From Morocco to Miami and Santa Barbara to San Sebastián, Mediterranean home design encompasses a variety of styles steeped and history and influences. One thing is certain: It's a style that endures and continues to gain fans throughout the years. With careful planning and a skilled architect, modern Mediterranean-style homes can combine features that blend the best of old world style with modern lifestyles.
Mediterranean architecture became popular in the early 20th century in places like Southern California, Texas, and Florida: areas that enjoy warm climates similar to the countries and cities along the Mediterranean Sea. While styles vary they share an emphasis on the home as a retreat and sanctuary and offer easy access to the outdoors via wide doors and windows, terraces, atriums, and patios. Notable architects who used Mediterranean influences in their designs include Bertram Goodhue, George Kaufmann, Julia Morgan, and Wallace Neff.
Forms of Mediterranean architecture include:
- Spanish Colonial and Spanish Colonial Revival
- Mediterranean Revival
- Italian Villa
- Mission Revival
- Neo-Mediterranean, which is also known as Spanish style
- Spanish Eclectic
Key features of Mediterranean home design include:
- A connection and easy transition between indoors and outdoors
- Spaciousness created by high-beamed ceilings and archways
- Eclectic: mixing old styles with modern tastes
- Red-tile roofs
- Arches above doors, windows, and porches or balconies
- Rough-hewn wood or carved doors
- Ceramic tile
- Wrought-iron (not rod iron) grillwork and railings
- An emphasis on natural materials
- Outdoor spaces, like patios, courtyards, balconies, terraces, etc.
- Outdoor water features: fountains, ponds, pools, etc.
Join us for an international tour of magnificent Mediterranean homes, from petite properties to expansive estates.
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Inspired by Spanish Revival architecture of the early 20th century, this home designed by CW Architecture of Scottsdale, Arizona, was built in 2011. Among the one-story home's Mediterranean features are smooth stucco, Cantera stone, clay tile accents, reclaimed wooden doors, and a Spanish style entry courtyard.Continue to 2 of 18 below.
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Estate with a Private Winery
On 12 acres in Northern California's Los Altos hills is a Mediterranean home with a private winery and four acres of vineyards. Designed by Noel Cross Architects, the idea for this structure was influenced by buildings of Italy's Tuscany region. The architects imported salvaged clay barrel tiles from Europe for the winery's roof and used integral color plaster for exterior and interior walls. Features that are distinctly Tuscan include minimal eave overhangs, vertically proportioned window and door openings, the plaster walls, clay roof, and arched loggia.Continue to 3 of 18 below.
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Italian Villa in Los Angeles
Located in Los Angeles' historic Hancock Park section of older homes, this Italian-style villa was built in 1926 and was restored, remodeled, and received additions at the rear by architects Koffka/Phakos Design. Note Mediterranean features like the clay tile roof, decorative eaves, smooth plaster walls, and the bullnose detail at the painted wood windows and doors. Landscaping was designed by Garness.Continue to 4 of 18 below.
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In the beautiful seaside town of Montecito, near Santa Barbara, the owners of a Spanish Colonial Revival enlisted the help of Thompson Naylor Architects to remodel an existing patio. Teaming with the interior designer and landscape architect, the firm designed a roofed enclosure and integrated the patio with a private pool and garden.Continue to 5 of 18 below.
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Tuscan Home in the Rockies
Far from the Mediterranean or at least Mediterranean climates, Centre Sky Architecture designs and builds ranches, resorts, and custom homes in the Rocky Mountains. A Tuscan-inspired home might be the last thing you'd expect in a mountain town, but that affinity for working with natural materials translates well with this rustic, modern Mediterranean. This 4,500 square-foot home is surrounded by meadows of wildflowers. On the outside, rich and varied materials include recycled, old planking, stone, slate roofing and stucco, and copper to add a rich texture.Continue to 6 of 18 below.
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Carmel Valley Hacienda
All but destroyed in a previous remodeling attempt, architect Tom Meaney was challenged with restoring and rethinking a 1920s estate. Most of the interior needed to be removed and reconfigured to both reflect the original style of the house and incorporate features and updates to bring it current with contemporary lifestyles. Working with landscape architect Joni Janecki and Associates and contractor Rocky Maguire, Meaney built a stunning hacienda near Monterey, California, with a large courtyard that is a main feature.
Spanish/Mediterranean features include handmade roof tiles, brushed cedar windows, and hand-painted ceramic tiles.Continue to 7 of 18 below.
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El Rancho in Austin, Texas
Located in the Austin, Texas, suburb of Georgetown, this 7,000 square-foot estate is thoroughly modern but uses Mediterranean materials like rough stone, smooth plaster, terra cotta, and features like fountains, arches, and a tile roof. The RJSB Ranch was a joint project of builder Steve Richmond Fine Homes and J. Bryant Boyd Architecture.Continue to 8 of 18 below.
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Montecito Mediterranean Home
A mecca for Mediterranean style homes, this estate in the California coastal town of Montecito had a large, thirsty lawn that needed to be replaced with something more drought tolerant. Montecito Landscape created a gravel patio edged with columnar Italian cypress trees. Other indigenous plants that surround the central pond, fountain, and estate include California natives like rosemary, sages, lavender, and marina strawberry tree (Arbutus 'Marina').Continue to 9 of 18 below.
