Iconic Traits of Southwestern Homes

Iconic Traits of Southwestern Homes

November 25, 2020

The American Southwest is famous for its pueblo-style homes, whether they’re actual pueblos or pueblo revival architecture. These distinctive houses take inspiration from Native American and Spanish architecture, and are built to withstand hot desert sunshine and chilly nights. The terra cotta tiles, wood accents and adobe walls are all hallmarks of the Southwestern style.

Whether you’re thinking about buying or building a custom Southwestern home, there are certain visual elements that dominate the style. Here is a rundown of the common visual themes in Southwestern home styles in Santa Fe, NM.

Rammed earth and adobe materials

Southwestern homes are largely made from rammed earth or adobe to create the squat pueblo-style shape with rounded corners. You might see Southwestern-inspired homes that use light-colored stucco, too. This is characteristic of the style, which was developed to provide a cool, dark shelter from the hot desert sun. Adobe and rammed earth are energy-efficient natural materials that help prevent heat transfer.

Southwestern asymmetrical design means that you might see split-level homes, L-shapes and other less-common architectural home configurations. The building’s corners are often rounded, and some even include enclosed courtyards.

Wood accents

Wood accents are one of the hallmarks of Southwestern home architecture. Many pueblo-style homes are dotted with large wooden posts near the roof. These are called vigas. They were originally designed to support the roof—that is, they’re attractive, but serve more than a merely decorative function.

Wooden accents are often found around the doors and windows, too, creating a cohesive earthy, natural look.

Small windows

Since the pueblo style was originally developed to keep the sun (or the cold) out, this type of architecture often has very small, rounded windows. If you’re looking for something more open and airy, you might want to opt for a home that’s pueblo-inspired rather than strictly adhering to traditional styles.

Clay tile roofs

Clay tile roofs are one of the most distinctive features in Southwestern homes—and terra cotta tile’s insulating properties make it a smart choice for New Mexico’s summer heat. They’re often found on homes that have a heavier Spanish architectural influence.

If clay tile isn’t your preference, slate tile roofs are also quite popular in this style.

Interior features

A Southwestern home’s interior features often include wood and stone elements, from support beams to stacked stone fireplaces. Color schemes are earthy and neutral both inside and out, often with bright pops of color from blankets, desert plants and accent walls. This has the added bonus of blurring the lines between indoors and outdoors, making your home feel like it truly fits in with the natural desert landscape.

Whatever kind of Southwestern-style home you choose, their simplicity, beauty and efficiency are an excellent choice for the area.

If you have questions about this Southwestern home style guide in Santa Fe, NM, the team at Apple Construction LLC is happy to help answer them. Together, we can design and build the home of your dreams—reach out to us today to get started.

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