What is it that jumps out to you about Spanish style doors?

I have become obsessed with Spanish Style Doors lately. As I have wandered through neighborhoods, churches, and shops across the globe, what always jumps out at me is gorgeous Spanish Colonial Revival Architecture.

In particular, the doors. I can’t help but wonder:

  • Where have those doors been in their lifetime?
  • Are they newly purchased or refurbished?
  • Who have they welcomed through the threshold?
  • What squeaky story do the heavy iron hinges have to tell? 

That  black scrolling Ironwork is magnificent!! Is that Door Knocker an antique? It sure looks old? I really like that Black Iron door handle! Is that  custom ironwork? The conversation with myself goes on and on…

History of Spanish Colonial architecture

In the US there are structures that were built between the 1600s to the 1800’s in Arizona, Florida, and California when the Spaniards invaded and set up missions and townships in North America. 

In New Mexico, Puebloan tribes had their own natural version of Spanish style architecture as part of building pueblos. They used soil with large amounts of clay with water and grass creating stucco dwellings known as Pueblos.

The structures were given their name from Spanish Explorers of northern New Spain. In 1915-1931 a revival of Spanish Colonial Architecture began gaining popularity. 

Many major estates in California and Florida have graced the covers of major design magazines, including:

  • Hearst Castle in San Simeon California
  • Mar-a-lago in Palm Beach, Florida
  • Jayne Mansfield’s Pink Palace, Hollywood, California
  • Marilyn Monroe’s 1929 Hacienda style house in Brentwood, California

Design elements of Spanish style doors and architecture

There is a beauty and an Old World feel to the materials and design elements used in Spanish Colonial Architecture. The combinations of details are endless.

There are several eras of this style, which include Spanish Baroque, Spanish Colonial, Moorish Revival, and Mexican Churrigueresque architecture. 

The style is recognized by an immense use of smooth plaster known as stucco built with heavy thick walls, chimney finishes, low pitched clay tile roofs, barrel shaped roofs, terracotta, ceramic tile work and cast concrete ornaments.

“The wood entry door expresses solidity with an arched decorative plaster or stone surround that sets it apart from the other façade openings,” according to historic guidelines from the City of Santa Barbara (Calif.), which is known for its Spanish Style structures. 

Other common features are wood casements or tall double-hung windows, canvas awnings (I always get a little excited when I see awnings on windows) and elaborate decorative iron trim on doors, windows, entryway, fences, and gates.

There is never too much ironwork for me! All that lovely Ironwork is a bonus as it has endured for centuries securing fortresses, doors, windows, and surrounding areas.

Details on a door at the Alhambra in Spain
Photo by Frank Nürnberger

Shapes of Spanish style doors

What story do I want my Spanish style door to tell? There are all different time periods, cultural influences, shapes and sizes of doors from which to choose.

Wooden Spanish Baroque

Spanish Baroque began between the 15th and 17th centuries. It is recognized for its heaviness with ornate scrolling carvings, cartouche, shields, thick lattice, inlay work, and chunky lavishly cast iron hardware.

Spanish Moorish style

Morocco was invaded by Spain in the 1500’s and out of that began Moroccan architectural influence in Spanish architecture. Even the famous Alhambra castle has Moroccan designed influences in enormous pointed arched doorways featuring a dramatic geometric carved door or a carved wood door with magnificent mother of pearl inlay in the shapes of Moravian stars.

Spanish Colonial

Spanish colonial doors are heavy wooden doors with heavy black wrought iron nailheads, fleur de lis embellishments on the door handle, hinges or horizontal wrought iron door bars.

Spanish Revival

This style features a keyhole shaped door with interesting black Iron hardware and a square shaped window cut into the door. It has what I like to call a speak-easy window with black ornate bars covering the windows.  This enables you to look out and see who has come knocking.

The possibilities are endless.

Moorish style door.
Photo by Julian Braunecker

How to choose your Spanish style door

My door will welcome family, old and new friends, children of all sizes, the Amazon delivery guy and of course UberEats, considering our current times! Also, anything on a leash, preferably a dog or a cat! 

No snakes allowed. Except for maybe on the iron hardware like the door in Harry Potter that opened the Chamber of Secrets! Super cool, but I digress.

