder coloring of the northern or eastern landscape, the cement walls might either be left in the natural gray, or given a tone of dull green, which, applied unevenly, gives an admirable effect upon rough cast plaster. Or, for that matter, the house might be built of brick, stone, or of any one of the various forms of concrete construction. And the roof could be of tile, heavy shingles, or, if given a steeper pitch, of heavy, rough slate. In fact, the design as shown here is chiefly suggestive in its nature, making clear the fundamental principles of the Craftsman house and leaving room for such variation of detail as the owner may desire.


¶ It will be noted that the foundation is not visible and that the turf and shrubbery around it appear to cling to the walls of the house, a circumstance that is apparently slight and yet has a good deal to do with the linking of a house to the ground on which it stands. This effect would be greatly heightened by a growth of vines over the large plain wall spaces, which would lend themselves admirably to a natural drapery of ivy or ampelopsis.


¶ The treatment of the interior is based upon the principles already laid down, the object being to obtain the maximum effect of beauty and comfort from materials which are few in number and comparatively inexpensive. Although we have not space here for pictures of the interior features, a description of the color scheme employed and of the use made of woodwork and built-in furnishings may serve to give some idea of its character. While the outside of the house is plain to severity, the inside, as we have designed it, glows with color and is rich in suggestion of home comfort. As in a11 Craftsman homes, wood is abundantly used in the form of beams, wainscots and numerous built-in furnishings.


First Story Floor Plan
First Story Floor Plan.

Second Story Floor Plan
Second Story Floor Plan.

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