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June 9th, 2023 at 11:00 am

Was the last Southern Colonial-style home you saw in “Gone With the Wind”? Not surprising, since the iconic, boxy, colonnaded genre of architecture is far outnumbered in Southern California by tract, Mid-Century Modern, bungalow, Spanish Colonial, and even Victorian homes. (Perhaps ironic, too, since the Colonial-style mansion of Tara was built and filmed on a Hollywood studio lot.)

There are enclaves of Southern Colonial homes around SoCal, notably in L.A.’s Hancock Park neighborhood, Glendale, Toluca Lake, and Coronado. So owning a Southern Colonial style home is not out of the question. Working with a great real estate agent is the first step to locating a Southern Colonial style home on the market. Just make sure you know what kind of house you might be living in. In addition to older Southern Colonial homes that may or may not have been renovated, some newer homes in the United States have been built to look like the real thing.

What defines the Southern Colonial architectural style?

Which brings us to describing what characterizes Southern Colonials. These homes draw their influence from those of European colonists who settled in America’s northern and southern colonies during the 1600s. As it evolved, the architecture aspired to the ideals of the Greek Revival movement of the late 18th and early 19th centuries. Barron’s Real Estate Dictionary defines it as “a large, Early American style, 2- or 3-story frame house with a characteristic colonnade extending across the front. The roof extends over the colonnade.” Homes originally were built from brick, wood, stone, or combinations of the three.

On the outside:

You can tell if a house is Southern Colonial or Colonial Revival as you approach it from outside. Main features of a Colonial house include:

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On the inside:

Main Types of Southern Colonial Homes in California

Southern Colonial home styles have made their way to the landscapes of California, adding a touch of Southern elegance to the West Coast. These timelines designs have found their place in various cities, captivating homeowners with their charm and grace. 

Plantation-Style in Los Angeles 

Los Angeles embraces the allure of Plantation-style homes, reminiscent of the grand mansions that once graced the Southern plantations. These homes feature sprawling porches, majestic columns, and meticulously crafted details. In neighborhoods like Hancock Park and Bel Air, you’ll discover the timeless charm of Plantation-style architecture.

Colonial Revival in Pasadena

Pasadena is known for its architectural diversity, one style of which includes the classic elegance of Colonial Revival homes. These homes draw inspiration from the traditional American Colonial style, with their symmetrical designs, prominent entrances, and refined details. Take a drive along Orange Grove Boulevard, known as Millionaire’s Row, and marvel at the enchanting Colonial Revival residences that line the street.

Spanish Colonial Revival in Santa Barbara

In the coastal beauty of Santa Barbara, you’ll find the enchanting Spanish Colonial Revival homes. Inspired by the architecture of Spanish settlers combined with a mix of Colonial style, these homes boast red-tile roofs, arched entryways, and stucco exteriors that radiate warmth and Mediterranean flair. Imagine strolling through the charming streets lined with these captivating homes, feeling as if you’ve stepped into a Spanish oasis.

Southern Antebellum in San Francisco

San Francisco is a city renowned for its architectural treasures and embraces the Southern Antebellum style. These homes exude sophistication with their stately facades, elaborate ornamentation, and gracious balconies. Wander through neighborhoods like Pacific Heights, and you’ll be captivated by the Southern charm that these Antebellum-style homes bring to the City by the Bay.

Should you buy a Southern Colonial home?

George Washington lived in a Southern Colonial, so why shouldn’t you?

As with any home purchase, a thorough inspection should be completed to assess any construction issues, such as foundation cracks, mold, termites, and other potential future problems. This is especially true with older homes. However, remodeled or newly constructed Southern Colonials are more likely to have been brought up to modern construction codes with energy and green standards in place. Your California real estate agent will be your best source for helping to assess a home’s condition and recommend vendors if needed.

Where to see examples of Southern Colonial architecture:

Still searching to find your perfect Southern California home? Start your search today.

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15 Comments

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  • I thoroughly enjoyed reading your blog post on Southern Colonial-style homes. As someone who appreciates architectural diversity, I found your insights into this particular style to be fascinating.

    The contrast you drew between the prevalence of Southern Colonial homes in classic movies like “Gone With the Wind” and their outnumbered presence in Southern California added an intriguing layer of irony. It’s interesting to learn that enclaves of Southern Colonial homes can still be found in certain neighborhoods like Hancock Park, Glendale, Toluca Lake, and Coronado. Your suggestion to work with a knowledgeable real estate agent to locate such homes is valuable advice for potential buyers.

    The description of the defining characteristics of Southern Colonial architecture was highly informative. The influence of European colonists and the aspirations of the Greek Revival movement during the 18th and 19th centuries created a distinct style characterized by a set-back placement from the road, a colonnade with a portico, and a strong emphasis on symmetry. The mention of paired chimneys and the purpose they served in preventing heat buildup in the South was a fascinating detail.

    Lastly, your description of the color palette predominantly used on the exteriors of Southern Colonial homes, with variations of white and off-white, added a visual element to the narrative.

    Thank you for providing such detailed insights into the Southern Colonial architectural style. Your blog post has expanded my knowledge and appreciation for this particular genre of homes. Well done on creating an engaging and informative piece of content!

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