As a first disclaimer, a ‘Mediterranean’ style house is bound to be a mishmash of a number styles and customs across an entire region of countries – the Mediterranean is a large body of water. There are several characteristics that apply across the board that can be used in homes today though:
Light colored stucco – from blinding white on Greece to creamy Spanish traditions, stucco is the material of choice. Traditional concrete plaster works well in the warmer climates – often today we detail stucco over insulation, appropriate for a temperate climate.
Blocky, simple massing, tending towards square proportions. Real old homes would have been added on to many times to add more rooms – that look can be carried over to new homes.
Tile roofs – unless you’re looking for a flat-roofed Greek home, bright Spanish tile roofs are an important component of the style. Low pitches and hipped roofs are most traditional.
Arches and columns. Simple, generally fairly thin columns, both to hold up a patio roof and in between window are common. Semi-circle arches all over – in window shapes and barrel vaults.
Massive wood doors, especially on the entryway. Often arched, or including carvings or metal grilles.
Deep porches. Again, this depends on what ‘region’ you are going after – but deep, arcaded porches are a common feature, and nice in any climate. Including a fountain is a very authentic touch – but less practical in Colorado than in a hot, dry climate.
Interiors are largely open, with wide arched openings between rooms rather then walls with doors. Heavy wood timbers across ceilings. Art niches in walls. Hard floor finishes – ceramic tile ideally. These also are ideal for underfloor heating. Lots of connections to the outside – large patio doors. Courtyards, or partially enclosed courtyards.
One great thing about this style is that it’s equally as successful on small houses as large – the simple shapes look great by themselves as well as integrated into a large home.