Romantic Inspiration from California Missions

Every home designer has their favorite place to go when it comes to inspiration. For some designers it can be a grove of trees, for others an iconic piece of art that creates the urge to design. Travelling the country, it has become obvious that history is a big influence for many regional styles. Nowhere is that more obvious than in Southern California. The influence of the chain of missions that were developed by the friars as part of the taming of the west by the Spanish remain one of the biggest and most popular starting points. Whether a visitor is looking at a municipal building from the twenties or a newly built mansion in Beverly Hills, the romantic image of those missions continues to haunt the landscape.


Finding Your Own Vision

Of course, if you are looking to buy in Southern California and happen to love the sweeping curved doorways and iron grilled windows that reflect this style, you are in luck. Just about everything from the little 1920s bungalows of Long Beach to the flashy beachside houses of Malibu have some element from the missions reflected in their design.

There are enough variations on this theme in these homes that you can pick and choose which ones are pleasing to your eye and which are not. Then all you need to do is make sure your real estate agent has let the real estate transaction coordinator know what you are looking for and the price range. They will work their magic with the data and find you the mission inspired home that suits your taste and budget.

Modern Takes on Mission

While there is no denying that the mission inspired homes you see everywhere in Southern California are iconic for the region, they are by no means the only option. However, even when you look around at the modern takes on the region’s home stock, this influence continues to show. For some homes it may be the simple addition of stucco to the outdoor envelope of the home. For others it may be the iconic red tiled roof. Even the sparsest square utilitarian apartment building will sometimes sport a fake bell tower or add black wrought iron gates to shadow the mission style. It is simply a part of the heritage of the land and hard to leave behind.

The Inspiration Moves Indoors

Today with the reawakened interest in handmade goods, woodworkers who specialize in mission style furniture are making a comeback. This simple wooden style of furniture is inspired by the humble furnishings of many of the early missions, although we hope a bit more comfortable. These rough and ready pieces look perfect in an old style adobe home, complete with arched doorways and built in shelves above the fireplace. When it comes to cozy, it is hard to beat the mission inspired bungalows of Southern California with hardwood floors, adobe walls in off white and Spanish tiled fireplace mantles. Those old friars may have had it rough but today’s mission inspired homes are cool, cozy and ready for the twenty-first century.


Author: Maja Markovski

Maja Markovski

A 35-year-old female architect with a passion for innovative, sustainable design. I blend creativity and functionality to transform spaces into beautiful, practical environments.


Recent posts in Architecture

Notify of
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments