California and Spanish Colonial Architecture go hand in hand. I have lived in a Monterey Style Spanish Colonial for over 30 years. I am still quite enamored of the overall style. I am always interested to see how other designers reinterpret the venerable style. Let’s take a look at some modern interpretations of the Spanish Colonial, and how the designers have redefined the Spanish Colonial.
Spanish Colonial Revival architecture is characterized by details from” several eras of Spanish Baroque, Spanish Colonial, Moorish Revival and Mexican Churrigueresque architecture, the style is marked by the prodigious use of smooth plaster (stucco) wall and chimney finishes, low-pitched clay tile, shed, or flat roofs, and terracotta or cast concrete ornaments. Other characteristics typically include small porches or balconies, Roman or semi-circular arcades and fenestration, wood casement or tall, double–hung windows, canvas awnings, and decorative iron trim”. Notable California architects of the period include Wallace Neff, Paul Williams, George Washington Smith, Julia Morgan, and many others. The image above is from the beautiful book Spanish Colonial Style from Amazon a must read if you love the genre.
Diane Keaton was one of the first to redefine the Spanish colonial style in her former home. She has sense built another fabulous home and written a great book about it titled The House that Pinterest Built.
Even though she has since moved on,the kitchen of this home still rings current and oozes Diane’s great sense of style.
The library has a bit of an arts and crafts vibe with a bit of wit thrown in don’t you think?
Designer Betsy Burnham (a personal favorite of mine), updated this Pasadena home by Wallace Neff, by keeping many of the traditional details intact which I love.
She upgraded the library by infusing it with color and a touch of whimsy. I hate to say this but are those sputnik light fixtures a bit overdone? Are they soon going to be on the design elements that need to go list? I am sorry I just can’t wrap my arms around them. I feel like the Jetsons just left the room.
The tribal rug and ethic inspired curtains in the living room keep the aesthetic updated but true to its history.
Usually the traditional dark ceilings can drag a room down. I love how Betsy kept it fresh by using beautiful tribal textiles on the curtains and chairs.
The Arts and Crafts style is not a fav of mine but love the Arts and Crafts accents added to this cute breakfast nook. I am guessing the owners already had these chairs. Love the combination of the antique chairs with the fabulous handmade table. You can see more of Betsy Burnham’s beautiful portfolio here
I am not a fan of trying to turn a Spanish Colonial (or any other style for that matter) into something it isn’t. It need not be dark and dingy or “overly spanish”.One can honor the style while adding updated details. Designer Tammy Randall Wood chose a calmer pallet to redefine her Agoura Hills home. She accented her beautiful antiques with white plaster and dark wood trim. It looks fresh but isn’t working too hard.
In her kitchen, she mixed dark wood & white cabinets with white subway tile for a more modern mix.
This gorgeous rock fireplace would be lost in a room with too much pattern and color. I love how she accented only by a modern painting. All the focus is on the funky fireplace design. It is the star.
She left the entry true to its roots with white plaster, iron railing, and saltillo tile. Simply gorgeous.
This outdoor room is drool worthy. I can’t think of an element that needs to be changed. Love the big dark heavy table with the more modern wicker seating. Move this whole outdoor room to my house please. You can check out more of Tammy’s lovely portfolio of work here.
No Spanish colonial post could be complete without Mark Sikes’ gorgeous Hollywood Hills home. Mark is known for creating timeless interiors that reflect the indoor-outdoor California lifestyle. Anyone who thinks traditional interiors are dead better check out his portfolio here. He is a master at making traditional au currant. Mark also has a not to be missed blog and a fabulous book (which I have gifted to many) titled simply Beautiful on Amazon.
Mark’s love of blue and white is no secret and he is not afraid to infuse it into many of his designs.
Many have torn out the ubiquitous Mexican tile but Mark knows how to work it. He makes it modern and fresh as he did in this Montecito beauty below.
Love how he layers and mixes different elements and textures in his designs. Note the Moroccan style mirror, the Oushak rug layered over the seagrass, the wicker and Chinoiserre. He knows how to make a room rock doesn’t he?
A couple years ago I painted all my walls in my Spanish Colonial white (again), painted my window casings dark, updated (minimally and economically) my kitchen and our unused game room. You can read about the game room update in my post s Decorating a Difficult Space part 11 and Decorating a Difficult Space part 3.
The fabulous Tabarka Tile Mediteranean 5 set the tone for the “refreshed” kitchen. I am completely smitten with this line. You can read more about it here in my post Tabarka Tile I am smitten. I am hoping to use it in an update to our master bath soon as well. This tile line is the perfect match for maintaining the character of a Spanish style home while not making it look dated (grandma doesn’t live here).
I am still thinking about switching out my Ballard counter stools. They have been here for many years. I love the roadhouse leather counter stool from CB2. I would like to paint the outside of our house white. Two of our bathrooms are in desperate need of remodeling. The list goes on and on. I may not live here long enough to complete my wish list! You can read about some of my mini updates in my post Spanish Colonial Update If you would like to read more about my kitchen mini reno you can read about that in the post Spanish Colonial Finish Selection Process and our home in Tuscan Style magazine.
My Pinterest board Spanish Colonial Style has long been a favorite of my Pinterest followers. If you aren’t following me on Pinterest please do. I have a shop the look link at the bottom of this page where you can find both high and low decor items that reflect this genre.
Have a great week! Thursday is ageless style day! I am featuring someone I have long admired for her great design sense and her personal style. She is a hoot, you won’t want to miss her.