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Inspired Style: The Spanish/Mediterranean

Spanish Architecture and the Painted Desert colors are so beautifully paired in harmony. And, we are incredibly drawn to Mediterranean architecture and colors, which can give a sun-drenched Italian look. The proper colors and combinations can inspire a Southwest home to attain the look of the native terrain taking cues from the mountains, trees, flowers and sunsets. 

There are an infinite lesson of colors through culture, as well as natural choices, with subdued palettes, lively/bold hues, and muted/earthy tones of Spanish and desert-appropriate colors. The Mediterranean embraces a grounded, interconnected sense of life, taking its architecture back to the soil of the Tuscany region. As another refresher course on architectural styles, we revisit Spanish/Mediterranean architecture.

 

Historical Reflections
Spanish Revival architecture has a long history in America. For the past 100 years, there have been many periods of renaissance. The Spanish Colonial revival was born in California in the 1890s and reached its peak during the 1910s and 1920s. 

The design elements blend the California Mission style with the Pueblo style of New Mexico. The style is marked by:

  • Smooth plaster (stucco) wall and chimney finishes
  • Low-pitched clay tile
  • Shed or flat roofs
  • Terracotta or cast concrete ornaments
  • Small porches or balconies
  • Roman or semi-circular arcades
  • Wood casement or tall, double-hung windows
  • Canvas awnings
  • Decorative iron trim
 
 


Spanish Colonial architecture proved to be more daring, with its exuberance and expressiveness that included courtyards, carved stonework and patterned tile floors and walls.

Spanish Revival architecture in the West and Southwest regions of the United States encompasses the stone/stucco exteriors and red barrel tile roofs found in Spanish Hacienda, Tuscan, Santa Barbara, Mediterranean and Floridian styles. 

Examples of Spanish architecture:

  • Frank H. Upham House in Altadena, CA, completed in 1920
  • Adamson House in Malibu, CA, completed in 1930
  • Alice Lynch Residence in Los Angeles, CA, completed in 1922

Mediterranean Revival was quite popular in the first decades of the 20th century until World War II. It reflects diverse European traditions and was used in the design of both grand homes and row houses. Mediterranean Revival is an eclectic style based on 16th-Century Italian palazzo architecture, combined with Spanish and Moorish elements. The style is well-suited to the California climate, which is associated with Mediterranean resorts.

The design elements of Mediterranean fuse with elements of Spanish and Moorish architectural designs with a touch of French influence. This style is marked by:

  • Red clay tile
  • Smooth stucco or roughly textured wall planes
  • Carved brackets
  • Arcaded porches and arched door and window openings
  • Wrought - iron grilles
  • Balconies made of cast iron
  • Ornate doors and enriched door surrounds
  • Symmetrical primary facades


Examples of Mediterranean architecture:

  • Francis Lederer residence, West Hills, Los Angeles, CA, completed in 1936
  • Pasadena City Hall in Pasadena, CA,1927
  • Hayes Mansion in San Jose, CA, completed in 1905
 
Spanish Color Schemes
The Spanish - style color palette uses a lot of complementary colors, such as red and green, which creates both contrast and stability. Nature also provides color harmony. Here are 9 color schemes of Body, Trim and Accents.

 

Light/Subdued and Soothing

DEC743 High Noon
DE6137 Tan Plan
DE6111 S'mores
DE6066 Desert Rock
DEC704 Moenkopi Tan
DE6054 Prairie Dog
DE6186 Desert Floor
DE6158 Buckskin
DE6174 Ridgecrest

 

Bold/Vivid and Energizing

DEC728 Madera
DE5187 Weathered Saddle
DEA157 Cellar Door
DE5249 Coyote
DE6077 Deep Brown
DE5152 Cedar Grove
DE6138 Dark Sepia
DE5538 Bonsai
DEA156 Cherry Cola

 

Muted/Earthy and Enveloping

DE6136 Terracotta Sand
DE6118 Sandpit
DEA174 Olive Court
DE6200 Handwoven
DE6194 Natural Bridge
DEA159 Rich Mocha
DE6096 Homestead
DE6069 Bannister Brown
DE6091 Red Hook


Mediterranean Color Schemes
These palettes mirror the glow of amazing Italian sunsets. They are rich and passionate --rough and elegant. The colors take you back to the countryside. Here are six color schemes for Body, Trim and Accents.

 


 


DE6151 Warm Butterscotch
DE5719 Ecological
DEC769 Ranier White
DEC743 High Noon
DE5228 Pumpkin Pie
DEC730 Alluring Umber
DE6213 Fine Grain
DE6228 Play on Gray
DE5209 Cinnabar
DEC724 Spanish White
DE5367 Deserted Path
DEC776 Courtyard Green
DEC745 Chaparral
DE6112 Cedar Chest
DE6308 Black Spruce
DE6199 Pale Beach Brown
DE6208 Tuscan Mosaic
DE6084 Roxy Brown

 

 All images by Dunn-Edwards and with permission of Getty Images