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Sunday, September 14, 2008

Spanish Colonial Interiors

In a post last week, I spoke about Spanish Colonial architecture and its origins. This week will focus on Spanish Colonial interiors.
Beginning in the 15th century, countries began to trade with one another by land and sea. Trade was amongst the highest between Italy, France and Spain. This is the primary reason that the design styles of Tuscan, French Country and Spanish Colonial compliment one another quite well. Because the countries traded so easily amongst one another, each adapted their own styles in the similar materials.

Spanish Colonial interiors can be quite elaborate or relatively simple in style. While the use of wrought iron is used quite prevalently, it does not appear harsh or cold as rugs, tapestries and warm colors help soften the metal.

Spanish Colonial interiors can be quite elegant or extremely casual depending on furniture and accessory selection.

For elegant interiors you will often find hand plastered walls in a rich cream or honey yellow color. Flooring will often be parquet, rich stone or beautiful tile. Beautiful, richly colored carpets are then layered on top of the floor. Heavily carved furniture made of dark wood, generally walnut, is used. The upholstery is often leather or rich velvets. Fireplaces are often a focal point. Tapestries and rich oil paintings cover the walls. Lighting is in the form of elaborate sconces and candelabras in wrought iron or brass.

A casual feel can be obtained with flooring made of brickwork, tile or wood that is more rustic in appearance. Ceiling beams, while used in both formal and casual rooms, are generally more present in a casual atmosphere. Dark wood furniture is still used, but in simpler styles. Leather upholstery is popular and often trimmed in nail heads. Generally window treatments are not used, but shutters and simple panels work well with this style.

In more casual settings, plaster walls often feature colors of deep rich red, gold or blue.

Architectural niches are often incorporated into a rooms design. They can be filled with religious icons, statuary, pottery or wrought iron pieces.

Here is a bedroom showing a good use of color. Do you also see a Moorish influence?

Beds will often feature a canopy. This style remains from a time when central heating was not available and fabric panels would be closed to keep out a draft.

Bed linens are often simple matelasse, heavily embroidered cotton or silk, brocade, and in more recent years, rich chenille.

Here is a room featuring a magnificent wrought iron headboard that absolutely pops on a beautiful blue wall. This is the main focal point of the room as the rest of the furniture is fairly simple and more neutral colors are used.

In dining areas you find quite a bit of candlelight, dark furniture and rich upholstery.

I love the combination of the rich buttery leather and the beautiful brocade that covers the dining chairs. I would perhaps add a lovely carpet to ground the grouping.

This is a simple, but warm space. Urns and pottery play a large role when accessorizing a Spanish Colonial home.

Kitchens will often feature bright colors. This kitchen features tile which is reminiscent of Azulejo tile which was introduced by Spain in the 15th century by the Moors who had learned the craft from the Persians. One can see the Arab influence in the glazed ceramic tiles that often feature interlocking geometric, curvilinear or floral motifs. I love how the Fiesta ware pottery pops against the white walls.

Copper is a metal that is often featured in Spanish colonial homes, particularly the kitchen through pots, pans, sinks and other hardware. The copper accents pair beautifully with the turquoise cabinets.

Spanish accents can be brought into other areas of the home such as this wrought iron staircase and lighting, as well as the large tapestry adorning the wall.

This fireplace is the perfect picture of coziness. Notice the dark wood cabinet which is beautifully carved, wrought iron candle holders and the iconic art above the mantle. To the right of the fireplace is a chair reminiscent of the Sella Curulis which is a chair with a "X" shaped base.

For accessories, this picture is a great example showing iconic art pieces, tapestry, stonework and pottery, all of which would have been collected by a world traveler or trader. The crystal chandelier is a wee bit out of place, but I like how it elevates the more rustic pieces.

More iconic art, a beautiful mirror, and the chandelier reflected in it. The candelabra and candle holder collection is just perfection.

A popular concept in decorating is creating outdoor living spaces. To continue the feel of a Spanish Colonial home in the outdoors you can see how the elements of dark wood, copper, wrought iron and leather can work well in a covered outdoor space.

This photo leans more towards a Southwest design style, which has it origins from Spanish Colonial. You can see the influence through the pottery, rich color and metal.

What decorating style would you like to see featured next?

All images


Last week's quote:

"Happiness is never something you get from other people. The happiness you feel is in direct proportion to the love you give." ~ Oprah Winfrey


The Paris Apartment said...

What a gorgeous post! Those rooms are just magnificent and you put together an amazing collection. Thank you for the ideas, it's a departure for me, but just in case I end up in a castle in Spain, I'll know where to get my cheat sheet!

Charli and me said...

I really enjoyed reading your post. The pictures are magnificent! I have always been attracted to the spanish influence, although my house is traditional. Spanish decor is so ornate and beautiful. I love the tapestries, paintings, rugs, and flooring. Thank you for putting this all together for us.

Liz said...

Hey! A couple of those places look familiar.... ok maybe similar.... the staircase in the round room reminds me of the Wrigley Mansion and the one long stone patio reminds me of the Hermosa Inn. Both very beautiful places here in Phoenix.

Lovely post!

Mimi Sue said...

Such beautiful pictures. It so reminds me of some of the interiors in Santa Barbara, CA. The courthouse is a perfect example of Spanish Colonial style. As is the museum of Natural History, the library and various other buildings around the county. Makes me homesick for CA.

Shimmy Mom said...

Fascinating post and such beautiful examples. I would love to see a Tuscan influence next. We are so torn on what route to go in our new house that I want to see them all.

Miss Sandy said...

While I loved certain elements, textures, and colors of this design style it is a bit too heavy for me. Very beautiful to look at but not for me to live with. I do so enjoy your posts on different styles and the history and education on how to achieve them in our own homes. Maybe in the future you could address some bathroom ideas, I am totally stumped as to what to do with our master bath. I'd love to see your ideas!

Tracy said...

Great post! Timely too as a friend and I were recently debating what to call the decorating style popular with our parents in the 70's. . . lots of heavy, dark, almost-black wood, red leather, wrought iron and an El Cordobes poster! (I didn't say it was GOOD style!) Was that just a terribly tasteless version of Spanish Colonial or something altogether different?

SimplyEverything said...

I love that Spanish kitchen with the tile and pottery!

A Hint of Home said...

Very pretty rooms. I used to have a spanish decorated bedroom when we first got married. Sooooo long ago. Oh how our tastes change over the years.

TRay said...

I love the bedroom with the blue wall that showcases that iron headboard. Gorgeous! Thanks for a great pair of posts, as always!

Carrie said...

Thank you for this excellent review of Spanish colonial interiors. Your article covers all the salient features of the style in both formal and casual rooms.

Mélanie said...

I love this post !I love the spanish influence

Elizabeth said...

I love that you explain the historical events that caused certain styles to evolve! And you always get such great images!

I'd love to see a post on the differences between modern and contemporary. Every designer seems to explain this differently.

Melissa @ The Inspired Room said...

Such amazing rooms!


Things That Inspire said...

This is an amazing collection of pictures. I really enjoyed reading the post, and learned a lot too!

Deana said...

what gorgeous photos!!! thanks so much for joining in on the party and sharing your great posts!

Diana said...

I just love this style! You illustrated all the detail beautifully. I really enjoyed your post!