Mission Style Houses

Nearly everyone is familiar with “mission-style” architecture, but what exactly does it mean? Where did it come from? What does it look like now? HouseplanHunters.com has a variety of beautiful mission-style houseplans, and this guide will take you through what exactly makes them that way.

A brief history of Mission Revival architecture

The term “mission” comes from the Spanish Catholic missions of the 1700s. Monks and priests came to newly settled Mexico and California with the intention of spreading Catholic influence, teachings, and values to the “new world”, but were at a loss when trying to mimic the baroque architecture that was common in Spain. By using adobe (a type of dried mud construction) and clay tiles to build their missions, they blended a local resource with a classical architecture style that results in the mission-style that we know today. It enjoyed a revival in the 1950s and 1970s, where certain elements of the style were incorporated into modern housing and business architecture. This style is particularly popular in the southwestern United States.

Mission Features

The two biggest tells of a mission-style house are the material and color of the exterior walls and roof. Some houses can be called mission-style simply because they have stucco or adobe-look walls in an appropriate terracotta color or clay roof tiles. However, there is much more to a mission-style home than the walls and roof.

A key hallmark of the style is the inclusion of a central courtyard. While less essential in our current age of air-conditioning, a central courtyard was key in maintaining a cool central area of the home in the hot, arid environments where this style of mission got its start.

Another easily identifiable trait of a mission-style house is the inclusion of architectural features such as gables or even a bell-tower.

HouseplanHunters.com | Mission-Style Plans

Spanish Retreat

Plan No. 327511The Spanish Retreat is a lovely plan with lots of features reminiscent of mission-style houses. While it doesn’t have a central courtyard, it does have a covered outdoor living area and a distinctive bell-tower shaped chimney.

Inviting Adobe


The Inviting Adobe home relies on its adobe construction, unique roofline and semi-enclosed courtyards to give it a mission-style flair. This easily accessible, single-floor plan is fantastic for families or for entertaining.


Plan No.523360This house plan hits every mark for a traditional “mission-style” home. From the petite bell-tower on the centre of the roof to the completely enclosed central courtyard, this home epitomizes mission comfort and style.