What Is a Mediterranean House? A Vacation Vibe Right at Home

Deal Score+127
Deal Score+127

Think of iron balconies, terracotta roofs and ornate details that evoke the romance of Spain or Italy – with the benefit of not having to cross the Atlantic to enjoy it all. Mediterranean-style homes can be found in the United States.

Also known as Spanish Modern, Mediterranean houses are found all over the country, although they are most common in warmer climates comparable to temperate Mediterranean countries – in California, Florida and other southern states.

Here’s more about Mediterranean homes and how to decide if this architectural style is right for you.

Characteristics of a Mediterranean house

The most representative feature of Mediterranean-style homes is the low-pitched terracotta roof and the exterior paint is usually light cream or beige. These homes can be one or two stories and vary in size, but they tend to be expansive.

They usually have swimming pools in the backyard, giving the impression of a wide blue water feature, and they have plenty of outdoor living space.

Some common characteristics of Mediterranean homes include:

  • Large windows
  • Iron balconies
  • Open floor plans
  • Stucco exteriors
  • Ornamental details
  • Arches
  • Higher, vaulted ceilings
  • Lush pool areas
  • Courtyard entryways

Is a Mediterranean home for you?

“These homes have been very popular, especially in lake communities and suburbs of metropolitan areas,” said Owen Bohler, a real estate agent covering a two-hour radius around Manhattan.” There are a considerable number of homes available for sale.”

Boller adds that Mediterranean-style homes offer a sense of luxury that appeals to many buyers. Despite their unique look and ambiance, they are surprisingly flexible.

“There are a lot of details, but you can make a Mediterranean-style home simply functional or very formal,” says John Nations, construction manager at New Pointe Communities in San Diego.” Depending on where you live, you can choose earthy colors or lighter colors like blue and green if it’s a beach area.”

On the other hand, Mediterranean-style homes can be expensive to maintain in colder climates, as high ceilings and large windows tend to make heating expensive. Insulation and energy-efficient windows can help, but they can also be expensive. The size of these homes, which tend to be larger than others, can also lead to higher property taxes, as well as higher maintenance costs.

While they will always have their enthusiasts, Los Angeles real estate agent Catherine Bishop said she has seen their popularity wane.

“The Mediterranean-style homes here,” she says, “were built 10 to 15 years ago and the list goes on and on.” Now, farmhouses and Cape Cod are the popular new architectural styles.”

But if you crave abundance, it’s hard to beat the Mediterranean-style homes that can spiritually transport you to those azure seas.

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