From Florida to California and throughout the southwestern states, Spanish Colonial homes date all the way back to the 1600’s when Spanish settlers began building their homes in North America.
Characterized by red clay tile roof, thick, white stucco walls, relatively few, smaller windows, and exposed wood support beams, they were designed around hot climates and to maintain coolness inside. Courtyards are also common, long ago used for cooking. Decorations were usually somewhat minimalist. Earlier homes were not well-suited for cold, humidity, and could swell if exposed to too much water, causing the stucco to fall apart.
Spanish Colonials are very popular in newer construction homes now that the technology has allowed for better stucco and central heat, although many builders (like Clifford Hutsell in the early 1900s) abandoned stucco for brick.