Roots of Style: Spanish Eclectic Homes Locate a Place in Sunlight

When you see a clay tile roof in the U.S., you will likely find a palm tree nearby, for Spanish eclectic architecture overlooks large areas of California, Arizona and Florida. The orange and crimson terra-cotta roofing defines the neighborhood architecture, comfortably reflecting the abundant sunshine in these areas.

Stucco is your next most crucial element in this style. Historically it covered adobe brick walls, but it had been adapted to wood-frame construction and has been demonstrated to be remarkably flexible and pliable. Its vinyl quality means that it moves across buildings, as a painter’s canvas does a frame, allowing perceptible and complex details to stand out, complementing the visual texture of the roofing tiles.

Dennis Mayer – Photographer

Spanish eclectic design developed in the early 20th century and falls under the umbrella of Victorian architecture. Spanish, African, Latin American and Native American influences combined to supply a varied and rich palette where the design is built. The previous Spanish colonial and mission styles confirm the eclectic’s base individuality, which can also be referred to as Spanish colonial revival. Spanish colonial architecture is more straightforward, without detail, and assignment style reflects the characteristics of California’s Spanish missions established in the 18th century.

The 1915 San Diego Panama–California Exposition prompted enormous interest in the wealth of Spanish architecture. The fast growing population in California readily adopted the architecture and incorporated the aesthetics to several different construction types. It is popular; the majority of California dwellings are in the design, whether they’re loyal translations or loose interpretations. A lot of Florida still assembles in the tradition, also, and examples can be found around the nation, although most are located in Southern areas. Texan examples often prefer brick veneer over stucco as the primary siding.

Defining Characteristics of Spanish Eclectic Style

Mission-style tiles cover this Los Angeles–region home. Originally there were two roof tile types: Spanish, which comes with an “S” shape, and assignment, which will be a half barrel laid down or up in an alternating sequence. Current roof tiles come in infinite colours and contours, and artificial clay tile is available also.

Shallow gable and hip roofs cover many examples. Towered elements such as this entrance porch contribute to special variations in massing. Note the picture window into the right; this feature is often arched or parabolic in other examples.

Steven Corley Randel, Architect

Envision this California home with no elaborate cast rock relief door surround and spiraled columns put involving the windows. Without these elements it would be an easy side-gabled rectangle. These elements define the design and include enormous attention and charm.

RCDF Studio

This newly remodeled two-story Los Angeles home has excellent curb appeal. The chimney on the left helps balance the two-level elevation on the right side. Deeply inset, little stained glass windows flank the chimney, demonstrating solidity and strength.

Colorful and elaborate tiles announce a certain rectangular entrance, though a cast stone detail draws attention to the focal point window to the right. Wrought iron light fixtures and a balcony rail above the window are other traits of Spanish eclectic design.

Ken Gutmaker Architectural Photography

San Francisco could be renowned for Victorians, but it’s also home to several Spanish eclectic dwellings. Arched windows and spiral columns with just enough tile roofing provide lots of character here.

Note using wrought iron for the plant balcony and using leaded stained glass in the flanking arched windows.

For those not knowledgeable about the city’s architecture, two apartments, because they’re known, comprise the arrangement. A garage space runs the thickness of the home; it might hold three or four automobiles. A slightly smaller flat makes up the middle level, and a bigger flat makes up the top level.

HartmanBaldwin Design/Build

In a different Los Angeles home, an inset scalloped entrance folds to the facade, demonstrating the flexibility of this stucco finish. Other identifying particulars include colorful tiles set to the risers of the steps, clay tile roof vents piercing the stucco just below the gable peaks, and tall casement windows in a dark contrasting shade.


Note the intimate scale achieved with this San Francisco–region home. Small-scale windows, a plant balcony plus a second bigger cantilevered balcony split down the bulk into approachable elements.

An arched inset entrance door is tucked in at the corner of both major elevation masses and is flanked by little windows. Note the spiraled columns between every pair of arched windows.

This stately Pasadena, California, dwelling slightly departs in character from the preceding examples. It lacks arches and intricately detailed bigger elements. It more closely resembles Spanish colonial architecture by its easier articulation. But, Spanish eclectic expresses itself in the Renaissance-inspired entrance surround and asymmetrical front watch. Note the roof vents near the gable peaks, which pierce the solid walls.

EASA Architecture

This Hillsborough, California, home rambles across the landscape similar to the sprawling missions that bear its ancestry. Found here are many elements seen in smaller examples, such as clay tile roof vents at the gable peaks. A roofed chimney leading peeks through at centre, and exposed timber rafter tails underline the tile roof.

Jorge Ulibarri Custom Homes

Recent interpretations of this design, such as this Florida home, additionally sprawl across the landscape with ease. Note using this tower element for its entrance. Garages are tucked into flanking wings. A complex mixture of window shapes, types and sizes contributes to the design as well.

James Glover Interior & Residential Design

In another newer case, a large and comfortable California home, a towered entrance element dominates. Garages placed perpendicular to the front elevation help emphasize the entrance and other defining elements. Deep inset and tall windows include permanence.

Friehauf Architects Inc..

Notice the chimney leading in this San Diego–region home. This detail can be found in many original examples. A towered entrance, wrought iron railings and light fixtures, and also a rambling layout supply the Spanish eclectic character of this house and the entire neighborhood. California still retains this style in high esteem, according to all types of development that continue the aesthetic.

Maybe the adaptability of these materials and also the flexibility of layout elements have contributed to the longevity of this architecture. With infinite variations possible, it’s likely that Spanish eclectic will maintain its existence for several years in the sunny areas of the U.S.

Can you live in a Spanish eclectic house? Please show us a photograph in the Remarks section!

More: Many Cultures Make Their Marks on Mediterranean Design

See related