We were discussing my obsession with Spanish style doors.  There are various antique salvage stores that carry antique Spanish doors. In all shapes and sizes.

I like to go to these places to get an idea of what I like. I always ask the owner if I may take a picture. For example, I may like the Patina on a certain door or the ironwork on another or perhaps the shape of a small window that has been cut into the door.

I like to stroll through neighborhoods and take pictures with my cellphone of inspiring homes.

The front door of a home in Valldemossa, Spain.
Photo by Herr Bohn.

 

To create a Spanish style door

To create a Spanish Style Door my suggestion is to look at what shape of door appeals to you and more important, your budget.

Keyholes

Keyhole shaped 1920’s Spanish Revival is a current popular choice. You also have many options  to embellish your existing door with Spanish style details.

Colors

Your door  can be painted in a variety of colors: plain dark stained wood, hunter green, turquoise, or a beautiful red.

There are many paints that you can choose. You could decide on a high gloss paint or a matte finish.

I recently saw a Spanish style door that had been painted with milk paint.  The owner had painted the door black and then rubbed a lovely emerald paint over it creating an aged effect.

Dream Big! This is a dress for success moment for your home! First impressions are everything and the color of your door projects the message you want to send out to anyone who enters.

Julie O’keefe

Hardware

Black iron hardware is an essential detail for the foundation of your  Spanish style door. There are many hardware stores and online hardware stores to shop for Spanish style hardware.

Another great place to shop is online antique hardware shops that specialize in nothing but antique hardware for every era — 

Spanish, Victorian, Colonial, Georgian etc.

There are salvage stores that save hinges, panels, grate coverings, radiator covers, tin ceiling tiles, door knobs, keyhole covers, light fixtures, iron staircase railings, iron guardrails and more from homes or buildings that are being torn down. 

Your local antique stores or malls are perfect places to hunt for old iron garden gates, grates, hinges, door knobs or anything else you want to use to embellish your door.  

All the items I have mentioned can be measured, sanded, freshly painted and attached onto your current door. And what a conversation piece on the fun and interesting process you experienced designing your own Spanish style door. It is the experiences and family stories we have about our home that makes it truly ours.

Be sure to pin for later!

spanish style doors

Door knockers

Sleuth out interesting door knockers just as you would a piece of fine jewelry. I Love Love Love rustic forged wrought iron Spanish style door knockers. They add character to any door. 

Large round heavy ring shaped door knockers, black scrolling Hammer style door knockers, and Spanish Morrocan star pattern are just a few selections. 

The plates that they knock upon can be as interesting as the knocker itself.  There are beautiful lattice, scroll work, and cartouche relief style plaques that fastened onto a door.

Door hinges

Some of the most popular designs of Spanish Style door hinges are Black Iron Steeple tip hinge with a vine pattern, heavy cast iron dummy strap with ornate scroll design, gorgeous dummy hinge strap with fancy Warwick banjo shape, single Warwick design, and double Warwick design. 

You may ask what is a dummy strap hinge? What that refers to are hinges designed to hold up very heavy doors to a castle or a fortress.

These hinges sometimes stretched across the entire door. The sole purpose was to hold up these massive doors and have a mechanical hinge attached to it in order to open the door. 

With today’s doors — with the exceptions of castles — our door mechanics use “dummy” straps as decorative details to emulate that time period.

Today’s materials and technology for door hinges are so strong they hold the door up on their own, which allows us to let our imaginations run wild on design details of dummy straps for our Spanish style doors!!  

Those are the components for your Spanish style door! May all who enter enjoy great food, heartfelt fellowship, interesting conversation, lots of laughter, comfort, peace, and happiness!

Now pull out your castanets and flamenco dance in front of your new Spanish Style Door!! Ole’

What are your favorite features of Spanish style doors?

I believe that well placed, sturdy black hardware is crucial for creating a Spanish Style Door.  Faux Black hammered  hinges, hammered black iron Clavo nail packs, black salvaged wrought iron garden gates.  There are a large variety of choices to Spanish-up your front door.

In the comments below, tell us what you love about Spanish style doors. 

Do you have a Spanish style door? Send us your photos at info@frontdoorideas.com or message us on Facebook.

For more style ideas, read Teresa’s overview of the many possibilities for decorating a Victorian front door!

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