Architecture and Interior Design
"On A Mission From God"
The effects of Spainish Colonialism on architecture and interior design is far reaching and still resonates today. Mission style inspires the look of houses, commercial structures and public buildings throughout the Southwest and especially California. The Mission style also offshoots us into the related styles of Spanish Eclectic, Pueblo Revival, Monterey, and the Americanized hacienda that morphed into the post-modern ranch. Mission-style furniture ties a loose string to the Arts and Crafts movement. Most experts agree that it all started in the 1890's with Mission, the name coming from the buildings of Spanish colonialism that included functional adornments like roof parapets, and bell towers. Red tile roofs are de riguer along with deep porches, arched windows, and masonry walls.
The mission style is iconic, even today. The image above, captured in the 1930's depicts the Beverly Hills Hotel, a.k.a. "The Pink Palace." Other commercial and public buildings constructed in the Mission style and probably well known to Californians, include the Santa Barbara County Court House seen below.
As noted above, the style split off in to several sub styles including the American version of the hacienda. The one pictured below, (with images also taken in the 1930's) depicts Hacienda de la Tordilla, located near San Antonio, Texas. Exterior facades are represented as stucco or cut stone. A front porch is featured on both floors.
A view from the porch reveals the depth of the structure, a stone floor and outdoor furniture that existed in the time period. Ornamental wrought iron light fixtures and heavy timber framing complete the picture.
Stepping inside the house offers a rare glimpse of authentic decor of the period. Timber roof trusses were left exposed, doorways and the fireplace openings feature the graceful arch , windows are heavily draped against the sun, the carved front door is heavy and ornate yet simplified with a repeating geometric pattern. Walls are whitewashed which brings art and fabric colors forward - even when they're in black and white.
In the dining room - more of the same. Arched doorways, exposed beams that in this case actually hold up the roof. I'm guess the floors are honed tile, the furniture is chunky, and a decorative niche has been carved into the thick wall. A pass through window can be seen to the right and the kitchen offers a sitting area for informal meals.
Smaller versions of the hacienda that use the same kinds of building methods but still spring from the Mission include the adobe cottage. The one above was photographed in the 1930's in a little place called Albuquerque, New Mexico. Like their counterparts in the eastern United States, authentic, older adobes are being preserved and rehabbed by younger homeowners who want to live in a house with an old-world design point of view.
For more stories about traditional house types that aren't all about
architecture and interior design mission.