Wooden Railing with Glass

Architectural Styles of Homes in San Diego California

Deemed America’s Finest City, San Diego is one of the original cities to make its mark in California with a rich history dating back to the mid 1700s.

It truly is a beautiful locale, offering a mild desert oasis climate in a gorgeous landscape of hills and vistas that span to the tranquil Pacific Ocean. Honestly, who wouldn’t want to call it home?

Looking back on architecture in San Diego, early settlers adhered to South American and Spanish style traditions to accommodate culture and function. European settler’s sprinkled in over the years bringing with them the establishment of Victorian and Old Craftsman styles home builds, later extending to contemporary styles that exemplified a mixture of genre’s to resonate with the surrounding neighborhood.

The architectural styles of homes in San Diego distinguish the character, charm and appeal of this unique city. While eclectic, the mixture of old with the new somehow creates the perfect juxtaposition of urbanity. Vintage structures serve as a source of inspiration for new home construction projects, as well as the re-imagined upgrades to existing properties.

Let’s step back in time to review some home styles that have shaped the style and architecture of San Diego.


The 1840s presented the Victorian architectural era. These homes were often built and designed very simply. The ornate design features were added to suit the inhabitants, adding a sense of elegance and dignity. Victorian style homes can be seen throughout some of the more ‘vintage’ communities of San Diego closer to downtown.


By the late 1800s the Victorian heads were turning in a different stylistic direction. The trend shifted to a newer home style known as the “craftsman”. Also referred to as the ‘arts and crafts style home’, this structure often presents thick panels of woodwork around the doors and windows with an extensive front porch and artistically shaped pillars. A menagerie of homes presenting this look can be found in the neighborhoods of Kensington, Hillcrest and Bankers Hill.


The Spanish style home has deep roots in San Diego architecture that has favorably transcended over time to homes throughout the county. With an ode to the beauty of Spain, these homes present very distinct construction and design features such as terracotta tile roofs, textured exterior stucco walls, and rounded archways. This style is right at home in San Diego – from custom-built homes, to newer community developments.


Mid-Century-Modern-HomeEnter the 1940’s and 1950’s where modernism and ‘the house of tomorrow’ was booming. This presented a dramatic shift in the architectural world. Homes needed to adhere to the demand of a growing population and modern technology. The popularity for this style of home extended far beyond California, stretching throughout the United States. Often referred to at the “50’s” style home, the layout was simple and box-like in design. The interior decor also bled into the simplicity of the design – which was originally meant to complement the needs of the era. You can see this style of home all over San Diego County, but the look is quite concentrated in areas such as La Jolla, Point Loma and Allied Gardens.

Many other architectural styles have been introduced throughout San Diego over time, such as Cape Cod, Greek Revival, Colonial, Mediterranean and French Tudor, just to name a few. A variety of integrated home construction styles have been infused and built over the past few decades throughout multiple neighborhoods – suiting nearly any imagination, whether it be a custom home build, or remodeling project.

Smith Bros. is a unique team of construction craftsmen, architects, and interior designers. Since 1978, we stress the absolute highest levels of quality, performance, value and service in each and every project. Our award-winning design ideas, expertise, and collective experience allow us to provide the very best in what we do. For more information please contact us at 877-230-0333, (+01) 858-350-1445, or info@smithbrothersconstruction.com.

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