Posted by: wadahp | February 3, 2010

STYLE GUIDE: California Monterey Style 1930-1950

In the early part of the 19th Century, Californians sought to define an indigenous style of architecture by fusing local Spanish-influences with Colonial designs from the east coast.  Their search eventually led to the later emergence of one of California’s few native architectural styles, the Monterey Style, which became popular between 1930-1950.  

Some early literature refers to the style as Mediterranean, but today most historians call the designs Monterey, named after the California city where the style is most prevalent.   The Monterey Style makes a subtle and brief appearance in the Pacific Northwest mainly in the 1930s and 1940s.   Used primarily for residential properties, Monterey style homes are typically two stories in height with shallow pitched side gable roofs, and a second story cantilevered covered balcony.  Roofs are generally covered with clay tiles or asphalt shingles and exterior wall surfaces can be finished in brick, stucco or clapboard reflecting the fusion of Anglo and Hispanic styles. Windows are often narrow and tall and are grouped in pairs.  Many Monterey Style homes have attached front facing garages, which indicate the growing importance of the automobile during the mid part of the 20th century. 

The inset balcony, usually located at one end of the house above the main entrance door, is accessed only from the interior by glazed doors.  Many have ornate balusters juxtaposed against simple squared wood posts.  The balcony and a side facing gable roof gives the home a dominant rectilinear character.

Early examples of the Monterey Style tend to favor Spanish detailing such as tile roofs and carved balcony porch posts, while later examples emphasize Colonial details, such as double hung multi-light windows adorned with shutters and paneled entry doors.



  1. This is fabulous, but all the photos are blank. Can you re-send the images?

    • Thanks, Christine – seems that this happens on and off to other subscribers to the blog. The photos are there on my end, so here’s what the Word Press support says:

      Sounds like a browser issue I recommend deleting your browser cookies and clear your browser cache then restart your browser.

      Hope this helps!

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