Known for their red clay tiled roofs and varying shades of white or pale yellow exterior stucco finishes, Mediterranean style homes are frequently found in states with warm climates and some level of Spanish or Mexican history like Texas, California and Florida. This style is influenced primarily by architecture from Spain and Italy but also elements from other areas that surround the Mediterranean Sea such as Greece, Turkey and North Africa. What qualifies as “Mediterranean” today is really a composite of architectural, design and cultural influences from many countries in this region. You could make the case that the foremost characteristic of a Mediterranean style home is “eclecticism”. In architecture, eclecticism refers to selecting elements of multiple styles to capture a desired aesthetic. All revival styles are inherently eclectic, mixing old elements with modern tastes, but the Mediterranean is especially so. Rather than drawing from a single source, the way most styles do, it draws from many.
The mild climate in parts of the Mediterranean encouraged outdoor living so those homes were designed with multiple spaces outside to enjoy. The patios often had fireplaces which allowed you to linger outside late into the night; interior courtyards, verandas and even balconies were all common and practical additions that you see utilized in designs today. A Mediterranean style home will typically be no higher than two stories and will feature large windows throughout. This feature allowed for breezes to flow through the homes easily during the day. There will generally be low sloping roof lines with deep overhangs, another feature that created expansive shaded areas that established places to sit and stay cool underneath. Other ornamentation details common to this style home would be a generous use of arches, a self-supporting element used during Roman times, large, heavy wooden doors, especially at the entry, multicolored tiles for the risers of the staircases, plaster walls and iron railings and details. If you see a Spanish looking house, that also has Italian and even Moorish features, it’s probably what is referred to as “Mediterranean” today.
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