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The Many Styles of Architecture in SoCal

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SoCal architecture

Like so many other places in the U.S., Southern California is, and has always been, a melting pot of people. Each group of people brought food, cultural ideas, and fashion from their home countries.

Many people forget that the individuals who move into an area often influence a location’s style of architecture. To feel closer to home, new arrivals to the area would construct homes with structural elements and designs like the homes in their native countries.

As a result, you can see many different types of architecture as you drive through SoCal.


Mission Revival

Before California became a part of the U.S., it was explored and settled by Spaniards. As part of the exploration, they established 21 missions throughout the territory between 1769 and 1823.

The missions were built in a Spanish Colonial style, which was ultimately derived from the Baroque and Renaissance styles in Spain.

You can find many examples of Mission Revival homes around California. They usually have plain plaster adobe walls, wide eaves with low-pitched roofs with clay tiles, and arched doorways.



The Craftsman style home is a result of the Arts and Crafts movement that began in England at the end of the Victorian period in England. Members of the English working class became concerned about industrialization and placed a newfound emphasis on hand craftsmanship.

The movement trickled to the U.S. where homebuilders began building simple, elegant homes with high attention to craftsmanship.

Craftsman houses have low-pitched roofs with deep overhanging eaves, large front porches, square columns supporting the roof, and handcrafted stone and wood elements.



Storybook homes look like they’re straight out of a fairytale. This style of architecture became popular as an offshoot of the Period Revival in the 1920s.

The style really took off after a Hollywood director built The Witch’s House (also known as the Spadena House) as part of a 1920s silent film studio. L.A. residents quickly fell in love with the whimsical design and started building it into their own homes.

These homes have characteristically high-pitched roofs, stucco walls with exposed stone and wood elements, and an overall cottage feel.



Tudor-style homes became popular in the U.S. in the late 1800s. They took the popular Tudor homes from 16th century England and put an updated twist on them.

Some typical elements of American Tudor-style homes include decorative exposed timbers, steep-pitched roofs, fancy chimneys, and dramatic entryways. Inside you’ll see coffered ceilings, brick fireplaces, decorative windows, and pronounced staircases.



The modern home, which we know today, emerged after WWII in the 1940s. There was newfound demand for low-cost homes and for the modern styles that were emerging across Europe.

Modern homes come in all shapes and sizes, but all incorporate a great deal of glass into the construction to allow more light into the home. Typically, these homes feel sleek yet informal, thus allowing owners to feel like their space blends with nature.


Many Kinds of Architecture to Explore for Your Home

These five styles are just a sampling of the various types of architecture that you can find in SoCal. With so many types of homes ranging from the late 1800s to modern day, there is something for everyone.

Get in touch with us to learn more about how we can help create the custom home of your dreams!

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