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on July 18, 2016 Blog Porches Exterior Whole House Tuscan

Southern California’s Top 3 Exterior Design Styles

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Southern California is a melting pot of interesting and diverse architecture, ranging from modern Malibu beach homes to Mediterranean mansions in Beverly Hills. 

On top of the crazy traffic, it’s quite a challenge to drive through the LA basin (and valley) without noticing housing tracts built by famous architects of the Mid-century. 

Southern California’s architectural diversity is a treat in itself. To this day, there remain three long-standing exterior design styles of choice: modern, Craftsman, and European.



Modern architecture is the perfect complement to the lifestyle Southern Californians have learned to love. It is relaxed, dramatic, and beautiful. 

The mid-century movement helped define Los Angeles with its crisp lines, sweeping planes and clean canvases.

Some of the iconic mid-century modern homes include the Schindler House, Eames House, Hollyhock House and others. These are all great examples of the modern design style embraced by Southern California. 



Derived from the Arts and Crafts style of architecture and defined by its low-pitched gabled roofs with broad eaves, large front porches, and exposed wooden structural elements, the Craftsman style is distinguished by fine details and superb workmanship. 

(For proof, look to the spectacular Gamble House in Pasadena, CA designed by Greene & Greene.)

Craftsman bungalows proved incredibly popular throughout Southern California, essentially evolving into pre-cut home kits for the mass market. 

European (Mediterranean)


Thank the shores of Spain, France and Italy for the Mediterranean influence in Southern California home designs. European exteriors include complex rooflines, stone and even copper roof elements. Courtyards and verandas are common exterior elements typically accompanying the European home as are red roof tiles, stucco walls, and arches.

Some say Southern California has it all: the beaches, deserts, mountains and all around great weather.

The same can be said for exterior home styles. Between modern, Craftsman, and the European exteriors, we find it hard to argue.