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If you’re not from San Diego or southern California, you might not be aware that some of our most popular home styles are different from other US regions.

Here are some of the most popular home styles you’ll see while exploring San Diego.

Spanish Mission

Likely the most iconic and widely spread home style in the San Deigo region is the Spanish Mission. These homes are reminiscent of early Spanish colonialism and draw on characteristics of Spanish missions like Mission Basilica San Diego de Alcalá.

Defining characteristics include:

  • Stucco or plaster rendered facades are usually in cream, white, or off-white.
  • Tiled roofs, often using curved tiles in a shade of red.
  • Archways in doors and windows.
  • Wrought iron accents and fencing.
  • Fountains and tiled patios or courtyards.


If you venture down to the Gaslamp Quarter, you’ll come across an abundance of Victorian-styled architecture. Today, many of these buildings are residents of bars, restaurants, and nightclubs, however, there are also many Victorian styles homes.

Defining characteristics include:

  • Asymmetrical shapes.
  • Highly decorated windows and trimmings.
  • Towers and dormers.
  • Wrap-around porches.
  • Stained glass windows.

American Craftsman

San Diego and much of California are widely known for their beautifully quaint craftsman homes. Their design was in response to the Industrial Revolution when many ‘craftsmen’ were no longer in demand, so they turned towards building beautiful and detailed homes for the wealthy.

Defining characteristics include:

  • Deep eaves that hang over a raised front porch.
  • Exposed rafters beneath a low-pitched roofline.
  • Double-hung windows.
  • Highly symmetrical architecture.
  • Handcrafted woodwork both inside and outside of the house.
  • Columns in front of the porch which are often decorated with detailed woodwork.

Modern Architecture

Architecture has changed through the years, but the style known as modern first began in the late 1800s and steadily evolved to its current form. Modern architecture is most common in newer construction around San Diego and often incorporates elements from other popular styles.

Defining characteristics include:

  • Materials such as steel, glass, and reinforced concrete are used in the home’s construction and landscaping.
  • An emphasized priority on functionality.
  • Minimalism, resulting in less ornament or added decoration to the structure.
  • Open floor plans.
  • Straight lines of site
  • Incorporation of the outdoors with the indoors using windows, patios, and large glass doors.

Are you looking to purchase a home in San Diego? Your first step should be to understand your budget. Schedule a call with The Simpson Team to start the process today.

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