Historic Styles in Our Town

By Kathy McLoed
In our ever-changing, fast-paced world, we sometimes miss, even yearn, for those things most precious to us; like a favorite camping spot when we were kids, a song that reminds us of our first date, the feeling of getting behind the wheel of our first car. Or perhaps a special place that represents “the good ‘ol days” … a place that has stood the test of time….a place that makes us feel safe, secure and “at home” just by its mere presence.
Here, in the architecturally-eclectic neighborhoods of Redondo, these sometimes hidden gems not only reflect an era gone by but also represent a resurgence and newly-found appreciation for historical architecture.

These, mostly smaller homes, can sometimes seem larger and more stately amongst their towering next door predecessors. They still hold historic relevance and value and truly make our city a more desirable place to live and raise our families. For those who appreciate historic and fine craftsmanship, there are many remarkable examples of these timeless treasures in our city that remain “diamonds in the rough” and hold history in every handcrafted nook and cranny.

This article is dedicated to those who have designed, built, purchased and continue to preserve and protect these homes of architectural and historic significance.
We invite you to take a “good ‘ol Sunday drive” through our city�s neighborhoods and take note of these beautiful homes. While a complete book can be written on each design of its era, for space purposes, we are noting only a brief description of architectural styles of homes you will encounter on your way.

VICTORIAN (1885 – 1905)
Victorian homes range in size from mansions to cottages although mostly cottages remain in Redondo. The details are usually of either Italianate or Queen Anne inspiration.
Design Characteristics:
Plan View: Irregular
Height: Two or more Stories
Exterior Siding: Shiplap; Clapboard
Roof: Hipped or Babbled
Windows: Many types/Shapes
Entrance: Classical or Ornate; Single or Double Doors
Ornamentations: Spindlework, Turned Balustrade, Frieze, Turned Posts, Classical, Columns, Dentils, Palladian Windows

COLONIAL REVIVAL (1900 – 1912)
At the end of the ornate Victorian period, American builders sought new inspiration for 20th century residential design. As suburban living became more prevalent, earlier and more rural building forms and styles from the U.S. and Europe were chosen as prototypes
The Colonial Revival style is a dignified, restrained and harmonious style, uniquely American and were influenced by Classical Roman design. In Redondo Beach, these homes emphasize a square volume with classical ornamental trim. Colonial revival style homes took on new forms in California because of the abundance of wood during this era.
Design Characteristics:
Plan View: Rectangular
Height: Two or More Stories
Exterior siding: Clapboard
Roof: Hipped
Windows: Double-hung; symmetrically balanced
Entrance: Accentuated front door, decorative crown; sidelights, topped with fanlight
Ornamentation: Pedimented front porch supported with columns; classically inspired door and window moldings

BUNGALOW / CRAFTSMAN (1905 – 1940)
The Craftsman style was inspired by the architects, Greene and Greene, who practiced architecture in Pasadena from 1893 – 1914. The style was considered modern and influenced by the Art and Crafts Movement in England along with oriental design and philosophical influences. These homes were designed to have a close relationship with the outdoors unlike the more formal Victorian and Colonial Revival designs.
The Craftsman-style and Bungalow homes are among the most prevalent historic architecture in Redondo Beach.
Design Characteristics:
Plan View: Rectangular
Height: One or one-12 story
Exterior siding: Clapboard or brick
Roof: Low-pitched front gable, exposed rafter ends
Windows: Double-hung, three part front fa�ade windows
Entrance: Central door; multi lights in door
Ornamentation: Purlins or brackets under gables, partial or full width, porches, porch roof supported by square or elephantine posts on piers, exterior brick or stone chimneys.

The Spanish Colonial Revival style is noted for its use of white plaster or concrete walls. The Mission Style is characterized by a Mission-shaped dormer or roof parapet commonly with red tile roof covering. These styles are derived from the Mediterranean world where architects were inspired by adobe, Spanish Colonial Buildings of Southern California, late Moorish, medieval Spanish church, Baroque of Spain and Portugal and the Pueblo and Mission styles. In Redondo, these homes feature simple box-like shapes often with flat roofs.
Design Characteristics:
Plan View: Rectangular
Height: One or two stories
Exterior Siding: Smooth stucco
Roof: Mission-shaped dormer or roof parapet, commonly with red tile, low-pitched roof covering, gabled, hipped or flat Windows: Arched openings, usually recessed
Entrance: Arcaded or arched entry porch
Ornamentation: Occasional decorative tiles along the parapet

In an era of major social and cultural change, Period Revival Houses were designed to conjure up the romantic times and far away places of another “period” in history such as fairy-tale houses and quaint English cottages – design ideas that soldiers returning home from WWII brought back to their home country.
Styles and elements vary. Generally, the following features are considered characteristic:
Design Characteristics:
Chimney: Large central masonry
Roof: High, steep gable roofs, often with multiple gables, ridges, curved to stimulate English thatched roof
Exterior: Intimate, dollhouse qualities such as towers, arched entryways and picturesque dormers.

There are a large number of homes in Redondo Beach that do not fall within the above categories. This does not mean these homes are not valued or valuable. Due to space limitations of this article, it is not possible to recognize other styles or hybrids of styles that have developed over time in our city.

Source: City of Redondo Beach Preservation Commission “Design Guidelines” Certifiate of Appropriateness Progam for Landmarks and Historic Districts. 1991.