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Spanish Revival Home
A two-story Spanish revival home in Parkland, Florida, needed continuity among separate sections of its front yard. With a focus on the front entrance, Dreamscapes by Zury combined various plants and rocks to draw the eye both up and outward to the edges of the property. Dreamscapes brought elements together by creating a pattern in the rock gardens that allows the landscape to flow from one area to the other.
Using plants native to the region, Dreamscapes' goal was to enhance the home's Mediterranean beauty and not have any landscape features overshadow it. e only want to enhance the beauty of the home, not overshadow it. Tall, slim cypress trees do not block features like the home's arched windows and doors, while curving palm trees repeat the shapes.Continue to 10 of 18 below.
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Orange County Mission Influence
Most of the homes in California's Orange County were built during the housing boom after World War II. Since the mid 1960s architectural styles of the region have often been influenced by the nearby missions (like San Juan Capistrano) and earlier Spanish Colonial Revival buildings of the area. Conceived by Glover + Graham Design Collective this home and landscape combine classic Mediterranean details that make it look like a very well-maintained older home with some subtle, more modern tweaks.Continue to 11 of 18 below.
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Textural Mediterranean Home Masterpiece
A multi-level Mediterranean house features a rough-stone facade, iron grillwork, and red-tile roofing. To echo that old world look, Ancient Surfaces used authentic limestone in the courtyard, which reflects the color and textures found throughout the home.Continue to 12 of 18 below.
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A 1930s Spanish Colonial
A 1930s-built one-story Spanish Colonial home in LA's Mar Vista area received a smart and period-appropriate update by owners and architects Hsu McCullough. Among the upgrades: repurposed rustic lumber, vintage steel windows, and carved-wood doors. The architects also added a private outdoor living spade that include a fire pit and raised decks.Continue to 13 of 18 below.
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Mediterranean Revival Bungalow
Sarasota, Florida, is famous for its post-World War II architecture, known as Sarasota Modern. This petite bungalow in downtown Sarasota's Burns Court district was built in the mid 1920s by architect Thomas Reed Martin. Working with interior designer Ellen Hanson, Nautilus Homes patched and refinished flooring, reconfigured the bungalow's roof, replaced all windows. Exterior walls were built varying levels to offer privacy in some areas, yet allow passersby to view the bungalow's clean design and smooth, off-white stucco.
The project is a standout for its simplicity, use of materials that are distinctly Mediterranean Revival, and retaining the home's architectural and historical integrity. Heavy or excessive ornamentation would have dwarfed the home. Instead, we see hints of its origins in the terra cotta roof tile, ceramic tile porch, simple iron handrail, and the Moorish/Moroccan detail above the windows and doors.Continue to 14 of 18 below.
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A Garden Inspired by a Honeymoon
An enclosed courtyard garden is a place to relax and provides a calming entry to a 1920s-era house in LA's Hancock Park neighborhood. To achieve this, Naomi Sanders Landscape Design had a central ornamental pear tree pruned for a more sculptural effect. Sanders chose a minimal planting pallet to emphasize texture, using shades of green, white, red, dark purple, and even black. Hardscape design connects with the homeowners' honeymoon: it reminds them of a path they took on a romantic walk to a restaurant in Spain.
The texture and color of the concrete was custom matched to the home's exterior and architectural elements. Mediterranean garden plants include pittosporum, pomegranate, dianella, liriope, privet, azalea, and Japanese maple 'Bloodgood'.Continue to 15 of 18 below.
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Miami Beach Mediterranean Modern
Built in 1934 for the Hoover family of Hoover vacuum fame, this Mediterranean Modern home in Miami features classic architectural elements like stucco walls, red-tile roofing, arched windows and doors, wrought-iron grillwork, and brick outdoor surfaces. Margaux Interiors worked with furnishings collected by the owner during her worldwide travels. The house is 5,000 square feet, has six bedrooms, five bathrooms, and lots of breathtaking gardens.Continue to 16 of 18 below.
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Croatian Mediterranean Home
In the small Croatian village of Bicine is a modern interpretation of Spanish Colonial architecture known as Hirundo Rustica. Designed by Rosa Gres, the multi-family house (which is rented out for travelers), features rugged stonework, a terra cotta roof, patios with two swimming pools, courtyards, walkways, water features, saunas, and a children's play area.Continue to 17 of 18 below.
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A home and guest cottage in San Rafael, California, received a new driveway and landscaping that complement its classic California-Mediterranean architecture. Nearly half of the driveway paving was removed; in its place is flagstone paving and decomposed granite (DG). Designed by Simmonds & Associates, the garden and planters feature natives that harmonize with the house.Continue to 18 of 18 below.
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Spanish Eclectic Modern
Parkland Estates in Tampa, Florida, is an upscale neighborhood that features both new and old homes in a variety of architectural styles. This one is considered Spanish Eclectic Modern, and Hittmeier Design Consultants oversaw updates that included a swim-up bar, stairs, awnings, and grillwork.