While traditionally Mediterranean homes aren't yet the norm in the US, there has been a serious increase in the popularity of Spanish colonial revival properties or even simple and contemporary buildings that just seek to showcase some key Spanish colonial architecture features, as a fun little contrast. Of course, there are a lot of private clients seeking out professional interior designers, in a bid to create a charmingly Spanish interior look, but extending the aesthetic to the exterior is still less commonplace. This raises the question, which motifs are really synonymous with a Spanish style residential building?
We've put this guide together to highlight the most recognizable architectural elements of Spanish style homes and while they are all beautiful in their own right, when combined together, they create striking, special and utterly beautiful houses that are impossible to ignore. The best part is that they would look perfect in any country, so there's absolutely no limits, geographical or otherwise.
Possibly the most identifiable element of Spanish style houses, it's rare to ever find these Mediterranean-inspired gems without a great swathe of smooth arches. Doorways, windows and entrances to terraces will all usually be covered with an arch that has been crafted by an artisan builder. Arches will also be used as a key motif in a house's interior, when finished in the Spanish style, to offer better cohesion between facade and interior aesthetics.
Arches always look phenomenal, especially when painted white, which brings us to the next point…
Ahh, white render! You can barely move in Spain, for all the white houses with the pretty and imperfect plaster finish that almost looks as though it has been smoothed on by hand, so it stands to reason that homes inspired by the real thing will also follow suit.
Designed to contrast against a bright blue sky, tropical greens in the garden and rich red roof tiles, white facades are a stunning choice that never age or look anything other than beautiful and here in the US, we have plenty of gorgeous weather to create the ideal blue sky backdrop.
While we are discussing steadfast Mediterranean architecture characteristics, it's time to look up to the roof for a little terracotta treat. There is simply no other option for finishing the roof of a Spanish-inspired home than traditionally hand-shaped terracotta tiles that fall into the pantile arena.
Usually domed, so as to maintain perfect water flow, Spanish roof tiles are as practical as they are pretty.
From perfect patios to enclosed courtyards, Spanish style homes will always seek to shift some focus to a usable and gorgeous outdoor area that feels sociable right through to the core. Let's not forget that in the Mediterranean, the weather is mostly clement, which means that people spend more time outside, sitting on patios and in courtyards, so of course, these elements are included in mock Spanish colonial homes.
For a really authentic look, rustic wall styling, natural wood and sleek floor tiles will create an incredibly dynamic portfolio of materials.
With the main body of Spanish style homes being relatively simplistic and unfussy, it comes down to finishing touches and more bespoke installations to take things up a notch and that's where ironwork detailing, made by master craftsmen, comes into play. Ideal for boundary railings as gates, of course, ironwork takes on an extra functionality, as a traditional window embellishment as well. It's impossible to walk past any Spanish heritage buildings and not notice the marvellous metalwork in place on all of them.
The final architectural element to look out for in Spanish style buildings, or to perhaps consider as part of a new build project, is tall chimneys that have a sculptural feel to them. Usually white, to match the wider white render finish for the main facade, these chimneys almost have a church-like look to them and, when in place, are often to most decorative element of a Spanish style house design.
For villas that exude a naturally warm and exciting ambience, Spanish-inspired architecture is absolutely the perfect choice, especially en masse, with a combination of different motifs in place.