Thick, stucco-clad walls. Thick walls are ideally situated for a hot environment. Thick walls absorb the day’s heat and gently radiate it back into the building during the cool evenings
Small, open windows. Smaller windows, originally sealed by wrought iron grates rather than glass panes, are sited on the building to best capture breezes while avoiding the direct rays of the sun. Wooden shutters, when present, are traditionally mounted on the inside of the home.
One story. The Spanish Colonial is the ancestor of our ranch-style house.
Limited ornamentation. Ornamentation on these informal homes was often limited to arches on entranceways, principal windows and interior passageways. More elaborate homes might feature intricate stone or tile work, detailed chimney tops and square towers.
Wooden support beams. Wooden roof supports project out over the exterior walls in classic Spanish Colonials.
Inner courtyard. Historically, the courtyard let families move the cooking -- and its accompanying heat and steam -- outside. Today, these patios, porches and courtyards act as informal gathering spots for family, extended family and friends.
(Information from- http://www.hgtv.com/design/home-styles/spanish-colonial-architecture
I feel the life style to live in these homes would be, you have to have a good income because these houses weren't very cheap. My grandma has a house like this and it is very beautiful, i love her house. She has a pool in the back and she has this shaded area outside her front door with a table and umbrella, by the way, she lives in Arizona.