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L.A. Architecture Spotlight: Spanish Colonial Revival

Take a stroll in any of Los Angeles’s iconic neighborhoods and you’ll be sure to come across a home or two with red terracotta shingles, off-white stucco walls and a few arched windows. This architecture, known as Spanish Colonial Revival, eloquently characterizes Southern California’s signature relaxed look.

The first wave of this style, beginning near the end of the 19th century, was based on California’s historic mission churches (1769–1823). Because the Spanish Colonial Revival movement enjoyed its heyday from 1915 to 1931, if you find a home on the market built during this golden era, it’ll most likely be . . . you guessed it—a Spanish Colonial Revival home.

 
Illustration by Rob Leanna

Anatomy of a Spanish Colonial Revival Home

  • Low-pitched roofs of red tile
  • Stucco walls
  • Multi-pane windows
  • Courtyards
  • Wrought-iron fixtures
  • Decorative, Spanish influenced tile
  • Arched windows or doorways


The style seems like the spirit of California, because of its indoor-outdoor harmony and nod to regional history. It has remained popular due to its versatility–the arches, carved wood and ornate tile at play in mansions can be dialed back for small single-family homes and modest bungalow courts. 

Today Spanish Colonial Revival homes are popular with homeowners looking for outdoor living space, character and charm that pay homage to the heritage of Old California. 

Here’s a look at some of the most beautiful, timeless Spanish Colonial Revival homes that we’ve had the privilege of representing.


Pictured: Spanish Colonial, Palos Verdes, CA | Built in 1925 | Sold by Lisa Kirshner Properties 

Timeless Charm, Revamped & Refreshed

First up, one of the most impressive Spanish Colonial Revival homes we’ve helped our clients purchase was this coastal masterpiece in Palos Verdes. With its substantial remodel in 2006, the home was masterfully recrafted with imported tile and stone. The home also features a private koi pond, multiple balconies, ocean views in nearly every room, two subterranean basements, and fireplaces throughout, it’s no wonder our clients snatched this up in eight days!


Pictured: Spanish Bungalow, Los Angeles, CA | Built in 1924 | Sold by Lisa Kirshner Properties 

Big Things Come in Small . . . Bungalows 

Though you can spot beautiful Spanish Colonial Revival homes sprinkled all over the Los Angeles area, some of our favorite abodes can be found in Hancock Park, Santa Monica, Los Feliz, and Hollywood Hills. 

We sold this Spanish Bungalow nestled in the heart of Beverly Grove in the fall of 2020. Besides the location (just moments from the acclaimed Melrose and Fairfax shopping and restaurant area) what we loved most about this home was the modern black doors, trim and the courtyard, which made the quaint yard feel like a private oasis. 

 
Pictured: Spanish Single Family, Los Angeles, CA |  Built in 1926 | Sold by Lisa Kirshner Properties 

Spanish Colonial with an ADU

With Accessory Dwelling Units popping up pretty much everywhere in the Los Angeles area, it comes as no surprise that even the classic Spanish Colonial Revival home would have its hand in the pot as well. While it doesn’t get more “L.A.” than this, we couldn’t help but fall in love with how our clients tastefully merged these two features with this 1936 single family home. 

Local Landmarks

La Casa Nueva (1922–27) is on the grounds of the Workman and Temple Family Homestead Museum in City of Industry. The high-style Spanish Colonial Revival mansion is noted for its fine stained glass, ceramic tile, wrought iron, and carved wood. After a remodel, the house reopened in 2011.


Fine woodwork, tile, and ironwork are on display at La Casa Nueva. Photo: oldhouseonline.com


Historic Adamson House (1929) is a National Historic Site, California Historical Landmark, and a California State Park in Malibu. It was designed by architect Stiles Clements for Rhoda Rindge Adamson and her husband, Merritt Huntley Adamson. 

The house is a stunning showcase for local Malibu Potteries tiles—the business venture of Rhoda’s mother, May, who used locally found buff and red clay to produce authentic versions of Mayan, Moorish, Moroccan, Saracen, and Persian designs. The pristine Spanish Colonial home also retains excellent period furnishings and lovely grounds oriented to the picture-perfect seascape.

Bonus: you can plan your next event or wedding at this iconic Malibu home with seaside views!


The Adamson House was once the only home along the 27-mile-long beach of Malibu. Photo: San Diego Union Tribune 

SoCal Places to Spot Spanish Colonial Revival Homes: Santa Barbara, Palos Verdes Estates, Ojai, Rancho Santa Fe, San Clemente, San Marino, Pasadena, Glendale, Beverly Hills, California Heights in Long Beach, and the Whitley Heights, Carthay Circle, Carthay Square, Windsor Square, Spalding Square, Hancock Park, Leimert Park, Hyde Park, Los Feliz and Miracle Mile. 

Looking for your own Spanish Colonial home? Our team would love to show you some current listings that feature this iconic architecture! 

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