San Diego Design Series: A Look Into Coronado Island
The San Diego area is often thought of as one large entity that consists mainly of beaches and palm trees. While this generalization may be accurate to some degree, each community has its own unique traits and personality types that impact home styles, design preferences, and ultimately lifestyle. For that reason, we have decided to start a series on the five major San Diego areas. We’ll start with the home of J Hill Interiors, Inc., lovely Coronado Island.
Coronado, CA is a quaint, yet elegant, island town located across the way from the hustle of downtown San Diego. One can access the island via the impressive Coronado Bridge or via Imperial Beach along “the strand”. The town itself sits only on 7.9 mi² of land, explaining the name Coronado, which translates to “the crowded one” in Spanish. Being surrounded by water poses a supply challenge for expansion and space, hence the real estate demand, exclusivity, and also the recent abundance of shotgun-style homes. Shotgun homes, or “long and narrows,” are tall, narrow, rectangle-shaped homes that reflect the average house size of about 1,500-3,000 square feet in Coronado. Often times the architecture of these homes are Cape Cod Coastal, Victorian or Spanish. Another strategy of the building that has recently become popular is the construction of “cloud condos”. These often appear like a single residence shotgun home but are actually composed of 2-4 multi-residences.
Before the high demand of Coronado property was a very popular type of residential construction, known as Palmer houses. Built-in the early 1940s, these homes present the aesthetic appeal of a casual indoor-outdoor lifestyle. In every way, the design of these homes corresponds to the way of life in Coronado; simple and quaint. Coronado Lifestyle wrote a great article on the history of these homes, and quoted, “The structures, most of which were around 1,000 square feet, had three bedrooms and one bathroom surrounding a central utility closet that held the home’s furnace and water heater. The homes had a fireplace in the living room, stucco exteriors, and no dining room.
Coronado architect Dorothy Howard explained that the homes were an early version of tract housing — which were being built all over the country at the time — with a style particular to Southern California. In 1944 they cost $4,000 to build; in July an original Palmer on F Avenue sold for $1.28 million. “Palmer homes have a really efficient design and use of space,” said Howard. “They are structurally simple and many of them are still standing — and standing well.”
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Another major influence of Coronado design and lifestyle is the Hotel del Coronado. Built-in 1888, the 128-year-old building is still a sight to behold that attracts tourists from around the globe. The building is a massive, seaside spectacular that is recognized for its aww-worthy design and iconic red roof. The Hotel del Coronado has contributed to making Coronado Island the major resort destination it is today. A beautiful blend of old and new, the Hotel del Coronado has been able to make modern updates while holding on to its original charm. This trend of mixing design and architecture can be found in many Coronado homes; Spanish-style and beach-style home fronts, while adapting to modern trends for their interiors, creating the best of both world
Today, Coronado still embodies the simplicity of island life with its gorgeous beaches as well as its many shops, restaurants, and theaters that bring the community together. A simple elegance filled with blends of personality creates an inviting environment for all. Stop by Coronado Island any time to get design inspiration from the Hotel Del Coronado and from the thousands of custom homes that convey every design and architectural style known to man.