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Types of California Homes and How to Harness Their Design Potential

Types of California Homes and How to Harness Their Design Potential

In a state as iconic and expansive as California, there are so many architectural styles even with the residential properties you’ll find everywhere. Since its first settlers reached San Diego’s shores in 1542, Cali has been a hotspot of commerce, culture, trade, technology, show business and travel.

The state’s first call to fame was the Gold Rush, which led to immigrants from all over the world, as well as emigrants from the US traveling and settling down here. The result: cosmopolitan urban centers that developed over time to have diverse kinds of cultures and environments and therefore different kinds of architecture. 

Depending on the kind of home you live in, getting the most out of your California house design-wise is all about playing up certain elements and playing down others. 


Adobe Homes

Adobe homes are callbacks to one of the most primitive styles of houses. From the Middle East to here in California, Adobe homes were used by indigenous settlers or tribes as they were easy to make and didn’t require complex materials.

The façade is usually box-like, with the walls made of mud bricks that are placed together after being air-dried. The final result is a building that looks like cob and rammed-earth buildings.

Although adobe houses have fallen out of style lately, due to the overwhelming design, these homes are actually very sturdy in dry climates and can easily be updated to feel modern. Although the interior can be transformed completely, it’s the façade we want to really focus on. 

Try some sturdy wrought iron entry doors and exterior steel windows to match. These will contrast nicely with the complete beige-ness of the house front.  


Californian Ranch-Style

Although based on actual ranches from classic Western architecture, ranch-style homes are actually true Californian inventions. Inspired by the quirky living in the Wild West, ranch houses became extremely popular starting in the 1940s. The American suburban dream was epitomized through this house.

Not only do ranch-style homes provide just about the perfect amount of space for a nuclear family, but the addition of a patio, backyard and ample garage space was especially appealing back then. 

Although these homes fell out of style in favor of postmodern architecture, some people still have an affinity for the simple lifestyle they implied. To spruce a plain ranch-style property up, all you need is the right vision.

Forgo the traditional metal garage door and the neatly landscaped front lawn in exchange for quirky landscaping, colorful roofing and maybe even some exposed brick to make the outside look fresh. 


Spanish Homes

Spaniards, or Spanish-style homes got supremely popular in California due to the compatible weather-based design that maximized ventilation and kept things cool indoors. With hot summers in a large part of the state, Californian citizens fell in love with the clean lines and white paint of a Spaniard home, while retaining the rustic sensibility with arches and barrel roof tiles.

Spanish homes can be upscaled and downscaled easily, since the architecture can vary infinitely, and the finish is usually simple. This gives you a lot to work with. One interesting fact about Spanish homes in the US is that they’re built in Spanish Eclectic Styles.

To redesign a Spanish home while staying on-brand, you should definitely go down the path of Spanish Revival accenting. Ironwork was a huge feature of Spanish revival architecture. Whether you incorporate it into some scrollwork wrought iron doors or with some custom iron patio doors, you’ll find that iron just blends effortlessly without looking dated. 

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Contemporary Designs

Although there’s plenty more to discuss where Californian homes are discussed, one of the most relevant categories today are contemporary homes. Although titled contemporary, these homes were usually designed between the ’50s and ‘70s, but the reason for it is that they incorporate dynamic and out-of-the-box elements.

Utilizing asymmetry, color contrasts, unlikely combinations and a touch of modern-industrial minimalism, these homes are perfect for the 21st century homeowner. Laced with pragmatic elements and plenty of room for reinvention, these homes are a pleasure to redesign.

Not only can you consistently play around with different kinds of exposed brick layouts for the façade, but you can also make just about any change that suits your taste without worrying about the character of the home. 

For example, taking a home with straight lines and edgy glass and adding an ornately designed wrought iron door looks like a brilliant fusion of classic and contemporary. You could also go with iron French doors or Dutch Doorsfrom Pinky’s Iron Doors in California for a similar effect.

On the other hand, using additions like pocket steel doors, pivot doors or barn doors (also available at Pinky’s!) inside the house can take the edginess just a little bit further, if that’s your vision. To contrast such a minimalist interior, we’d recommend taking it easy with the furniture and bringing back some wooden and cloth traditionality. 

So, there you have it: some of California’s best property styles and how you can update and transform these houses into your dream home. 

About the Author

The author is a senior door design director at Pinky’s Iron Doors in California. With nationwide delivery of their premium iron doors, the company is currently leading the market. Their collection includes high-quality iron patio doors, iron front doors, pocket steel doors, industrial-style steel doors, and more. They’re currently offering up to 60% off on a wide range of stunning doors and windows.

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