If you remember any of your American history, the British had enormous political and cultural impact on the new world. British-inspired homes, for example, are so prevalent in the United States they’re just called Colonial. But another nation’s influence will be noticed throughout the country. Spanish Colonial homes were first built in the parts of America settled by Spaniards—mostly Florida, California, and throughout the Southwest—from the 1600s to the mid-1800s.

Since the Spanish settled in areas with similarly mild climates as their own native lands, the houses they built were quite similar to those found in Spain. Spanish Colonial architecture was built across such large geographic areas with varying indigenous populations, the style has some regional distinctions as well. Even with these regional variations, Spanish Colonial homes share several distinct characteristics.

The structures are built with thick walls, generally white stucco over adobe brick or stone, which helped keep the houses cool. They also have a limited number of small window openings. In early homes these tiny windows didn’t have glass, just wood shutters that opened and closed. These homes are often L-shaped, with a central or side courtyard, a key feature of Spanish-style homes.


One of the foremost recognizable options is that the red, barrel tile roof, which was low-pitched. Wooden doors accent the stucco exterior walls and are sometimes arched, mimicked by arched doorways inside the homes. The interiors of Spanish Colonial homes have a casual, warm feel to them, since the raw adobe walls may not be covered with plaster or accented with trim, and wooden beams usually function structural support on the ceilings.

The Spanish colonization of western America lasted longer than the British claim on the 13 original colonies, but by the mid-1800s, the Spanish Colonial period in America came to an end. However, the architectural style persevered.

Spanish Colonial design was a part of the Colonial Revival movement that unfold all across the u. s. within the early decennary as Americans grew fascinated with their colonial heritage. This time around, Spanish architectural elements (the white stucco exterior, red tile roof, etc.) were more of a choice than a necessity, emphasizing the beauty and old world feel of the materials that became therefore closely tied with CA casual vogue. Mission style architecture drew inspiration from the countless number of churches built by the Spanish settlers in California.

It’s no surprise that this unique architecture design continues to be favored to this day.

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