(575) 650-7377

Villa Custom Homes Logo

The Story of Cantera Stone and How It Became the Darling of Southwest Architecture 

Pillars made of cantera stone

Southwest architecture encompasses a wide breadth of building techniques and approaches. This style is often characterized by the materials used and how those materials are used to increase functionality, performance, and beauty. 

As a rammed earth home builder, Villa Custom Homes is working with the best earthy materials and most sought-after architectural designs. One popular feature used in a lot of adobe-style homes here in the New Mexico area is Cantera stone. 

The Southwest is not just a region, it’s a way of life! Out here, we love the desert sunsets, the cactus plants, the endless sunlight, and the cultural uniqueness. People seek out Southwest-style architecture because it speaks to them. 

So what’s the appeal of this gorgeous stone and why does it make a beautiful addition to your home?

The Origins of Cantera Stone 

This stone catches the eye because of its earthy texture and soft elegant shades that exude a subtle charm and a rustic timeless appearance. It is the stone of elegant haciendas and Spanish-influenced architecture that emphasizes earthy materials. This stone is largely associated with Central America and Mexico, as it is predominantly imported from those regions. 

It has been used for generations in these parts of the world because it is accessible but also because of its natural beauty, varied shades, unique texture, and its durability.  It’s possible to find many Cantera stone structures in places like Mexico still standing after hundreds of years. This stone’s possibilities are truly endless.

The Etymology of Cantera Stone 

The word Cantera derives from the Spanish word that means quarry. Most of the stone is extracted from quarries in Mexico or Central America. This igneous stone is made out of calcite materials that formed millions of years ago through extreme heat and pressure. A major part of its charm is this unique texture. The stone is resistant and flexible, which has made it a go-to material for a lot of carved decorative elements such as fountains.

Why Do People Love Cantera Stone?

In our thirty-plus years of building custom homes in the Southwest, we’ve found that Cantera stone holds a special place in people’s imaginations and hearts. People that are looking for natural materials see this beautiful stone as a perfect element in their home. 

Here are just a couple of characteristics that make this stone stand out in this region:

Regional ties

The stone is very much characteristic to the region of Mexico and Central America so it inevitably evokes a sense of style very much associated with the Southwest, indigenous cultures, and more earthy sensibilities. 

A fantastic outdoor stone

The chemical makeup of this natural stone means that it is a great rock for the outdoors. It is often used for outdoor landscaping and features. It is a porous stone that absorbs air and humidity but doesn’t cause expansion. This is why the stone is often used in outdoor setups like columns, fountains, custom pools, balustrades, and more. 

Great decorative stone

Many people use Cantera stones to enhance the home’s style and architecture. Because of its porous nature, it is a lightweight stone that can be used in carving. 

Perfect for mantles and fireplaces

People who seek to have a traditional fireplace in their home will find that Cantera is a perfect stone. This beautiful natural rock takes custom fireplaces to the next level. Whether you choose the light or darker hues of the stone, the hacienda feel is evident. 

Complements pueblo-style perfectly

The pueblo-revival style features like vigas and latillas complement Cantera stone elements. These features are a major part of what makes the Southwestern style. 

Cantera columns

Because of the warm weather here in the Southwest, many people choose to build a home with outside elements and features. Whether that’s an outdoor kitchen, enclosed patio, or hosting area with a fire pit, Cantera stone columns are a popular feature used outdoors. There are different styles of columns including what is called Corinthian, Tuscan, Mediterranean, and Gothic. Add some historical spice to your outdoor living space with Cantera stone!

Custom Builds with Natural Stone & Materials 

Villa Custom Homes specializes in using natural materials to create modern structures that meet the specialized demands of homeowners today. Using natural materials does not mean one has to sacrifice luxury and style. On the contrary, architecture that uses natural materials is popular because it evokes a unique sense of originality and authenticity. 

Beyond its aesthetic qualities, natural stone is a highly sought-after material because of the following reasons: 


Today’s homeowner is highly concerned with sustainable forms of building, and you can’t get more sustainable than naturally-occurring natural stone imported from the region. The extraction of the stone does not require high energy usage and it can be reused and recycled.

Beauty and functionality

The defining feature of these natural stones is the fact that they are both beautiful and functional. Natural stone seems to be great at serving a variety of purposes—from countertops, decorative features, columns, and more. 

Experience Beauty & Style With Southwest Architecture 

Villa Custom Homes is the Southwest’s leading custom home builder. We specialize in rammed earth construction and in making homes that exude the style and beauty of the Southwest culture and architecture. From implementing sustainable natural materials like Cantera stone, wood, and rammed earth, you get a home that lasts and inspires. 

Want to learn more about what we do? Call Villa Custom Homes today.