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The Features that Make the Beloved Southwestern-style Home

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Southwest architecture and style is a popular aesthetic among home buyers and designers alike. The unique structures found in places like New Mexico and Arizona represent an approach to home building that captivates the imagination of many across the nation. Ask any northerner or midwesterner driving through the New Mexico landscape and you will find their fascination with the quaint, asymmetrical, pueblo-style buildings.


So what exactly makes a Southwest-style home? As a custom home builder working in the Southwest, we are intimately familiar with the beloved style and architectural elements that define it.  We thought we’d take a look at some of the more popular characteristics that define the style.


Building Materials — Rammed Earth and Adobe


Rammed Earth and Adobe are two main building materials used in these types of homes. These are natural materials from the earth that have inherent characteristics that make them effective green building materials. Rammed earth walls are made out of soil and moisture cement and form a strong and durable material. These walls create more than just a highly energy efficient structure, but evoke a timeless beauty reminiscent of ancient structures and create a sense of permanence. Villa Custom homes also builds using Adobe, a dried mud brick, which is a popular material used in the Southwest that helps homes stay cool in the summer and warm in the winter.


Elements from the Outside A lot of what people think of as Southwestern style is what is commonly referred to in the architectural world as Pueblo Revival style. This style is also infused with Spanish influence. Indians living in the far west of present-day Arizona and New Mexico used the dirt, rock, and straw that was available to them in order to build their homes. These came to be known as pueblos, which were multi-family structures.

Adobe is a kind of mud and straw mixed together to form a stronger material. Although strong, adobe is not as durable as other materials and has a tendency to dissolve. It’s why Villa Custom Homes specializes in rammed earth, as a very earthy and natural way to construct homes that are far more durable than adobe, incredibly energy efficient, and beautiful.

Earthy and natural material

One defining characteristic of these homes include a very natural approach to the structure. This might be the use of adobe, stucco, mortar, or rammed earth.

Wood components and additions

To complement the stone-like materials of the homes, home builders will use wood throughout the home as structural and decorative elements. This will include features such as posts, corbels, or vigas.

Small windows and rounded exteriors. You’ll notice that many homes of this style will have rounded exteriors or curved features on the top and drainage canals called canales.

Other Interior Features and Characteristics

Pueblo-style homes are usually designed to withstand hot climates and why they were particularly useful to the Pueblo people and modern day dwellers looking to keep their home cooler in more natural and energy efficient ways. The inside of these homes is often typically designed with certain features that add to the desert feel. These include:

  • Vigas: These features are well known and popular inside many floor plans. They are rounded structural beams that run along the ceiling, from wall to wall, and appear to support other ceiling material.
  • Latillas: These are typically thin willow, aspen, or pine sticks that are put together to create an authentic structure for support or decorative purposes.
  • Cantera Stone: This is a highly popular stone material used to surround fireplaces, windows, or columns and creates a dimension or a dynamic feel inside the home. There is a certain amount of elegance that comes with Cantera Stone, as it makes the inside more appealing.
  • Stacked stone or cultured stone: This is a very unique stone  that is used as a popular veneer used to create the look of an existing structure. It is often used for fire pits, fire places, and other outside elements.

Get Distinctly New Mexico with Villa Custom Homes, Inc.

There are many more features that can help enhance your home. Here at Villa Custom Homes, Inc. we have been building pueblo-style and Southwestern-style homes in New Mexico for more than 20 years. Our building techniques are not only the most cost-effective and efficient but as a full custom builder, we build whatever your vision is of your Southwestern dream home. Give us a call today at 575-650-7377 and we’ll get started building your dream.