The hacienda style, which began as a Spanish colonial style in Mexico, has much in common with the twentieth-century Santa Barbara architecture popularized by George Washington Smith and Lutah Maria Riggs. Both aesthetics are marked by arcaded silhouettes, spindled window grills, and heavy wooden colonial doors. Both celebrate the natural materials of the Southwest, showing off adobe and exposed beams. Finally, both rely on an earthy color palate and decorative tiling.
The rugged romance of the hacienda calls to contemporary homeowners from over four centuries of regional architectural heritage. The “hacienda” (“estate” in Spanish) property layout was historically a way of organizing plantations, mines, or factories. Taking a look back over those years, here are some historical incarnations:
Designers and architects have ceaselessly modernized this old form, making “hacienda style” more than a historical throwback. Some of the principles underlying the history of the hacienda remain at the heart of Southwestern design and lifestyle. As Karen Witynski and Joe P. Carr, authors of Hacienda Style, explain, “Whether one is restoring a colonial home or adding antique ornament to a new hacienda-style home, the integration of old-world architectural elements provides hacienda character both inside and out.”
Let’s take a closer look at the hacienda in contemporary design.
Evoking the spirit of the hacienda is also possible through furnishing and detail decisions. Complementing the expansive, rustic planes of hacienda structures are pieces of solid-wood furniture like these:
Want to learn more about the architectural heritage of Santa Barbara and the greater Southwest? Check out our posts on Spanish Colonial Revivial Architecture and the designs of Santa Barbara architect Lutah Maria Riggs.