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Interior Design and the Arts & Crafts movement

Written by Lucy Winters-Underwood, Founder of Lucy Winterwood Luxury Interior Design Studio. Serving St Albans, Harpenden, Hertfordshire & North London.

In the late 19th Century the Arts and Crafts Interior Design movement emerged, an intrinsically British style sought to revive traditional craftsmanship in response to the Industrial Revolutions mass production.

Led predominantly by William Morris and John Ruskin, the pair theorised nature, art, morality and the degradation of human labour and translated them into a unified theory of design. William Morris famously said ‘Have nothing in your houses that you do not know to be useful, or believe to be beautiful’.

‘The Red House’. Iconic Arts and Crafts Home. Designed, built, Interior Designed and lived in, by William Morris

'The Red House’. Designed, built, and lived in, by William Morris

The design of Arts and Crafts properties represents a unique blend of simplicity, craftsmanship, and a celebration of nature. Characterised by their emphasis on handcrafted elements, natural materials, and integration with the surrounding environment. Highly sought after, their aesthetic is picturesque and charming.

But above all, quality overrides. Construction is simple, traditional and sturdy. At the heart of Arts and Crafts design is the principle of honesty in materials and construction. Exposed wooden beams, stone accents, and textured surfaces highlight the raw beauty of natural materials, showcasing the artisanal quality of the craftsmanship.

Exposed wooden beams typical of the Arts & Crafts Movement

Exposed wooden beams typical of the Arts & Crafts Movement

One of the defining features of Arts and Crafts properties is their seamless integration with nature. Architects of this movement often designed homes to harmonize with their surroundings, whether nestled in the countryside or situated within an urban landscape. Large windows frame picturesque views, inviting natural light to illuminate the interior spaces. Outdoor spaces such as gardens, terraces, and porches serve as extensions of the home, blurring the boundaries between indoor and outdoor living.

Extensive Crittall Windows allow light to flood the interiors

Extensive Crittall Windows allow light to flood the interiors

As for the interiors, grand architectural gestures are left behind, rather carefully considered details and functionality are at the forefront of the design. Open floor plans promote flow and connectivity between rooms, allowing for flexible living arrangements. Built-in cabinetry, window seats, and inglenook fireplaces maximize space while adding character and warmth to the home. Handcrafted furniture and fixtures, often adorned with intricate details and organic motifs, imbue each room with a sense of charm and authenticity.

A typical example of built-in cabinetry and an inglenook fireplace

A typical example of built-in cabinetry and an inglenook fireplace

Whether restored to their original glory or adapted to modern sensibilities, these homes serve as a testament to the enduring legacy of the Arts and Crafts movement. With their emphasis on simplicity, craftsmanship, and a deep connection to nature, Arts and Crafts properties remind us of the beauty and importance of handcrafted design in an increasingly industrialised world.

Do you need help bringing exquisite craftsmanship into your home? Book a call today to discuss how we can help.


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