The “Spanish Eclectic” integrates Roman, Byzantine, Moorish, Renaissance, and other Mediterranean traditions brought by Spainards to the Americas.  Unlike Spanish high-style architecture, American Hispanic architecture remembers the soldier craftsmen and the unskilled American Indian laborers who charmingly remade the high Spanish-style askew.  Much favored by architects from Florida to California—and occasionally as far north as Maine—the Spanish Eclectic continues to borrow from everywhere: Catholic Missions; California Ranchos; the 1915 Panama Pacific Exposition; folk forms, stripped classicism, et cetera.  It should be said, “The elegantly commodious Spanish Eclectic style incorporates many sub-styles, each with its own history.

Spanish Colonial Revival” is richly ornamented in the fashion of the Conquistadors, the Franciscan padres, and the Papal Baroque grandees.
Spanish Mediterranean” features Greco-Roman details, Italian and Andalusian forms reinterpreted by skilled architects.
The picturesque “Pueblo Revival” style nostalgically fashions an imaginary past.

In Precedent

Roman, Byzantine, Moorish, and Renaissance villas, palaces, churches, mosques, and cathedrals.
The adobes of the Hopi Pueblo.
Mediterranean courtyard houses.
The 1915 Panama-Pacific International Exposition (San Francisco).
The 1917 Panama-California Exposition (San Diego).


When most Spanish, asymmetrical; when anglicized, a Palladian bilateral symmetry imposes strict order.  In the best examples, asymmetries are balanced in unity of variety.  Most occasionally, some Greek Order will be applied, though when Spanish the picturesque is the aim and purpose.  The style can appear wealthy, as in Palm Beach, middling, as in Del Ray.
Roof Features
Roofs might be flat or slightly pitched (no need to bear snow).  If pitched, made of barrel or “S” shape red clay tiles, a distinguishing feature of the Spanish and Mediterranean.  Decorative chimney caps like to show themselves inventive and high.
A few small windows cool the house, discourage direct sunlight.  Trabeated, most often with flat lintels over six-by-six windows, though window shapes might be arched, rounded, square, as suits the house aesthetic.  Often, iron bars are incorporated, a reminder of the days before glass was common.  Both doors and windows can be shuttered.
Structure and Materials
Walls are most often thick, textured and heavily stuccoed in white or in earth tones.  Dark, heavy wood doors starkly contrast the white stucco.  Decorative glazed tile might surround doors and windows.  Wrought iron might be used on balconies, porches, or over windows, as mentioned above.
Space and Floor Plan
Floor plans are inventive, ceiling heights vary, spaces are open.
Arches are prominent, as is the metal lantern light near a door of the main entrance.  The entrance might be at the base of a tower, within an arcade, or celebrated in the rich carvings of a door surround.
Ornament is most often stripped to bare essential, though grand houses sometimes brag lavish ornamentation in coats of arms and florid architectural element.
Most often white stucco, though earth tones and tropic green are sometimes suitable.
Courtyards fully or partially enclosed are common, as is the casita, a little guest house that will have a private entrance and unique personality.  Decorative pools and cooling fountains remember the pleasure gardens of the Moors and the Spanish kings.  


This Spanish Eclectic home weds beauty with history, simplicity with energy efficiency.
Heat blowers, drawing fans, solar water heat, and solar electricity are intended to be camouflaged in the chimneys and behind the roof façade.  Large window openings allow sunlight beneath over-hung heat moderating porches.  Façade windows are small.  The two bedrooms of the second floor can be isolated to save energy when unoccupied.  And, this house is designed for aging-in-place—all the essentials are on the main floor.

The plan is suited to its purpose.  The master bedroom suite is private.  The office has a separate entrance.  The public rooms are grand with open-beamed ceilings, tile floors, and stuccoed walls.  The separated back-hall is a semi-private transition from the garage, the utility rooms, and the extra, upstairs bedrooms.


Spanish Eclectic

Plan #43, Spanish Eclectic, Las Cruces, Plan and Elevation. M. Curtis, designer


Plan #43

1,903                           Total Square Feet
1,487                           First Floor
416                              Second Floor
26’-6”                           Height
79’-6”                           Width
36’-4”                           Depth
17’-0’                           Vaulted Ceiling (GR)
11’-0”                          Vaulted Ceiling (1st Floor)
10’-0”                          Vaulted Ceiling (2nd Floor)
3                                  Bedrooms
2 ½                              Bathrooms


Spanish Eclectic, #43

Plan #43, Spanish Eclectic, Las Cruces, Variation 2. M. Curtis, designer

Room Size

Great Room                  23’-8”” x 16’-0”
(ceiling height to 17’-0”)
Kitchen                         12’-0”” x 12’-0”
Dining Room               12’-0” x 9’-10”
Master Bedroom        12’-0” x 13’-5”
(ceiling height to 11’-0”)

(two 7’-6” closets)
Master Bath                 12’-0” x 7’-0”
Library/Office              12’-0” x 10’-0”
Hall                               12’-0” x 14’-6”
(potential attic space and draw fan above)
Watercloset                  5’-10” x 4’-9”
Laundry                         5’-8” x 4’-9”
Stair Hall                      12’-0” x 10’-0”
(2’-8” closet)
Bedroom 2                    12’-0” x 9’-2”
(3’-7” closet)
Bedroom 3                    12’-0” x 9’-2”
(3’-7” closet)
(potential solar panels above)
Bathroom                       7’-5” x 6’-10”
Covered Porch, front     23’-8” x 9’-0”
Covered Porch, rear      23’-8” x 9’-0”
Garage                            16’-0” x 26’-0”


Spanish Eclectic

Plan #43, Spanish Eclectic, Las Cruces, Dimensioned. M. Curtis, designer


Energy Efficient Design
adaptable to solar water, electrical, and fan
open floor plan
economical to build
kitchen island
main floor bed & bath
main floor laundry
covered front & back porches
side-entry garage
wheelchair adaptable

Other Beautiful Spanish Eclectic houses include:

#5 Presidio
#84 Pomona


Featured image: Plan #43, Spanish Eclectic, Las Cruces, Elevation. M. Curtis, designer


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