Spanish Mediterranean

June 3, 2011

I guess I’m feeling a bit nostalgic lately, wanting to blog about things that remind me of growing up and  family.  Yesterday it was our family house in Tahoe and today I am celebrating the architectural style of Spanish Mediterranean.  Prolific in the neighborhood I grew up in, I am very fond of the style and of course it reminds me of home.  What I love: Barrel Tile, Cornice Details, Lime Based Paint, arched windows, decorative columns, wood casement windows, balustraded balconies, decorative ventilation grids, rough textured stucco walls, low pitched multiple gabled roofs, and awnings (so Hollywood).  Barrel Tile, Cornice Details, Lime Based Paint, arched windows, decorative columns, wood casement windows, balustraded balconies, decorative ventilation grids, rough textured stucco walls, low pitched multiple gabled roofs, and awnings (so Hollywood).  On the inside, the idea of heavy beams over head, think walls, sunken living rooms and tiled floors all make the look more fabulous ( and of course all of that and more under the California sunshine ).

Step through the stucco archway, linger in the tiled courtyard, and you might think you were in Spain. Or Portugal. Or Italy, or northern Africa, or Mexico. North America’s Spanish inspired homes embrace the entire Mediterranean world, combine it with ideas from Hopi and Pueblo Indians and add flourishes that would make Walt Disney proud.  It’s fairly easy to recognize a Spanish Eclectic home. Virginia and Lee McAlester, authors of A Field Guide to American Houses, characterize Spanish Eclectic homes as having these features:

  • Low-pitched roof
  • Red roof tiles
  • Little or no overhanging eaves
  • Stucco siding
  • Arches, especially above doors, porch entries and main windows
and possibly…
  • Asymmetrical shape with cross-gables and side wings
  • Flat roof and parapets
  • Or, a hipped roof
  • Carved doors
  • Spiral columns and pilasters
  • Courtyards
  • Carved stonework or cast ornaments
  • Patterned tile floors and wall surfaces
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