5 Features That Define Santa Barbara’s Spanish Style Building

The rich cultural background of Santa Barbara largely influenced the traditional Spanish style architecture that is seen today throughout the City. Spanish style homes and buildings in the downtown area make up the character that Santa Barbara is known for and help to keep the aesthetic of “the American Riviera.”

Our contemporary Spanish home in the Mission Canyon area embraces the traditional hacienda style, with a modern twist. As an ode to Santa Barbara’s traditional ways, here are five noteworthy components of the Spanish style architecture:

1. Red Tile Roof

Usually made from terracotta or slate, red roof tiles are a necessary component of Santa Barbara Spanish style architecture. Some noteworthy historic buildings in Santa Barbara with this feature include the Santa Barbara County Courthouse, Lobero Theatre, and El Presidio. This detail is easy to spot when looking for Spanish style buildings.

2. White Stucco

A white stucco exterior is another identifier for the City’s spanish style. This textured material is a mix of water, cement, and sand or sometimes lime. While modern technology has made stucco a stronger more durable material, we can’t deny the nostalgia an older building gives from aged white stucco.

3. California / Drought Tolerant Plants

The Spanish style through history and even today is popular in hot, dry climates. Starting in Spain, where the climate is dry and hot, water heavy landscaping was not a good idea. From the beginning, drought tolerant plants for landscaping were the go-to for styling courtyards, terraces, and more.

4. Ironwork

It’s common to see ironwork around windows along with intricate iron gates/fences. Since iron was less expensive than other metals in the past, it quickly became a popular material to create accents for buildings. We particularly love the iron chandeliers and railings at the Santa Barbara County Courthouse.

5. Tiles

Last, but not least, Spanish tiles are vital to add color and personality to the Santa Barbara Spanish style. In Spain, during the Medieval times, ceramic artisan tiles were painstakingly made to decorate churches and mansions. The next time you take the stairs in the city, check out the mosaic tiles.

We find ideas and inspiration everywhere, especially when we live in an incredible place like Santa Barbara. We look forward to completing the Cheltenham family residence to show off our love for our city’s culture.

Keep up with our inspiration for this project by checking out our Pinterest!

5 Features That Define Santa Barbara’s Spanish Style Building