These styles of homes have flourished in Southern California since the 1920s and 1930s, following the Panama-California Exposition of 1915 in San Diego's Balboa Park, and were embraced due to the similar climates. The category of architecture commonly referred to as Mediterranean today is more of a catch-all term, blending and borrowing themes and features from styles that include the Spanish Revival, Spanish Colonial Revival, Moorish Revival, Italian and California Mission type of homes, among others.
Today, we often refer to Mediterranean-themed homes as Spanish Modern or Spanish Eclectic. By any name, however, they effortlessly and beautifully blend form and function with materials and features that keep homes cooler in warmer climates.
Mediterranean-style homes often feature a U-shaped design centered around an outdoor fountain or courtyard, and often make interior gardens and patios part of the living space. They feature low, pitched roofs covered in tile – often red – and stucco or adobe exterior walls featuring white or light colors. Common exterior elements typically include numerous oversized windows, carved entry doors, multiple balconies, high arches, columns, arcades and ornamental wrought iron work on gates and windows.
On the interior, common elements in the Mediterranean theme include hand-painted and mosaic tiles, wood beams, spiral staircases, arched doorways and stucco or plastered walls.
Visit Houzz.com for photo galleries of Mediterranean-style homes and design elements.