I Capture the Mediterranean

Mediterranean houses are such wonderful examples of how a home evokes romanticism.  Though being themselves simple in shape, these houses manage to allow outside voyeurs dream of ocean breezes, blue waters somewhere nearby and a leisurely spaced existence for their occupants.  They share very common languages and decorative elements but the way those elements and languages are used in combination gives each house a unique character.

The most common architectural element found in these houses is the exterior balcony or an arcade.  They tell us of milder climates where one goes out on the porch to catch that southern breeze or bask in glow of an orange sunset.  The porches are often covered by a shed tiled roof held in place by simple posts between rows of turned wood balustrades or iron guardrails.

Another feature is that arched window or  entry doorway.  The arch is such an effective tool for focusing our attention on an important element on the facade composition.

Quite often, the front entry gets the special treatment of carved stone surrounds. The most elaborate example has to be that of the Hearst Castle but the “poor man’s version” is not too shabby either.

The wrought iron lights and grilles. They can so precious and whimsical at the same time.

The tower or turret. These are probably remnants of medieval castle features. They sometimes serve as entry way, stairway or a small nook. They add so much elegance to the rectangular shape of the main structure.

When the cylindrical tower shape won’t do, an excuse for an exterior stairs finds itself on the facade for more playfulness.

The courtyard, the loggia or the pool – Life in a coastal area wouldn’t be complete without a great outdoor space.

When there is not enough room for a pool, the fountain will suffice.  Fountains often adorn the front approach to the house. They showcase the best looking tiles of the era.

The great room. The interior of the house  almost always features a great room with a huge fireplace and stenciled beamed ceiling. It’s one of those must haves.

In writing this post, I had so much fun and found such invigorating inspirations from all the images I collected and then I came across the Jackling house in Woodside by George Washington Smith which was demolished this year after a 7 years uphill legal battle by the local preservationist  against  the high profile and influential current owner.  I wonder if it was an affair of one’s legacy trumping another’s or if there  was  a real need to build a contemporary house on the very same site.

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