The Spanish design style was spurred by the growing Arts and Crafts movement, one that emphasized ‘homier’ spaces more comfortable living, and interiors that truly represented the hub of family life, American architects in the early 1900s began to import Spanish style design style and living concepts. Largely Mediterranean inspired, these homes presented a new twist on a growing trend. By adding that Spanish flair, that rustic, near-Renaissance style, architects were able to craft true gems which came to be especially popular in coastal regions such as Florida and California.
With the Spanish Design Style It’s All About the Accents
Accents truly are everything when it comes to Spanish design and style. From the wrought iron adorning the exterior and interior spaces, to the intricately crafted archways and openings, to reddish roof tiles which in and of themselves are rather mesmerizing to look at, Spanish houses really serve to engage the senses and make you fully appreciate that combination of elegance with just a touch of whimsy.
Spanish Architecture and Design: An Overview
Many wonder what actually makes a home “Spanish.” What design elements and architectural features mark that quintessential Spanish style, especially as it was imported into an American mindset. Here are just a few of the key traits and features endemic to Spanish style structures; here is what makes this particular design aesthetic one-of-a-kind…
- Stucco: The primary exterior materials when it comes to Spanish style construction are much more uniform than, for instance, you would see on a Craftsman home. Spanish design more often relies upon the adornments and accents to elevate the exterior and add depth and interest. But yes, the most used option when it comes to Spanish “siding” is in fact stucco.
Why stucco…The answer has to do more with the practical than the aesthetic. Dating back to the time of the Spanish Conquistadors, this style was basically inspired by the materials they had available, by the limits of their skills, and by the need to create a dwelling that remained temperate. Thick stucco walls did the trick, helping to keep the interior cool during the hottest of days. Nowadays of course, this is a design choice occasioned by the love of the Spanish look and feel.
That is the other important thing about Spanish design, it truly does seek to engage multiple sense. And with stucco of course, you have a siding option that is not only beautiful and unique to behold, but also very tactile in terms of texture as far as the experience of touching it.
- Red Tile Roofs: This might be what most think of first when they hear the phrase “Spanish style house”- those extraordinarily character laden ceramic tile roofs. And once again, you distinctly see where all the senses are engaged. The pattern, color and inherent texture of the roof calls out to more than just the eyes.
As with the stucco siding, Spanish roof designed stemmed from necessity. It was what was available and it provided another level of insulation against the beating rays of the coastal sun. With today’s Spanish homes, roofing material has certainly come a long way. Now we often use more efficient synthetic materials or even metal to mimic the classic look and feel of the tiled Spanish roof.
- Rusticity: While Mediterranean in nature, the Spanish design concept also relies heavily on more rustic elements. Walk into a traditional Spanish style home and immediately you are struck by the strong accents, the distressed woods and leathers, the hammered and weathered iron and copper. All around you, you see the hallmarks of pieces that have been around for generations and that are subsequently enjoying a new life in the home.
Even the doors, moldings and flooring materials tend toward a more distressed and worn look. The point is to make it seem as though the Spanish structure and its accents have stood the test of time. They are representative of the life of the family, always suggesting warmth and comfort.
- Archways: After the red tile roofs, those carved archways are probably what next come to mind when you think Spanish architecture. The rounded archways directly nod to the materials used in the ancient days of Spanish design. They were easiest to create. Today of course, we tend to install these types of openings for that added Spanish flair.
Also, if you think about the roundedness of the doorways, the curve and symmetry of the openings, you can certainly see how this design element might lend itself to more of a welcoming and softer feel. If the family is at the center of this home style, then the Spanish house’s generous, arched openings reflect their embrace.
- Courtyards: Many Spanish homes are in fact oriented around a central courtyard. This, especially in warmer climates where these homes tend to be built, usually becomes the hub of family activity. It’s where people congregate, cook, relax and dine.
The traditional Spanish courtyard is its own little universe in many ways. As, enwrapped by the house proper, it provides those who live there a privately enclosed space to enjoy life outdoors.
Spanish style architecture is certainly unique. At Classic Home Improvements, we have worked with all types of design concepts. Getting to integrate some of the traditional elements of Spanish design is truly a treat. So if you are considering building a home inspired by the fluidity, rusticity and beauty of the Mediterranean, we definitely would love to talk to you!