What Makes A Monterey Dwelling?

We’ve talked quite a bit on this sequence about how structure is commonly influenced by the types that got here earlier than it. Nowhere is that more true than with the Monterey, or Monterey Colonial, residence. This sort of structure combines French, Spanish and English types. In truth it’s so distinctive that it’s nonetheless wanted at the moment.

Let’s take a extra in-depth take a look at the Monterey residence. We study its historical past, its influences and its defining traits as a way to provide you with a transparent image of this residence’s DNA. Learn on beneath to be taught extra.

Accumulate this concept

Monterey homes are native to California. Picture: Darryl Brooks/Shutterstock

Historical past of Monterey houses

Not like different architectural types, the origin of Monterey houses traces again to a single supply. They’re the brainchild of architect and businessman Thomas O. Larkin. The model is impressed by the completely different locations that he lived all through his life.

Larkin grew up in Lynn, Massachusetts, the place he undoubtedly was conversant in traditional Colonial houses. As a younger man, he traveled south to Charleston, South Carolina, to ascertain himself as a businessman. Whereas there, he recorded observations in journals in regards to the architectural great thing about southern church buildings. After a profession setback, Larkin moved west to California to stay with household. As soon as there, he got here into contact with the Spanish and Mexican architectural influences that dominated Californian tradition on the time. All these influences come collectively within the Monterey residence.

The primary Monterey residence got here out of Larkin’s want to ascertain himself in California. He constructed it as a household residence and the model quickly gained recognition domestically. Because of this, subsequent variations of Monterey houses embrace fundamental components of Larkin’s affect. In addition they comprise their very own distinctive particulars as a result of the development was left completely as much as every particular person builder.

Accumulate this concept

monterey house

These homes have Spanish, French and English influences. Picture: Library of Congress

Cultural influences on Monterey houses

The factor that makes Monterey houses so distinctive is that the model clearly reveals influences from a wide range of cultures. Particularly, you possibly can see components of English, French and Spanish structure. We break them down for you in additional element beneath.


The exteriors of Monterey homes comprise surprisingly few English particulars. A nod to New England Colonial houses, although, might be seen of their symmetrical facades. The inside is a special story completely. The structure of the Monterey residence is sort of an identical to that of a Colonial, which was revolutionary in California on the time. Houses there have been usually laid out equally to Mexican adobes.


The houses’ French affect come from the time Larkin spent touring down south as a businessman. Just like the Creole houses which can be native to Louisiana, Monterey houses have an higher and decrease balcony. Each usually function trims in wrought iron, as effectively. Monterey houses additionally have a tendency to incorporate French doorways.


Lastly, you possibly can see Spanish influences by way of the selection of development supplies. Usually, the partitions have been made from adobe and typically roofs have been completed with Spanish tile. Adorning with ceramic or hand-painted tiles was additionally widespread on the inside.

Accumulate this concept

Monterey houses have a novel set of traits that make them identifiable. Picture: Magnins LLC/Shutterstock

Traits of Monterey houses

Although Monterey houses might be very completely different from one and different, there are a couple of defining traits that tie them collectively. Listed here are a few of these traits to offer you a greater concept of how these houses have been constructed.


  • Symmetrical facade
  • Two-story verandas
  • Wood framing
  • Adobe partitions
  • Coated entry door
  • An equal variety of home windows on either side of the door
  • A low-sloped roof of tiles or shingles


  • Formal entry
  • Central corridor
  • Sala  (Mixture parlor and ballroom)
  • Kitchen in primary constructing reasonably than outdoor
  • Inside stairs
  • Second-floor bedrooms