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Traditional Styles of Mexican Homes

Updated July 20, 2017

From old country haciendas and colonial homes to rustic adobe ranches and tiny casitas, traditional Mexican homes are typically painted in a palette of vibrant colours. To keep the heat out, larger properties often feature high wood beamed ceilings, tiled interiors and cobbled courtyards.The architecture of Mexico was heavily influenced by Mediterranean and Moorish styles that colonists brought with them. As the richest region in Spain's colonial empire, Mexico features many houses built in the colonial style.

Colour

Colour has always been a major style element of traditional Mexican architecture. The legacy of using sun-drenched colours and paint washes of blues and green dates back to pre-Hispanic civilisations' use of bold paint for murals and pottery.

Mexico's stone wall houses are often painted in lime-based paints, so the paint can breath and colours do not fade in the sunlight. Interior walls are also covered in layers of vibrant hues, intricate stencil patterns and colour contrasts are used to highlight architectural features.

Haciendas

Mexico is home to many large hacienda-style properties. These large estates were typically built in plantation areas. Elaborate dwellings for the rich and powerful, they were made up of a main house, guest quarters, stables, and servants' rooms. Large stone walled buildings, with high ceilings, haciendas often contained many concealed cool interior patios and secluded spaces. Windows have wood shutters to keep the heat out. As symbols of a family's wealth and culture, they were decorated with ornate architectural features and artwork.

Keeping Out the Heat

Due to the country's hot climate, traditional Mexican homes are often designed to provide shade and keep interiors cool. Windows are large and deep set and ceilings high to allow cool breezes to flow through homes. Walls are thick and heavy to keep out the heat. Materials that provide cool surfaces like tiles, cobbles and stone were utilised in living spaces.

Adobe Homes

Traditionally, lower income families lived in adobe style houses. These traditional Mexican homes were made of adobe, a building material made from a combination of clay-based soil, straw and water and had a roof of red terracotta tiles. These plainer, smaller homes, crafted from natural materials, originated from the techniques used by Mexican Native American cultures.

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About the Author

Currently living in London, Clara Dodman's varied writing career since 2004 has taken her around the globe. She's written copy for "Dive" magazine, "Geographical" magazine and "GoActive" magazine. More recently, she worked as a copywriter for a web company in South America, specializing in health. Dodman holds a Bachelor of Arts in English literature from the University of Cardiff.