During the short two years we lived in California, I often times walked around town doing one of my favorite exercises – observing the local architecture. Predominant in the San Francisco Bay Area, apart from the pretty Victorians of course, were these white stucco homes that reminded me of houses usually found around the Mediterranean.
Also known as Spanish Eclectic, Spanish Colonial Revival is one of the most popular architectural styles in the sunny states of California, Texas, Arizona and Florida. The style was born in San Diego during the Panama – California architectural exposition (1915-1917) and is a hybrid of many different influences: Spanish Baroque, African, Islamic, Persian, Native and Southern American.
Inspired by the architecture that was found during the early days of Spanish colonization in North and South Americas, architect Bertram G. Goodhue proposed for the Panama-California exhibition several temporary constructions that added new layers to a classic Mediterranean style. The result was a very popular type of building that was immediately assimilated throughout the states that had the appropriate climate and cultural heritage. In California, Spanish Colonial Revival has become the ¨indigenous historical vernacular style¨ still used and reinterpreted in the present day. Not that many Spanish Colonials in Illinois, though.
Characteristics of the exteriors:
1. White stucco walls ( a mix of water, cement and sand/lime)
2. Red/orange terra-cotta roof tiles
3. Varying roof heights for added interest
3. Wrought iron ornamentation ( window grilles, lanterns…)
4. Arches and curves
5. Inner patios, arcades and courtyards
7. Carved wooden front doors
8. The occasional tower
As for the interiors, there are certain features that when preserved in a remodel, will give a more authentic feel and be harmonious with the architecture.
Characteristics of the interiors:
1. Stucco walls, sometimes kept white, most often glazed in warm tones
2. Red terra-cotta tile flooring in the entryway, kitchen, bathroom
3. Wrought iron ornamentation such as hardware, light fixtures, stair railings
4. Built-in niches
5. Arched doorways and windows
6. Painted tiles on the stair risers, bathrooms and kitchen backsplash
7. Dark brown woodwork
8. Wooden ceiling beams
9. Rich, deep colors in the interior furnishings- a reminder of the Spanish Baroque influence in the architecture
Hope you enjoyed these sneak peeks of (celebrity owned) Spanish Colonials. Wishing you all a bearable week!