Those new to Arts & Crafts style often assume that it is purely an American creation and in many ways it is. However, the origin of the Arts & Crafts style movement, like all the preceding style movements popular in United States, can be traced to Europe. The American flavor of Arts & Crafts style was quite a bit different from the original European Arts & Crafts style. These differences, however, were actually in complete harmony with one of the original defining concepts of European Arts & Crafts style movement. The Arts & Crafts style drew inspiration from the simple beauty of nature. Arts & Crafts artisans incorporated natural elements from their surroundings into hand-crafted items of all kinds. American Arts & Crafts artists and craftsmen created using materials, imagery, and a color palette inspired by the local flora and fauna that was very different from that of Europe. American Arts & Crafts style for this same reason also varied from region to region within the United States.
Modest, simple design is a hallmark of Arts & Crafts style. The simplicity of design was meant to highlight the natural materials used to create the item. Wood furniture, for example, was created using local oak species that were typically cut in quarter sawn fashion in order to highlight the beauty of oak’s heavy grain. Door and cabinet hardware design was also simple and crafted from more earthy metal like copper and iron compared to the ornate brass hardware popular throughout the preceding Victorian period. Arts & Crafts door and cabinet hardware design focused on complementing, rather than embellishing, the natural beauty of the piece of furniture or door.