Architectural Profile: Mediterranean Style Homes


First depicted in glamorous movies and magazines from the 1920s and ’30s, the Mediterranean-style home elicits fantasies of beachside living.  The architecture is influenced by Spanish Colonial, Italian Renaissance, and Grecian styles, and in California, you’ll see elements of the New Mexico pueblo and California Mission. You’ll find breezy entranceways in these homes, as well as curved windows and an easy flow from indoor to outdoor living. Because of this, the Mediterranean style is most popular in warm coastal climates like California and Florida.

The Facade

When first driving up to Mediterranean-style home, the first thing you’ll notice is the grand presentation.  Most are built of stucco in neutral colors and red tile roofs. Many have columns and large, curved front doors of carved wood with wrought iron details.  The windows are large and mostly curved and in the front yard is likely a fountain and more of a courtyard than traditional lawns and landscaping.

If the home was built in the Italian style, the details will be more ornate with classic columns and a clear symmetry to the floorplan.  If it’s more in the Spanish style, you’ll see less ornamentation and little to no symmetry to the design.

The Interior

When walking into a Mediterranean-style home, you’re greeted with high ceilings of ornate construction like coved or coffered, hand-painted details, and if it’s a California-style Mediterranean home, you’ll see lots of curves.  There will be a curved staircase, curved windows and doors, curved entryways into rooms, and most likely terra cotta or other tiled flooring.

A Mediterranean-style kitchen typically has dark wood cabinetry, tiled backdrops, pendant-style lighting, and exposed wood beams.  The interior will also flow easily to an attached garden.

The Outdoor Area

Most Mediterranean-style homes include a lush garden area easily accessible from multiple rooms.  Since the architectural style comes from parts of the world where outdoor living is pleasant year-round, the flow from indoors to outdoors is especially important.  In fact, when walking through one of these homes, you can almost hear the sounds of gently crashing waves in the background. It’s this breezy feeling that makes the style so popular in coastal cities with temperate weather.  

The Mediterranean-style home is all about details and glamour.  It makes you want to flow through its rooms and lounge in the sun, and it makes you appreciate the craftsmanship that goes into creating its ornamentation. The architectural style was made popular by the screen sirens from the 1920s and ’30s and that feeling is still alive and well today.